5th Annual Black & White Monthly Winning Artists – February 2021

The top five artists in each category were given awards in the 5th Annual Black & White international online art exhibition.  Below are the biographies and/or artist’s statements along with the artist’s websites or emails.

To contact these artists directly for purchase inquiries or to see more of their work, please visit the 5th Annual Black & White Exhibition page for contact information.

Congratulations again to all the winners and thank you for sharing your talent with us.

Best in Show (Traditional) – Kathy M Paulus – “Jaguar” – scratch art

Kathy Paulus resides in Moreno Valley, California. She considers herself a self-taught artist specializing in pastel work. She specializes in pet/wild animal portraits and still life subjects. She has done many commissioned animal portraits and enjoys the joy it brings to a devoted pet owner. She enjoys realism and the challenge to capture the real beauty in animals. She has a special love for horses and all wild cats. She also enjoys working with colored pencils on drafting paper.

She has been exploring scratch art and she became a member of the International Society of Scratchboard Artist in 2018. She alternates working with pastels and scratch work. She is an active member of the Redlands Art Association in Redlands, California and Yucaipa Vision Quest Art Association in Yucaipa, California. She is involved in the international group of artist and photographers, Paint My Photo. She is also involved in many online groups as well.

She enjoys teaching in workshops and demos to share the knowledge she has obtained through the years in the area of pastels and scratch art. She enters many local and international art shows and has won many awards for her pastel work and Scratch art.

Kathy’s artwork can be seen on her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ElipisFineArt        

Best in Show (Photography & Digital) – Hunter Johnson – “Midnight at Panamint Springs” – digital photography

Best in Show (Photography & Digital) Hunter JohnsonAn interest in strong images that build a moving narrative began with stacks of National Geographics in my grandparents’ attic. Along the way, I’ve been influenced by most every photograph, painting, or other graphic image I’ve seen.

My photography comes out of my training and work as an architect and as a sociologist; both create a combined vision of how individuals and society interact with our built and natural environments, an ecology of our culture. Through my camera I work to capture specific details that isolate a strong graphic element, reveal what otherwise might not be seen, create an insight into our common humanity, and, in the best case, combine to tell a story that stirs unexpected feelings and enriches our lives.

As an artist, I approach the world as a flâneur, looking for images that are intuitive and of the moment, rarely planned or staged. If my photographs were words, I would like them to be Haikus.

A major component of my recent work is a continuing series, The Injuries of Time. Inspired by Thomas Church’s Course of Empire and Byron’s Childe Harold, the series records artifacts of man’s attempts to tame the natural world and how these survive, (or don’t) over time. In ruins, we see the intersection of man’s striving to conquer nature and nature’s response: converting indoors into outdoors. To keep our fast-changing world in perspective we must acknowledge that any creation decays over time.

In response to what seems an increasingly mechanical and intellectual method of presenting my work thru traditional digital methods, I have begun to explore alternative, hand-made processes including carbon transfer printing and photogravure solar plate etchings. Several of the images submitted here are printed with these processes.

Hunter’s website is www.hunterjohnson.us      

Best in Show (3 Dimensional) – Joséphine Tambwe Feza Kabibi – “Hemba Status” – copper metal

Best in Show (3-Dimensional) Joséphine Tambwe Feza KabibiMy name is Tambwe Feza Kabibi Joséphine. I am a professional copper drummer artist (Metal Battu) from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I create copper paintings as well as copper doors for living rooms, bedrooms, offices, nightclubs.

I started my artistic career at the age of seventeen in Kinshasa (Drc) in 1989. After the death of my father, I was unable to continue with schooling and learned the copper trade through an apprenticeship with Master Joseph Mutete. Although he died years ago, he left me an immense treasure of this skill.

Eventually I saw fit to open my studio and set off on a great adventure and I have enjoyed a 32-year career.

Joséphine can be reached via her email

2nd Place (Traditional) – Cher Pruys – “My Girls” – acrylic

2nd Place (Traditional) Cher PruysCher Pruys was born in Regina. Over the years she lived in many places including Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Fort Frances, settling into her present home in Devlin, on the banks of the Rainy River with her husband Mark, 4 dogs and 2 cats.

By age three, Cher was seldom found without a drawing tool in hand. She worked in pencil, charcoal and ink over the years, until, she picked up a paintbrush at the age of 35. Beginning with oil paints, she found her chosen mediums in acrylic, watercolor and gouache.

Although self-taught, her dedication and talent has seen her work juried into 99 International exhibits, as well as exhibits in numerous non-juried shows. She has won 75 awards for her work at the International Juried Exhibits. Included in these awards, the first recipient of a major Canadian National Award, The Mary Pratt Crystal Award of Excellence at the 2014 SCA Open Juried Exhibition, The SCA 1st place award of distinction twice respectively, 2016, and 2017 at The Canada’s 150 show. The Gold Medal recipient for Figurative Painting in The Mondial Art Academia’s International 2018 Competition. The Aviation Week & Space Technology Award Best of the Best, and the ASAA Award of Distinction for the best painting in the ASAA International Space & Technology Exhibit & Competition, consecutively for 2 years. She has had 14 solo exhibits. Cher is also an avid fused glass artist, and a certified teacher of piano and guitar.

Her painting “The Bubble” had the honour of being part of the Masterworks from The International Guild of Realism Tour. She was elected to the American Society of Aviation Artists as an artist member in 1996, and eventually was elected as a Foreign Affiliate Artist Fellow, one of only two Canadians receive this honour. Her work has graced the covers of 3 books, 14 magazines, and has-been featured in over 50 international publications. Cher’s works have found a permanent home in private and public collections worldwide.

Cher’s artistic style can be described as Realism with a hint of Abstract in her latest works.

Cher’s website is www.artbycher.ca        

2nd Place (Photography & Digital) – Lynette Gram – “Texaco Cap” – photography

2nd Place (Photography & Digital) Lynette GramLynette has loved photography since her grade school fieldtrips with the family ‘Brownie’ camera. As an adult, she went into Portrait Photography, and enjoyed hiking for waterfall and landscape shots. However, in 2000 she came down with a permanent Vertigo issue, which affected her movement greatly. Still Life was the answer, and she found a deep love for this style.

As an antique enthusiast, Still Life was a perfect match! Lynette considers antiques, collectables and ‘old’ things in general, beautiful and full of character. Their signs of age and wear enhance their uniqueness and draw you into their history and purpose.

‘Light Painting’ or ‘Light Sculpting’ is her favorite technique; it is done in a dark studio using a modified flashlight or wand to bring out all the texture and details of each antique.

Instead of being defeated by Vertigo, she is thankful to be able to shoot what she knows and loves.

Lynette’s website is www.lynettegramphotography.com

2nd Place (3 Dimensional) – Brian Mark – “Little Rachael” – Portoro black marble

2nd Place (3-Dimensional) Brian MarkBiography: Born in Schenectady, New York, raised in Washington, D.C., Brian Mark has been intrigued by art of all kinds for most of his life. By the time he entered college, not knowing what he wanted to do, thought, and quickly abandoned, dentistry. Literature appealed to him and ultimately, Mark taught English literature at university.

While he was doing scholarly work on English literature, Mark began to feel a tug toward doing, not just intellectualizing about art. Mark’s first artistic foray was in woodworking. After a while, he could not shake the impact Dylan Thomas’ poem, “In My Craft or Sullen Art” had on him. Mark kept feeling he was doing craft, not art, and wanted more. A friend urged him to look seriously at stone sculpture as his art focus. Eventually, Brian Mark went to that sculpting class, and as he tells it: ‘As soon as I set foot in the studio and looked at the work the students were doing, I was hooked.’

That was 20 years ago. Mr. Mark has been joyfully doing stone sculpting from that date to now. Sculpting is something he simply cannot NOT do. It is a passion. He creates abstract sculptures in harder stone such as marble, calcite, onyx, and others. He does not strive to make statements with his art, but rather ‘tries to bring beauty into this world, and at the same time soothe his soul by fulfilling the creative process.’

His work has been seen in many art shows and looks forward to continuing his love/work in stone.

Artist Statement: Nature is raw. Art is practiced. Each stone has its own language and I work to understand that language. Some of the learning comes from striving to listen to what each stone is saying. Each has a color, a shape, and a hidden beauty. While valuing that uniqueness, I strive to let my imagination fly free, in order build upon nature’s creation: blending raw nature with understanding the language of this stone.

And, so begins the conversation between stone and sculptor. When a stone selects me, I cannot know what striations, hues, density, faults, lie under the surface. As I begin chiseling and grinding, the stone talks to me, saying, “I have this special colored line running through me: preserve it”. Or, “slightly shift the angle of this or that curve”. Or, “work with me: together we can bring forth that special surprise, that new beauty never before seen”.

The conversation continues until nature’s stone and my imagination marry and together say, “stop – our work is done”. For me that conversation must lead to a sculpture that has movement, movement, movement. That movement is stone brought to life in a way never before seen.

Brian’s website is www.brianmarksculptor.com    

3rd Place (Traditional) – Mehrnosh Kaecker – “Lost in Thought” – oil on paper

3rd Place (Traditional) Mehrnosh KaeckerMehrnosh Kaecker lives in Germany. She graduated in 2001 with a communication design degree in Hamburg. In the following years, she has deepened her artistic skills by participating in numerous workshops and seminars of renowned artists.

As a communication designer, Mehrnosh is committed to portrait and figurative painting and drawing. She has shown her art in exhibitions in New York, Paris, Moscow, Richmond Virginia, Germany and among others. She has also received national and international Awards.

Mehrnosh’s website is https://mehrnoshkaecker.com   

3rd Place (Photography & Digital) – Barbara Mierau-Klein – “Running out of Time” – digital photo collage

3rd Place (Photography & Digital) Barbara Mierau-KleinBarbara Mierau-Klein is a digital artist recognized for her multi-layered, imaginative and colorful fine art images. A native of Germany, Barbara lives in the Washington, D.C. area but often travels the world as a passionate landscape and nature photographer since her teenage years.

Much of Barbara’s work is highly stylized and focuses on beautiful moments and evocative moods across a wide range of subjects. The inspiration for her images comes from many sources, often her own nature photography, but also books, song lyrics, movies, and works of other artists, old masters as well as contemporary digital artists.

Barbara’s work has been exhibited in a number of galleries in the US and Europe and has received numerous awards. Her images also appear regularly in international art magazines. Barbara is represented locally by Waverly Street Gallery in Bethesda, MD.

Barbara’s website is www.barbaramierauklein.com

3rd Place (3 Dimensional) – Luanne Bole-Becker – “Ghosts of Cleveland Past” – mixed media assemblage

3rd Place (3-Dimensional) Luanne Bole-BeckerLuanne Bole-Becker is a self-taught artist, focusing on assemblages, photographs, paintings, and reconstructed jewelry. She followed up her debut solo show in late 2019 with a wide variety of Northeast Ohio exhibits and awards in 2020 and now 2021.

A native Clevelander, Luanne Bole-Becker has merged a variety of careers, including 20 years creating video documentaries, primarily for PBS. She is an Emmy-winning producer whose work focused on Northeast Ohio history, art, and culture. She also conceived of, shaped, and curated two photography exhibits exploring the lives of refugees, and the history and legacy of Cleveland’s first Chinese settlers. She especially enjoys discovering quirky details, behind-the-scenes stories, and unexpected perspectives. She is both writer and visual storyteller.

Most recently, Luanne has been creating 3-D assemblages that combine vintage objects and illustrations, short poems, paintings, and photographs. Her still images are often exhibited upon discarded or recycled materials. She is also experimenting with layering panels of painted glass, colored papers and light.

Luanne’s website is http://luanne-bole-becker.square.site   

4th Place (Traditional) – Deborah Perlman – “Landscape, Imagined #3” – mixed media

4th Place (Traditional) Deborah PerlmanThe dynamics of space, light, form, and shape inspire and intrigue me. I am driven to create artwork that demonstrates how these elements relate to each other and their surroundings. My aim is to capture a scene that stirs the senses. I see everything sculpturally, with each component of the composition adding dimension and movement.

To fully express my vision, I build a bas-relief / 3-D effect into my work, lifting certain elements to emphasize the spatial dynamics of the composition. My goal is to create art that invites the viewer into the scene, compelling them to consider what they see in terms of shape, light, form, and space.

Deborah’s website is www.artbydperlman.com  

4th Place (Photography & Digital) – Francis O’Donnell – “The Way of the Sword” – photography

4th Place (Photography & Digital) Francis O'DonnellFrancis Daniel O’Donnell is an artist, author, poet, filmmaker, and explorer. He has lectured on his experiences worldwide at various colleges, schools, universities, organizations, clubs, and libraries. He is an alumnus of the School of Visual Arts in NYC, where he earned a BFA in Media Arts and was a studio assistant of world-renowned sculptor Joel Perlman. Francis contributed to the restoration of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s house in Weston, Connecticut.

A veteran of the USMC, he has run several NYC Marathons. Mr. O’Donnell has traveled the world extensively, visiting over seventy countries. Often participating in or leading research expeditions and archaeological digs. He is a member of the New York Explorers Club and The Adventurers Club of Chicago, and the Royal Geographical Society, London.

His Emmy nominated PBS documentary, as well as the companion book, both produced and written by him “In the Footsteps of Marco Polo” www.wliw.org/marcopolo chronicle his historic two year, twenty-five thousand-mile journey, retracing the Venetian merchant’s 13th-century “Travels” along the fabled Silk Road. It recently showed at the Historic Byrd Theater in Richmond V.A. He also shows his work at The Crossroads, Art Works, and other galleries in and around Richmond.

He is a regular contributor to “The Heretic” magazine, “Ripcord Adventure Journal,” and the Scholarly blog “China Mongols and the Silk Road,” among others, including his piece in Smithsonian Magazine entitled “Marco Polo’s Guide to Afghanistan.” His work has been featured in “The Walkabout Chronicles” and the Pilgrimage Chronicles, both anthologies published by “Sacred World.”

This past winter and early spring, Mr. O’Donnell was a guest speaker presenting aboard a Celebrity Cruise ship, plying the Yellow and South China Sea. His most recent art installation entitled THE DEADLY TIDE ranked in the Top 25 in its category during ArtPrize #9 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where over 1400 artists worldwide took place in the competition.

Francis’ work can be seen on his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/GalleryWorkShopInTheStudio   

4th Place (3 Dimensional) – Nevenka Spasic-Thater – “Trophy” – acrylic on rough cardboard

4th-Place-10-3d.-Nevenka-4th Place (3-Dimensional) Nevenka Spasic-ThaterMight be called an Outsider, due to the lack of academic qualification in the Metier, as well as lack of the conditioning by art world trends. Actually, working in the field diametrically opposed to art. Initially a hindrance that turned out to be a treasure trove of inspiration, as it had provided for the opportunity to get deeper insight into the current societal state of mind: intolerance, decadence, insolence, ignorance, cruelty…

In the beginning, I was occupied by creating “Frames for the Ego”, thus expressing the critique of the identification of the Self with the Ego; mocking the search of fulfillment outside oneself. One is not who one thinks or shows one is. Since junk of all sorts enjoys my highest regard, and there has been a constant flood of interesting items, as well as of cardboard packaging, I took distance from my “Framework” and started painting on it.

Why “White and Black” digression in my work? We seem to be facing the peak of the disease of inversion of everything: ethics and aesthetics turned on head, attack on sound sense and everything worth living for. Hypocrite instead of Hippocrates. As I understand it, at present, there is nothing in between to be seen – either White or Black.

Nevenka’s website is https://picupload.boost.appboxes.co/beyond_painting    

5th Place (Traditional) – Michele Benzamin-Miki – “Elevation” – graphite pencil and Sumi ink on paper

5th Place (Traditional) Michele Benzamin-MikiI am more than a ‘Visual artist,’ the brush can Heal, Transform, Open and Change Minds! My Art is a ‘possibility filter’ to see the world with. My Art, and life as a performance artist, activist, leadership-mentor; as well as my three decades of teaching Zen meditation, Hypnosis, and the non-violent martial-art of Aikido, are intertwined into a single whole. My visual art and performance art is an important part of my spirituality. I begin each piece of 2D artwork using some form of meditation preparation, moving from a ‘point zero’ inner stillness onto the paper, to make visible this inner-sourced world. The intention is to invite the viewer to access a ‘whole body state of being present, in the presence of the art.’ I use water mediums and Pencil, going from Abstract with paints, to detailed Realism with Pencils, often figurative and female forms. I am a self-taught artist drawing and painting since the age of three in Japan. I come from a family of artists of Japanese and American heritage. My art is a blend Eastern and Western culture and philosophies.

Michele’s website is www.michelebenzaminmiki.com

5th Place (Photography & Digital) – Jacqui Sukie – “Rosebud” – photography

5th Place (Photography & Digital) Jacqui SukieJacqui Sukie is a self-taught photographer and artist from Ohio. Her appreciation for things of beauty began at an early age and blossomed during college art history classes. After graduation, she continued her studies by traveling the world to visit museums and to immerse herself in local art scenes.

Not until experiencing a life-changing event did she begin experimenting with photos taken with her iPhone. Many of her photographs are of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and surrounding metro parks, which she shares on social media at #morningrun.

Jacqui’s work can be seen in corporate headquarters, restaurants, juried art shows and private collections throughout Ohio and Florida, as well as juried virtual international shows.

Jacqui can be reached via her email.       

5th Place (3 Dimensional) – Barbara G. Haines – “La Sacre” – handmade wool – felt

5th Place (3-Dimensional) Barbara G. HainesThe inspiration for this wall hanging textile is the result of researching Nijinsky’s “Rite of Spring” choreography and studying a variety of cultures. This revolutionary ballet raises many questions and has revealed only a few answers since its debut. With never before use of vivid colors and geometric shapes, this ballet drove its audience into discussion regarding the artistic revolution that was to come. A rhythmically challenging music in relation to a primitive yet modern choreography. With this ballet as inspiration, I started to experiment with raw materials (wool, plant fibers) to understand how to sculpt 3D formations in order to bring this dance alive through forms. The materials I chose gave shapes not only the work physically, but equally to its meaning.

Monumentally scaled and minimally composed with a harmony between music and dance. It is an exciting sensation to create something so gestural, yet manipulated observation that seamlessly transform into three dimension. Movement means more when we experience the other end of the spectrum – stillness. Stillness can allow something to be what it is and having is speak for itself. Nijinsky’s characteristic movements, the unusually tilted head extension, pivoted arm, powerful hips, and pigeon-toed feet gives a new plastic vitality to understand his motions. Through this harmony, and rhythm that the amplified wool captures, a rhythmical observation synthesize my hands as they translate this energy into a single piece of textured dense material. Working in a contemporary adaptation of an ancient method allowed me to bring fluidity of the materials themselves.

My choice for black and white color is the ideal representation for a chaotic choreography with a divine level of underlining architectural harmony. We can see a young virgin maiden who represents the “Chosen One” in Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps ballet. A gestural elaboration that expresses Nijinsky’s established principles of ordeal style. She makes a convulsive jump on one leg, having crossed and raised the other in front, hiding one hand behind as she threatens the heavens with one hand being held close to her body.

The signature phrase of “Sacrificial Dance”. A single piece of handmade Wool-felt with deep structural ribs washed into different forms to bring the “Chosen One” alive as if dancing again

Barbara’s website is http://bghfelt.weebly.com


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