15th annual Art on the Edge juried exhibition reception names winners

On Friday, July 5, artists and appreciators gathered for the opening reception of the 15th annual Art on the Edge juried exhibition at the Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork. A total of 18 artists participated with 23 pieces entered into the exhibit. The show brings together talents from Minnesota and entries from as far as Atlanta, Ga. and West Fargo, N.D.

This year’s juror was Carolyn Olson, a painter, sculptor, graphic designer and art teacher from Duluth whose artwork is featured in the Plains Museum, the Tweed Museum as well as private collections. Olson’s own artwork focuses on honest, narrative moments, with attention to the role of women in society.

Four awards were announced at the reception. The People’s Choice award sponsored by the Bigfork Bat Conservation was awarded to Dave Swanson for his digital photograph “The Offering.” Swanson has participated in the Art on the Edge exhibit for the past 10 years and this was his first award recognition.

“It feels good to win,” said Swanson. “I didn’t think the photo was going to turn out quite like it did. ... It was taken up on the North Shore ... I knew what I wanted and the clouds happened just perfectly.”

Two separate Awards of Excellence sponsored by First State Bank and Arvig Communications were given to Mary Lingen for her geometric oil painting “Big Deep 3” and to John Offutt for his blown glass vase titled “Wind from the South.”

Best of Show sponsored by Kocian’s Family Market was awarded to Susan Klann for one of her two entered portraits “Nancy (Bill is in Peru).”

Klann, a retired former editor and writer who lives between Denver and Bovey, began taking art classes a mere two years ago and began painting portraits.

“I think people are just the most fascinating thing,” said Klann. “This was thrilling. [These two portraits] were the first of this size I ever did. ... It’s so rewarding to know that a few more folks will get to look at it. To get the award is so generous.”

“I’m looking for technical ability, good composition, authenticity, and usually looking for purpose and layers,” said juror Olson of the chosen pieces she awarded. “The ones I chose had, on every level, those boxes ticked off.”

Of Klann’s portrait “Nancy” Olson commented, “[Susan Klann] is an extremely observant and thoughtful person. You can’t paint like that and not be. ... It was pretty gutsy: She painted her big, let her relax, it was honest, there was nothing fake; her hands just held each other; the eyes were alive and awake. ... It’s lovely to see a well done portrait.”

About half of the entries in this year’s show were from new participants that had not shown at the Edge Center prior. The center is run mostly by committed volunteers who have put on the juried show since the center was built 15 years ago.

“[Attendees of the annual juried show are able to see] what’s new and what’s going on now,” said gallery committee treasurer Lynn Nachbar. “[The submissions are all created] within the last two years, so it’s always new work ... that’s unexpected.”

The Art on the Edge 15th Annual Juried Exhibition runs now until Saturday, July 27. For more information, visit edgecenterarts.org

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