More than 85 members of the Jamestown Arts Center submitted artwork for their annual show, and a local photographer walked away with the top prize from that pool of talented artists.
“Morning Prayers,” a 24-by-16- inch photograph taken by Jamestown resident Eileen McCarney Muldoon, was named best in show by juror Eric Telfort during the opening reception that was held Oct. 29. Mark Dornan was awarded second place for “Kids and Guns,” an 8-inch sphere in cast silver and bronze, and Kelly McDermott won third place for “Settled,” a three-piece stoneware installation.
According to Telfort, an illustrator and professor at Rhode Island School of Design, the winning photograph “begs” him to ask, and answer, questions, which results in “a sort of conversation.” He credited Muldoon for doing “a great job of catching a very quiet moment, one that is complex, one that has a very strong idea of innocence and transcends time and space.”
“To me, this piece represents a culmination of this show, which is a sense of hope, one that begs to be asked many questions that can be answered by the art community, and in a formal sense, composed in such a way that if you remove any piece of this composition, it falls apart,” he added.
Aside from that “very, very powerful” conversation, Telfort also simplified his justification for choosing “Morning Prayers.”
“Even after going back and forth, and really cementing my decision, I kept coming back to this piece,” he said. “Beyond intellectualism and philosophical reasons for why we study art, I do think that there is this quality of art where you just like looking at it, and I felt like this was one of those pieces,” he said. “I just liked looking at it, as simple as that sounds.”
Five artists earned honorable mentions, including “Red, Black and Blue (‘War in the Continuation of Politics by Other Means’)” by Peter Elsworth, which was created using acrylic, glass and bullet casings on wood. The other winners were Eric Hovermale for his photograph “Adrift,” Michael Stricklin’s acrylic “Newton Ave #2,” Christopher Terry for his oil painting “Improvised Ritual” and an etching by Josy Wright titled “Shoreline.”
“We are so fortunate to have such a creative and talented group of members,” said Karen Conway, director of exhibitions. “It’s one of our favorite times of the year.”
For winning best in show, Muldoon will be given a solo exhibition in the small gallery during the 2023 members show. The current show coincides with a solo exhibit by the 2021 best-in-show winner, Tracy Weisman, titled “Sort it Out.” She said the exhibition contains works of social commentary that call out the hypocrisy in society.”
“My exhibition is rooted in this impulse to return and re-frame childhood experiences with an adult’s perspective in order to process unresolved grief,” Weisman said. “It also turns a critical eye toward current political and social issues.”
The members show and Weisman’s exhibition will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays until Dec. 3. Admission is free.