2021 VA Artists Award Winners

2021 Virginia Artists Juried Exhibition Winners

Oct 25, 2021

2021 Virginia Artists Juried Exhibition Winners

Jonathan Ashe - Numen - Best.jpgThe Charles H. Taylor Visual Arts Center is proud to present the 2021 Virginia Artists Juried Exhibition. This statewide annual competition exhibition is an exciting glimpse of the many talented artists of our region. 493 artworks were submitted by 190 artists for consideration.

About the Juror - Steve Prince is on a mission to deliver art to the people, people to the art and all of it to William & Mary’s Muscarelle Museum of Art. Steve is the museum’s first Director of Engagement and distinguished Artist in Residence. His approach of making art while interacting with and involving those around him is what makes him a self-described “art evangelist.” He engages others in an entire process around what he does, often referencing his native New Orleans, and themes of reconciliation and healing.

Mary Ruff -Pattern and Light - 1st.jpgJuror’s Statement from Steve Prince - "2020 is a year that will live in infamy.  It was a year filled with uncertainty and epic challenges.  The world was trapped in the clutches of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we heard the amplified global cry for racial justice and police reform, wildfires ravished acres of land in the west, but conversely scientists internationally raced to find a cure to the virus, and we bore witness to history as a woman was selected to be on a major party’s presidential ticket.  2021 began with an unprecedented riot and siege of the U.S. Capitol, and we were able to exhale a little when the Pandemic numbers subsided. 

James Warwick Jones - Bookshop with African American Artists - JC.jpegAll the while, the artist created beauty in the face of these horrific challenges.  In fact, the artist practice was hampered very little during the Pandemic because for a large part, the artist studio is a solemn, sacred, and oft times solitary space.  The global pause caused us to reflect upon what is important and dear.  The need for art to help us wade through the mounting mental health concerns is more dire than ever. 

Even though this was a difficult and challenging task to select works to be included in the show, and secondly choose works to receive awards, I entreated the opportunity to bear witness to the exquisite creativity and imagination of these artists as part of the 2021 Virginia Artists Juried Exhibition. 

Mike Brewer - Daydreaming - 2nd.jpgI developed a rubric, a criterion to judge the artwork.  I evaluated the work through three components: craftsmanship, technical skill, and imagination.  I carefully sifted through the works looking to see how the artists utilized the universal elements and principals of design in imaginative ways.  I looked for work that harnessed those criteria and that “moved me.”  I was captivated by the carefully crafted compositions, the expressive calligraphic painterly abstractive marks upon canvas, panel, and page alike, by the delicate colors inventively layered and juxtaposed to stimulate the senses, the perceived and actual textures adorning sculptural forms, the subtle and sometimes arresting narrative statements about the human condition, and by the control and technical precision over media like a seasoned physician. 

Jim_Haller - Triptych - 3rd.jpgI understand the elation one feels when their work is accepted, and I understand the let down one feels when it is not.  What I believe is imperative especially in this moment and moving forward, is that the artist must create by any means necessary.  The artist is a soothsayer, a diviner of sorts, that has the unique and sacred ability to harness the elements around them in splendid formations.  This process is not confined by museum or gallery walls, it is a process that originates in the heart and an earnest desire to make sense of the chaos.  The artist is a healer in troubled times, and they help us to remember to remember.  I encourage you/us to keep creating, making, questioning, seeking, discerning, and giving the sometimes confused, uncertain, and troubled world, something…beautiful."


$1,000 Best in Show: Jonathan Ashe, Numen, Pen and ink

$750 First Place Award: Mary Ruff, Pattern and Light, Graphite

$500 Second Place Award: Mike Brewer, Daydreaming, Oil on linen

$250 Third Place Award: Jim Haller, Triptych, Ink and wood stain

$200 Award of Distinction - Juror’s Choice: James Warwick Jones, Bookshop with African American Artists, Acrylic

$200 Award of Distinction - Juror’s Choice: Delna Dastur, Celebrating, Acrylic, ink, molding paste, and collage on yupo paper

$200 Award of Distinction - Printmaking or Drawing: Dennis Winston,  A Tribute to Palmer Hayden: Fetiche et Fleurs, Woodcut on mulberry paper

$200 Award of Distinction -Sculpture: Gudrun Kiel-Bullock, Lotti's Cardinal, Wool

$200 Award of Distinction - Photography: Glen McClure, Serpent Rock, County Sligo, Ireland, Photography printed in house on cotton rag paper

$200 Award of Distinction - Painting in Oil or Acrylic: Karen Waller, Self Portrait in a Dark Time, Oil on panel

$200 Award of Distinction - Watercolor: Holland Etheridge, Hampton Winter, Watercolor

Honorable Mention: Jim Dees, Family Tree, Watercolor on Yupo paper

Honorable Mention: Cliff Guard, Mahogany Spiral Finial Vessel, Mahogany, ebony, and African blackwood

Honorable Mention: Johnny Hayes, High School Reunion, Acrylic

Honorable Mention: Clayton Singleton, Wait. What?!, Acrylic on canvas

Honorable Mention: Benford Stellmacher; Liberty and Justice;  Acrylic on canvas


Image credits (from top to bottom): Delna Dastur, Jonathan Ashe, Mary Ruff, James Warwick Jones, Mike Brewer, Jim Haller.