Butler exhibition: something for everyone

By Rebecca Sloan

YOUNGSTOWN – When the Butler’s 73rd National Midyear show opens Sunday, Valley residents will have the privilege of browsing an impressive variety of art from all across America.

The displayed works run a gamut of styles and include something to please every palate — thoughtful portraits, crisp cityscapes and whimsical abstracts, just to name a few.

One particularly striking and unusual work is “Alliance, ed 2/7,” a series of photographic lenticulars by Margeaux Walter of Brooklyn, N.Y.

The 3-D lenticulars feature a woman who appears stuck inside a box. As browsers examine the work and alter their viewing perspective, the woman appears to move and change positions within her narrow parameters.

“It’s amazing,” Butler Director Lou Zona said of the work. “Unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”

“Alliance, ed 2/7” is one of the Midyear show’s top award winners, snagging a Juror’s Choice prize.

James Pernotto of Youngstown also received a Juror’s Choice award for his acrylic/photo/wood work titled “S.A.L.T.: Germs, Steel,” which depicts a gritty scene from the local steel industry.

Pernotto is just one of several area artists whose works appear in the show.

Others include: John Paul Smolko of Kent; Dennis W. Freet and Leon Snowe of Warren; Clare Murray Adams of Southington; Mark Scheuring of Salem; William Workman of Sharpsville; Sean Butler of Canfield; and William Danielson of Youngstown, who received an honorable mention for his Giclee “Le rue D’italie.”

This year there were 1,000 entries and 70 selected winners in what Zona describes as “one of the oldest and most respected juried art shows in America.”

“In a juried show, an appointed judge evaluates entries and selects a certain number of winners,” Zona explained. “This show has been going on for decades, and we are very proud to have it here.”

This year’s appointed judge was George Adams, an art historian and gallery owner from New York City whose Chelsea gallery has a reputation for representing Realist and Figurative artists as well as artists from the California Bay area.

Last year’s judge was renowned New York City painter Don Eddy.

Artists who wish to vie for a spot in the Butler’s Midyear exhibition can enter work in any medium, but the work must be flat — no sculptures allowed.

The competition is open to anyone in the United States 18 years or older, and in addition to numerous local artists, this year’s show boasts winners from as far away as Texas and New Mexico.

“It’s a great opportunity for unknown artists from all across America to get recognized,” Zona said. “Many of the artists who are chosen for this show are not well-known. This gives them the opportunity to include a prestigious show on their professional record.”

Additional 2009 Midyear award winners include: Carl Samson of Cincinnati, who received the Phil Desind Award for realism for an oil/linen nude titled “Triumph of Truth”; Diane Belfiglio of North Canton, who won the Dianne Bernhard Award for her oil/pastel titled “Potomac Patterns II”; and Harold D. Zabady of Camp Hill, Pa., who won the Allied Artists Award for the oil “American Classic.”

There also were three other honorable-mention winners: Daniel Burke of Erie for his mixed medium “Kitchen Mice”; Karen Kaapcke of New York City for the oil “Self Portrait with Ear Buds”; Lorraine Sack of Indianapolis for the oil/linen “Listening for Clues”; and Wayne Durrill of Cincinnati for the digital photo “Riparian Composition 7520.”

Zona said 2008 was the first year photographs were permitted in the Midyear show.

“I was very pleased when photos were included because it is an indication of how technology is shaping creativity,” Zona said. “However, we have fewer photos in this year’s show than we did last year.”

With 100 entries, the 2008 show was larger than the 2009 show.

“We typically have about 1,000 entries and 100 winners, so this year’s show is a little smaller than usual,” Zona said.

Many of the works included in this year’s show are for sale, and Kathy Earnhart, director of public relations at the Butler, said a price list will be available.

Earnheart also invited the public to attend a reception from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Butler. The reception is free and provides the public a chance to meet the artists and enjoy light refreshments.

Call (330) 743-1107, ext. 210, to make reservations.

The Midyear show runs through Aug. 23.

if you go

What: Butler Institute of American Art’s annual National Midyear Exhibition

When: Sunday through Aug. 23

Where: The Butler, 524 Wick Ave., Youngstown

Reception: A free public artist's reception will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday. Call (330) 743-1107 ext. 210 to make reservations.

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