The annual I Am Woman art competition and exhibit is dedicated to womanhood or the essence of being a woman. Since 2004, Southern Arts Society has invited artists to express their interpretation of the feminine and compete for prizes. Over 70 works of art were entered in this year’s competition by artists from around the region.  Art was presented in a variety of media – painting, pottery, photography and mixed media.

Thanks to all that entered this year’s I Am Woman art competition. We appreciate everyone sharing their art with us. Our judge Mercedes Jelinek enjoyed looking at all the different artwork in the show. She was excited to see so much variety, originality and skill.

About our judge – Mercedes Jelinek is an artist working in both NYC and NC, recently completing a residency at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and currently teaching at Appalachian State University. She holds a BFA in visual arts from the State University of New York at Purchase and an MFA from Louisiana State University.

The I Am Woman exhibit will be on view in the galleries of Southern Arts Society April 14 through May 31

Awards and Judges Comments

First Place $200: Todd Baxter  School Gir,” colored pencil
Technically masterful portrait with a very non-traditional look. The woman is posed to show strength with a feeling of independence to match her beauty. Powerful contemporary portrait of a woman.

Second Place $150: Anne Harkness A Time to Love, oil
The color palette is stunning, and painting also shows advance technical abilities. The subject seems to be gazing at herself in the mirror without judgment (which is a refreshing idea in today’s world). The interaction with her gaze and the mirror and then her reflection with the viewer is compelling.

Third Place $75:  Anne Harkness Two Different Worlds, watercolor
Clever and unique. The artist captured a moment I do not see discussed enough. It provoked contemplation of these ”two worlds” colliding and had me questioning the expressions on the faces of the nuns.

Merit Awards $50 each:
Alex Pietersen Heightened Emotions, photography (Not Shown); Alex Pietersen The Party’s Not Over, watercolor; Lynn Schilling A Blue Afternoon watercolor; Jennifer Bowling Inner vs. Outer, acrylic

Additional Notes from Jewel Reavis:

Alex’s photo (not shown) of a woman and her dog shows the unconditional love and bond that we often find with pets and not always with our own species.

Our judge especially liked the straightforward gaze of Todd’s and Lynn’s portraits. The model looking directly at the viewer shows a confidence and determination not usually given to traditional portraiture.

Our judge was taken with the movement and joy shown in Wanda’s piece. Making the figures in front 3-D brought them closer to the viewer making it more exciting and unexpected.
Jennifer’s female figure holding the steel balls from her arms showed a woman trying to balance her strength while trying to keep her chakras in line, representing how women struggle to balance many things in life.

I Am Woman Art Exhibit and Competition Winners
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