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Detroit Woman Wins First Prize in Michigan Fine Arts Competition at BBAC

An exhibit of the more than 236 works in the 30th annual Michigan Fine Arts Competition will be on display at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center through May 4.

Artists from Detroit, Troy, Holly, Midland and Bloomfield Hills took home the top prizes in the 30th annual Michigan Fine Arts Competition, held at the (BBAC).

"The winners of the Michigan Fine Arts Competition this year are as varied as the exhibit itself," said Annie VanGelderen, president and CEO of the BBAC. "We're honored to showcase the ecletic and diverse talent of our Michigan artists and look forward to sharing this extraordinary exhibit with the people of this region and beyond."

Taking home the top prize this year was Lynn Spanke of Detroit for her piece "We Believe in Dreams." Spanke took home $5,000 in prize money.

Second place was Armin Mersmann of Midland. Sandy Rice of Troy and Chuck Sharbaugh tied for third place while Ruth Tyszka of Bloomfield Hills came in fourth.

In total, this year's competition received 236 entres from 177 artists in 80 Michigan cities.

An exhibit of the winners and all the entries will be on display at the BBAC through May 4. The exhibit is free.

A closer look at the winners

First Place: Lynn Spanke, Detroit

  • Piece: "We Believe in Dreams;" oil and acrylic on canvas, 12' x 9'
  • Prize: $5,000
  • Artist's Statement: This painting expresses desperation and false hope.  Two tormented figures to the right represent those who choose passion over reason, pining over the siren on the hood of a red Cadillac. The large scale of the painting exaggerates the hopeless obsession of the two men, while the woman's mirage-like beauty depicts the impossibility of their desires.

Second place: Armin Mersmann, Midland

  • Piece: "After Flood;" pencil, 31" x 39"
  • Prize: $2,500
  • Artist's Statement: In the area where I live there is a flood plain and every spring these trees are by and large underwater. I came upon this place when the waters receded.  I was blown away by the complex movements of line; limbs, branches, twigs and brambles that seemed to be hanging on for dear life. The composition was inspired by one of my heroes Franz Kline (an American painter best known for large black and white paintings bearing abstract motifs.)

Third place: Sandy Rice, Troy

  • Piece: "Pagan Wedding;" wood and paint, 97' x 50"
  • Prize: $1,000
  • Artist's Statement: Rice simply refers to her work as “large-scale relief sculpture of engraved and painted blocks of wood.”

Third place: Chuck Sharbaugh, Holly

  • Piece: "Across America;" wood and assorted veneers, 63" x 61" x 18
  • Prize: $1,000
  • Artist's Statement: "Across America" is a furniture form I've used to illustrate two essential components: the architecture of the cabinet and the intricate narrative scenes created with the technique of marquetry. The shapes and symbols used in the design for the exterior of the cabinet aid in creating a rigid architectural impression that contrasts the interior images. The hyper-observed designs on the interior drawers portray quilt-like patterns of highway interchanges. These views from space are meant to evoke a sense of wonderment and awe, then ultimately a contemplative impression. The minute size and complexity of these images draws the viewer closer for an intimate visual conversation with the cabinet.

Fourth Place: Ruth Tyszka, Bloomfield Hills

  • Piece: "Tracey's Summer Patio Party;" mosaic and mixed media, 12" x 10" x 10"
  • Prize: $500
  • Artist's Statement: After creating my own mosaic wedding cake, I embarked on a series of cakes I call the "Celebrate" series, which explores the theme of cakes as a symbol of personal celebrations, milestones and social gatherings. This flower-topped cake is meant to be served at a summer patio party by a hostess who can throw together a first-rate party and make it look easy, inspiring some envy in the rest of us, as well as delight at having been included in the event.
Stephanie April 13, 2012 at 04:47 PM
That 1st place painting looks more like a circus clown exploded on canvas.

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