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Artists garner honors as exhibition continues

Birmingham resident Don Wieland’s painting entitled “Under-Water” earned Best of Show. (click for larger version)
August 25, 2010 - Art lovers from all over have enjoyed stopping into Margot's Gallery and Frame over the past few weeks to see more than 83 pieces of art on display from artists all over the thumb area of Michigan.

The Romeo Guild of Art brought it's annual event, The Thumb Area Art Exhibition, to downtown Oxford to celebrate the event's 50th year.

It all got started on July 30 with the grand opening ceremony, where a packed house viewed the paintings and anxiously wondered who was going to be crowned the "Best of Show."

"We had a lot of people here," said Margot Van Horn, the owner of Margot's Gallery and Frame. "It wasn't just local people...this show is open to anyone who lives in the thumb of Michigan, so we had people from different areas."

Oakland resident Janet Davison said that Van Horn graciously opened her shop after the Guild was having trouble finding a place to have it this year.

"It was much, much better," said Davison. "It is bigger and Margot's is open all the time and people are coming through here. During Celebrate Oxford, we had a lot of traffic, so we are really pleased with how everything looks."

Don Wieland's piece "Under-Water" was selected as the Best of Show by judge Laura Host, who is Watermedia/Printmaking Instructor at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan in Painting and Ceramics.

Davison reasoned that Host liked the painting because of the intellectual aspect to it.

"It's hidden under water and the words are in there and he has done a really good job with the graphic words, which are upside down" she said. "The blue is kind of representing the water and the yellow is the sun and it is pretty geometric with the way the shapes are broken up, which is kind of a contrast to what we think of in organic water waves."

Wieland, who lives in Birmingham, is a former car illustrator who usually sticks to realistic pieces.

"He usually sticks to realistic things, so for him to do that was kind of fun," said Davison.

Wieland received a $300 cash prize, which was sponsored by the Lakeville Animal Clinic.

Other winners included:

First place: James Kasperek's "Clear Morning"

Second place: Mike Henry's "First Light IV"

Third place: Beverly Booth's "Just Onions"

Fourth Place: Lorraine Gedeon's "On the Edge"

In addition to the five overall winners, there were seven honorable mentions which include Diann Benoit Jameyfield's "Amalfi Coast", Don Clay's "St. Mary's River", Jan Filarski's "Memories" Laura Giacoma's "Grandma's Smile", M.C. Keitz "Watercolor Abstract", Vianna Szabo's "Rochester Alleyway" and Paula Wild's "Chick, Chick, Chicken".

Van Horn also got in on the judging as she was able to select her favorite painting.

She chose Ken Taylor's "Amazing Grace" because she liked the control he had over the colors.

"They faded just beautifully and the technique I thought was really good and then there was a real message there and you could interpret it any way you want," Van Horn explained.

The People's Choice Award will be announced on Aug. 31. The paintings will be up until Aug. 31 and can be viewed during Margot's Gallery and Frame normal business hours, which are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about submitting a piece to the upcoming show "All Creatures Great and Small" at Margot's call (248) 628-5398.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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