Creative Arts Workshop
Close to Home
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Close to Home: 2005 National Exhibition
Juror: Jacquelyne D. Serwer
Chief Curator of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
April 1 - May 13, 2005

Prizewinners: Isabel Chenoweth & Isabella Natale
Honorable Mention: Trina Badarak, Alicia Dwyer, Sharon Hunter, and Katrin Roos

About Close to Home:
The submissions to the Creative Arts Workshop juried competition interpreted the “Close to Home” theme in many thoughtful and imaginative ways, expanding my expectations in terms of subjects and media. Waterscapes, cityscapes, and interior scenes—painted, photographed, or collaged—contrast with more abstract images about situating or navigating place, suggesting that even familiar pathways can become complicated or obscured. In other works, still lifes and body fragments functioning as inanimate objects evoke simultaneous reflections on the concrete and the evanescent.

Several of the final selections offered fascinating riffs on the idea of the window as the classic metaphor for a work of art. But instead of looking out at a scene that has been carefully delineated by the window frame, as traditional two-dimensional artists have so often chosen to do, the artists of Close to Home invite us to look into the window. The resulting images encourage the viewer to make direct contact with the work of art. Some of the painters offered intimate settings as well, isolating vignettes that represent a fleeting moment extracted from the kaleidoscope of daily family life.

Other artists explored unconventional applications of familiar materials, or manipulated scale in clever ways. What look like thousands of blue pick-up sticks have been transformed into a giant blanket; in another case, long strips of white rubber are employed in the making of an elegant, larger-than-life-size bathtub. At the other end of the spectrum, matchbooks become tiny theaters used to reference the horrors of September 11, by showing lilliputian scenes of skyscrapers under attack in one, and an arsenal of missiles in another.

Although only a handful of the submissions could be included in the exhibition, the opportunity to examine images of so many thoughtful works of art left me with the thrill that only a close encounter with the creative process can give. I am reassured that whatever may happen to disrupt our feeling of well-being, artists who work everyday at unraveling the mysteries of our existence will continue to provide a cushion against the negative forces that seek to destroy our appetite for human connections and a comforting sense of place.

Jacquelyn D. Serwer
June 2004

About the Juror:
Jacquelyn Days Sewer is Chief Curator of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Prior to that she worked for fourteen years at the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, where she served such roles as Chief Curator, Curator of Contemporary Art, Curator of Painting and Sculpture, and Smithsonian Scholar in Rome, Italy.

She received her doctorate from The City University of New York and her Master of Arts from University of Chicago. Her writing is extensive and her most recent work, Larry Rivers: Art and the Artist, was published in 2002 by Bulfinch Press.

Jacquelyn Days Sewer has organized nineteen national exhibitions and is an experienced juror. She is a member of the Awards Committee at College Art Association's The Art Journal as well as a member of the Washington, D.C. chapter of Art Table. She has also made many contributions to her home town by serving as a member of the selection committees for commissions at IRS Headquarters and the District Government Building.



2006: Particular Places, juried by Bernard Chaet William Leffingwell Professor of Painting Emeritus Yale University School of Art

2005: Close to Home, juried by Jacquelyn D. Serwer, Chief Curator of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.



Margaret Agnew (NY)
Jane Fulton Alt (IL)
Margaret Azzoni (NY)
Trina Badarack (NM)
Beverly L. Bailey (IL)
Joan Baldwin (MA)
Barton/Everett/Ostraff (UT)
Tom Bogaert (NY)
Allison Brown (NY)
Virginia Brown (MD)
Crystal Cawley (ME)
Cori Champagne (MA)
Isabel Chenoweth (CT)
Christine Darnell (CT)
Alicia Dwyer (MA)
Eileen Eder (CT)
Linda Egendorf (MA)
Laura Evans (MA)
Kathryn Frederick (CT)
Yetti Frenkel (MA)
Nadia Rozeva Green (CT)
Joseph Guggino (WA)
Marcella Hackbardt (OH)
Jennifer Hill (OR)
Anne Huibregtse (NY)
Sharon Hunter (CT)
Andrew Jones (NY)
Laura Karetzky (NY)
Sue Katz (MA)
Mitch Kern (LA)
Steve King (CT)
Leslie Kuo (CT)
Lisa Leary (MA)
Joseph A. Lupo (WV)
Irene Mahler (WA)
Lisa Majer (IL)
Gail Martin (MA)
James Napoleon (CT)
Isabella Natale (NY)
Beverly Rippel (MA)
Katrin Roos (NY)
Joan Ryan (MA)
Pamela K. Segal (CT)
Susan Hayre Thelwell (ME)
Howard Tran (PA)
Burton Tysinger (NC)
David Underwood (TN)
Antoinette M. Winters (MA)
Diane Bowie Zaitlin (ME)