2018 caa Prize Show: Artists Cast A Wide Net

Alice Abrams. "Gluten Free Pancakes." Ceramic, hand built and wheel thrown low fire clay. 22” x 16” x 16”.


by Franklin W. Liu

In the years since its Founding in 1944, the Cambridge Art Association has enthusiastically presented an annual exhibition to celebrate the unique talents of its over 500 members. This year, out of 333 works submitted for the show’s consideration, 43 diversified artworks varying in medium and subject matter were selected by CAA’s guest juror, Joseph Carroll (Carroll & Sons, Boston, MA), for exhibition in keeping with CAA’s avowed tradition and commitment to bring art and community together, said Erin Becker, the Norma Jean Calderwood Director of the CAA.

The cross-section of gifted artists contributing to this show is itself indicative of the fact that the mystery and appeal of producing art for some are sparked unexpectedly later in life. Make no mistake about it, however, because once that creative passion is ignited, the joyful endeavor to produce art becomes an all-consuming personal journey; an interest in art that commences early on in adolescence, followed by art school thereafter, is no guarantee that the art produced is of superlative quality, for it is an artist’s maturity and life experience that is often pivotal to producing seminal art of enduring societal value. Thus, it’s been said that in life, as in art, one is wise to “cast a wide net,” salient personal advice received by one of the artists exhibiting in this show.

Of the 43 artworks presented, there are oil and acrylic on canvas, on linen, on cardboard, on wood panel, along with pristine watercolor, fiber art, ceramic sculpture, silkscreen, paper collage, woodblock print, digital photography, graphite drawing and mixed media, all served up as an ample feast to the eye.

Some art viewers may ask, “Is it subjective that an artist would choose one particular medium to work with over another?” These days, one is certainly overwhelmed by the abundance of choices; it is just as curious to ponder why an artist would find a certain medium more appealing than another. Some like the fluidity and the spontaneity of working with watercolor and oil pigments, while others like the reassuring control and the meticulousness that come with woodcut and printing processes. And, with easy-to-use cameras designed as an integral function of today’s smart phones, everybody seems to be constantly snapping photographs, although teenagers’ and narcissists’ selfies seem to inevitably end up with that same curious, pouting “duck-mouth” look. Times have changed, indeed; interest in photography as art is at an apogee.

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