Aug 28 - Sep 12, 2021
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Art Explosion Winners
2021
Juror - Vallerie Allen
Grand Prize by Public Vote
$5,000
Grand Passage
John Katerberg
Jenison, MI

John's painting, Grand Passage, depicting a scene in Grand Haven, MI, is a stirring reproduction of some of nature's most inspiring qualities - water, stormy skies, and the colors, textures and feelings that come with it. The canvas is a large sheet of brass. Using a unique reductive process, oil and acrylic paints are ground away from the canvas in strategic places to reveal the polished metal in the sky and waves. The shimmering brass animates the painting, creating the illusion of moving waves and clouds as the viewer interacts with the piece.

Second Prize by Public Vote
$2,000
Beneath The Wings Of The Dragonfly
Neil Nettles
Lewiston, MI

Beneath The Wings Of The Dragonfly is a sculptural installation on the awning of AuSable Artisan Village gallery. Two giant, steel dragonflies frolic on the face of the building, and cattails and long grass create additional atmosphere on either side of the central awning. The two dragonfly bodies elegantly replicate the freedom and movement of these iconic insects, and are crafted with attention to detail through careful study of anatomy. Through the medium of steel, they seem to represent life and all of its wonders and inspirations frozen in time. Neil created the installation to memorialize a late Artisan Village volunteer, Tina Foster.

Best of Show Juror Award
$1,500
Mike Do This, Mike Do That, Mike Don't Do That
Michael Bruner
Mascouta, IL

The artist states, "Each of my works marks a period of my life. A period which is marked in my work."

Michael's drawing seems to be a personal reflection of both internal and external chaos and confusion. The rich, black figurative form immediately draws the viewer in to a very blunt and minimal composition. The black form seems to be a kind of jacket, engulfing the figure like a black hole, with no indicators of lighting, drapery or folds - no descriptions of where the jacket might begin, or end. The figure seems timid, injured, or emotionally withdrawn, with his right hand clutching his lower abdomen, and his left hand lost in the darkness or absent all together. Another hand clutches the right shoulder of the figure in what seems to be a gesture of embrace or empathy. It appears as if this hand belongs to the figure, but oddly, its position would indicate it to be another right hand in a physically impossible pose. Regardless of the turmoil depicted, there still seems to be a sense of self preservation.

Juror Award
$1,000
On My Way
Katrina Rae
Frankenmuth, MI

The artist states, "Currently I have been working on a body of work depicting the western experience. I have fallen in love with the history, landscape, and the people in which call the west their home, past and present."

On My Way is a large mixed media drawing/painting standing 5 feet tall. The scene is inherently American, drawing on a historically prominent desire of artists, film makers and writers to explore and romanticize early Western culture. Rae demonstrates that we still have a desire to revisit the recent past of cowboys, horses, and the action and folklore of the lifestyle of adventure. The cowboy rides his horse in full stride, his posture indicating the confidence and experience of his skilled and seasoned riding ability, the large splash of water and diverse terrain indicating that, wherever he is going, nothing will stop him from getting there. This painting has many of the exciting qualities and narratives of the collective image we have built of early Western life - nature, adventure, and a little bit of charm.

Juror Award
$1,000
Daddy Changed The World
Jo-Ann Morgan
Surfside Beach, SC

The artist states, "After her father George Floyd was murdered, his daughter Gianna told then presidential candidate Joe Biden 'Daddy Changed the World.'"

Daddy Changed The World is a quilt/fabric collage, depicting symbols and narratives of the various struggles and turbulence of recent times. "The artwork features 19 flowers (symbolic of COVID-19)." A central figure, seemingly representing George Floyd's daughter, with tears running down each side of her face, holds her left hand in the air in what seems to be a demanding, yet peaceful, victorious gesture. A smaller, doll-like figure on the bottom right performs a similar gesture, wearing a medical face mask and a golden crown. The doll's shape and figure shows resemblance to Barbie dolls. Nine shadowy figures in the background perform the same gesture, in front of what appears to be a church. The pastel colors and uplifting imagery of birds, hearts, flowers and sunshine offer a tastefully positive perspective of hope, peace and growth, juxtaposed against some of the most turbulent and depressing topics of 2020.

2020
Juror - Jef Bourgeau
Grand Prize by Public Vote
$5,000
Some Gave All
Dan Kaminski
Mio, MI

Some Gave All is a collection of life-size wooden figures depicting the artist's interpretation of the sacrifices made by United States soldiers, as well as a visual depiction of the "mechanical" psychological state of these men & women. Each figure is assembled from various species of wood.

Juror's Award - Best of Show
$1,500
Confidential Secret
John Adenuga
Nigeria

Confidential Secret is an intimate and confrontational hyper-realism charcoal portrait drawing of a young African woman. According to the artist, this piece is a contribution to the Stop The Rape campaign in Nigeria, where abuse of young people is an ongoing epidemic.

Juror's Award
$1,000
Lost & Found
BreeAnn Veenstra
Grand Rapids, MI

Lost & Found is a series of six multi-media illustrations. The series explores the theme of playful adventure as a prescription for the lost, and uses imagination to re-enforce a positive outlook for the loss-ee. The main character - a plush toy animal - shares a bond between the human world and the natural world. Diverse scenes of action incorporate a range of different Michigan wildlife.

Juror's Award
$1,000
Crazy Paper
Kim Froese
Howard City, MI

Crazy Paper, an abstract painting, stands over six feet tall, “painted” with various species of hornet’s nest paper and sealed with an ultra resilient, high-gloss finish. Kim’s other work includes found objects and sculptures covered in bee paper. Two of her large sculptures are owned by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

2019