Awards of the National Show: Connected Land & Sea

Written by Caroline Browne

On Thursday, The Copley Society of Art’s National Maritime Show: Connected Land & Sea officially opened in the Upper Gallery. Artists from all over the country submitted paintings, photographs, and sculptures reflecting intersections between the land and the sea in hopes of being selected by our distinguished exhibition curator, Donald Demers.

The nationally-recognized marine artist, Donald Demers also awarded prizes for this exhibition. Congratulations to all of the award winners for their outstanding thematic creations!

First Prize: Katherine Richmond, Mercury Rising, photography, 22x30”

Katherine Richmond presents the world of light in moments which are almost impossible to be seen, except in her photographs. In Mercury Rising, she captures a magical moment between the waves and the light. The wave expresses its energy and mystery, provoking feelings of chaos and calmness at the same time.

Of this piece, Donald Demers notes that “there's a heightened intensity and a focus on rediscovery of the energy in this water.” This photograph shows an “an entirely new and yet very familiar look at the ocean that can be best described as unique, singular, and exceptionally intense.”

Second Prize: Serena Bates, Leviathan, hydrostone, 10x8x18”

Richly colored and masterfully formed, Serena Bates’ sculpture is a beautiful homage to one of the ocean’s most intriguing, intelligent, and resourceful creatures. Bates’ forms incorporate a symbiotic mixture of ideas and visions from her environment and materials.

In the artist’s words, “octopuses are the chameleons of the sea. They can change color and camouflage themselves to blend in any environment.” The artist renders her oceanic subject with an exceptional finish in shades of aqua and gold, telling a story of this fascinating organism in its natural habitat.

Demers adds that this is “a static depiction and yet the object is moving right in front of our eyes, expanding our perspective and senses in many ways. It's a unique and extremely artistic portrayal of this aquatic subject.”

Third Prize: Austin Dwyer, Opus 4 Symphony of Rust, oil, 38x28”

Austin Dwyer specializes in maritime-themed art, capturing the beauty of the sea and the ships that ply the waterways. His painting style is all his own, impressionistic and realistic.

In Opus 4 Symphony of Rust, the artist acknowledges the complex relationship with the inevitability of rust in the coastal climate. The painting is emphasized with effective lighting and a muted background that invites the viewer to the stern quarter of this vessel. With rich textures and colors, Dwyer's vessel is a work of magic that acknowledges the beauty in the passage of time.

In Demers’ words, “Austin Dwyer effectively showcases and celebrates maritime history, the human relationship with the sea, and this unique and aged watercraft.”

The Alden Bryan Memorial Award for Traditional Landscape Painting in Oil:

James Magner, Twilight, oil, 18x30”

Inspired while sailing and navigating the waters of the East Coast, James Magner observes how the light, sands, and waves react to the ever-changing environment. The artist paints en plein air when inspired by coastal views, such as this vista of waves breaking at twilight on South Beach in Chatham, Massachusetts.

Despite the silvery, cool hues inspired by dusk we can almost feel the warm sand underfoot, holding, desperately, onto the heat from the day. Demers comments that, “Magner’s painting goes beyond the confines of its frame through its light, its scent, and its texture. This work evokes many more of the senses beyond just the visual. The flow, the rhythm, the evocation of different senses, and the fact that it’s so visually well-constructed convinced me to recognize this piece.”

The Gazzola Family Award for Exceptional Watercolor:

Ginny Zanger, CA, Dunes of Memory, watercolor, 30x30”, SOLD

Ginny Zanger uses water media in innovative ways to share the spectacular beauty of her subjects. Her composition allows us to transport ourselves to our own favorite memory of sand dunes – wherever and whenever that may be. According to the artist, “the haze of memory and the haze of the seashore combined to make this painting.”

In this piece, Ginny Zanger incorporates the ground of her painting in a way that allows the white space to hold its own integrity alongside the areas of watercolor. The result is a beautiful, textured landscape that reminds the viewer of elements of abstraction.

Demers remarks that, “the artist gives us a look at the new territory that she has paved for us with this expressive technique.”

National Show: Connected Land and Sea continues through Sunday, August 22nd and is available to view online and in person during gallery hours at 158 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116. Stop by the gallery or check out our virtual exhibition viewing room to see all of the award winners!