Photo Flash: Mercer County Artists Awards

The Gallery at Mercer County Community College announced the award winners for "Mercer County Artists 2011" at an Opening Reception Mar. 9. The exhibit, which runs through April 7, features 120 works by 95 artists who live, work or study in Mercer County. The pieces were selected from 240 entries by this year's juror, Janet Hunt, the owner and director of Coryell Gallery, located in Lambertville. Hunt has been a key figure in the arts community of central New Jersey for decades.

This annual exhibit is a collaboration between the college and the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission. The Gallery is located on the second floor of the Communications Building on Mercer's West Windsor campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road.

According to MCCC Gallery Curator/Director Tricia Fagan, the exhibit features approximately 80 two-dimensional works and 40 three-dimensional works. Most art media are represented, including oils, watercolors, charcoal, ceramics, wood, handmade paper, acrylics and mixed media. One-quarter of the selected artists are newcomers.

Addressing the artists at the awards ceremony, Fagan extolled them for their beautiful art. "Without all of you, our lives would be much less colorful."

Mercer County Freeholder Andrew Koontz, who holds a degree in Fine Arts from New York University, added his words of appreciation. "I know how much hard work and how many hours this represents. On behalf of the county, we thank you for providing this educational opportunity for students at the college."

Winner of the Utrecht Art Supplies Best in Show Award was Al Aronson, of Princeton, for his acrylic abstract, "Planar." Aronson received a generous gift certificate from Utrecht Art Supplies, located in Cranbury. An MCCC alumnus, Aronson pursued his associate degree in Fine Arts in the 1970s, while working days as an aerospace engineer. Now retired from his career in engineering, he is pursuing his art with a passion.

The two Juror's Choice Awards went to Harold Popowitz, of East Windsor, for "Presence," an acrylic on masonite, and Larry Chestnut, of Hamilton, for his oil painting, "Autumn Transition #2." Chestnut, a former graphic designer, now paints full time. "It's what I want to do," he said, noting that painting requires physical stamina and he is doing it "while the sun is still shining."

Honorable Mentions were awarded to six artists including: Mic Boekelmann, of Princeton, for her charcoal drawing, "Inner Strength"; Dee Gozonsky, of West Windsor, for her watercolor, "River Bank"; Charles McCollough, of Hopewell, for his elm wood sculptures, "Grounded Pig" and "Flying Horse"; Maxine Shore, of East Windsor, for "Central Park Shade"; Mary Waltham, of Princeton, for her oil painting, "Haymaking"; and Susan Winter, of Hightstown, for her oil painting, "On the Wall."

Winners of Purchase Prizes, selected by representatives from the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission, are Larry Chestnut for "Autumn Transition #2" (his second prize); Bill Plank, of Lawrenceville, for his watercolor, "Exiles"; and Susan Winter for "On the Wall (her second prize).

Winners of awards from the West Windsor Arts Council included Katarzyna Iwaniec for her oil painting, "Pink Table," and Ronald W. LeMahieu for his raku-fired ceramic, "Trio," and mosaic "Skull/Black & White."

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by Barry Kostrinsky