On Jurying 2009 Ex Arte Equinus: My Statement...

Ex Arte Equinus International is an art competition presented by the publishers of Art Horse magazine.  As last year's painting winner, it fell to me to jury this year's entries; An absolutely formidable task.  I lost many hours of sleep over my selections with questions like:  Could I eliminate photo realism because of my own personal preference for abstraction?  The answer, after changing my mind millions of times (slight exaggeration there)... Absolutely not.  A good painting is a good painting, however, my highest awards went to those painters that offered excellent paintings, plus a sense of what the artist "felt' while painting the image, offering us a fresh point of view. The following is my juror statement... You'll have to wait for the magazine or the book to see the images selected:

It was indeed an honor and a privilege to jury paintings for the Ex Arte Equinus III International show. The entries provided a fascinating array of work that sometimes left me breathless, sometimes speechless, and something laughing out at the humor present in the some of the works. Thank you, and congratulations to all who entered this unique international platform for the equine art genre.

I should begin by stating that, in my opinion, ‘Art’ cannot be judged. How can one judge a quality that cannot be adequately defined? Rather, one can only hope to witness the absence or presence of “It”, and, if present, to what degree. One can, however, perhaps quantify the competence and mastery of the painter, and hopefully identify creativity and courage in the work.

In an effort to explain the artistic process to my students, I describe it thus: In my experience, learning to paint and pursue art was like learning to write. In the early stages, one learns how to make marks, or letters and words, to simply describe objects and life. As we progress, and we learn to write beautifully descriptive essays and prose, so too do our more advanced paintings reflect, often exquisite, descriptive, pleasing qualities. It is only when technique and skill has been mastered to such a degree, that the artist, author or poet creates something beyond narrative, something that touches our humanity to such a degree that we are changed forever by encountering it… It is only then that we have encountered “Art”. It is not a matter of who was good, better, or best, it is a question of where we are on the journey. With respect, I encourage each of you to ponder this for yourself….

This competition was filled with imagery that would leave you breathless at the technical competence and beauty of the majority of work presented. I love and applaud such beauty and such mastery. The paintings I have selected contained, in my opinion, the most essential ingredient for the works to be considered successful works of ‘Art’. A combination of skills and media, authoritatively orchestrated to create passionate works filled with creative energy and life.

My sincere congratulations to everyone, and my best wishes for your artistic journey.