6th Annual Black & White Monthly Winning Artists – February 2022

The top five artists in each category were given awards in the 6th 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 6th 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) – Maxwell Miller – “Self Portrait” – charcoal

Maxwell Miller began his artistic career in theatrical arts. Serving as director, artistic designer, and scenic artist for several Cleveland based theater organizations, he specialized in large scale theatrical puppetry. He began to pursue visual arts professionally in 2017 with a focus on imaginative realism. After refining his technique and developing an interest in mythology and history painting, he became an apprentice of Anthony Waichulis at the Ani Art Academy in January of 2020. He now strives to incorporate his sense of theatricality into the development of his artistic skill.

Maxwell’s website is www.maxwellgmiller.com          

Best in Show (Photography & Digital) – Shelley Benjamin – “Gold Dredge” – digital photography

Shelley Benjamin, a resident of southeast Florida, is an award winning digital artist. She has been published in “Living the Photo Artistic Life”, Somerset Digital Studio and “Awake Photography magazines. Her work has received Best in Show, and top 10 in the “Fusion Art” online gallery and top 10, Honorable, Mention and Special Merit in the Light Space and Time Gallery. She has exhibited in group shows at the Louvre, the Cornell Museum, and Grounds for Sculpture.

Shelley received a BS in Textile Design from Cornell University. After a career as a textile designer and weaver, she became interested in mixed media, and ultimately, photography. Shelley’s experimentation and involvement with digital photography began after she purchased her first DSLR camera. During the learning process, she joined an international group of digital artists. With the advanced training she was able to develop her skills, which has allowed her to transform her images to reflect her vision. The inspiration from the group opened up the possibilities of taking photos into a new realm.

Shelley is motivated by the art she sees in museums and galleries. From the time she was young she has always been an avid museum visitor. Her background in weaving exposed her to the art of fine crafts and the masters in those fields. Shelley uses her photos as the foundation for a digital painterly approach, utilizing modern technology to enhance and transform the original image. Drawing upon her textile design background, she imparts a tactile feeling to her work. She is inspired by color, reflections, light, the changing seasons, nature and architectural elements.

Shelley is always searching for extraordinary visual imagery in very ordinary environments. She states that her goal is to share the beauty around her and impart the uplifting feelings to the viewer that are the source of her inspiration.

Shelley’s website is www.shelleybenjamin.com

Best in Show (3 Dimensional) – Péter Borkovics – “Rotating Square 3” – fused and ground glass

I first became interested in the fact that glass is liquid. Any object made of glass goes through different machines, techniques, and professional tricks until it reaches its final stage. During the time I was leaving high school, I was interested in wire glass – how the framework grabs this type of glass when it is deformed and leaves an exciting flow behind.

My previous glass pieces were organic forms or tracery. My geometrical, striped blocks are simple prisms from outside. The shapes get more hectic inside, appearing as if I have turned them inside out. The colorful glass sheets are melted and the inside colors and shapes are formed by the heat. The continuous, parallel stripes symbolize the harmony of nature and the eternal circle of time. This is where we were born; we are part of it. The circular or rectangular frame in the middle expresses the human presence; the exact thinking. Rotating these circles and squares shows the ever changing civilization and the ways in which we think. The struggles of time we fill with our lives, the lived moments, and the tiny speck of dust in the eternal and inconceivable universe. It is like a stone which is thrown into water, man is born, and something has changed.

Both types of shaping require different types of people. The cold shaping needs calmer, reflective, consequent personality and suggests unlimited time. The hot one is fire itself. It is virtuoso, energetic, experienced, forward thinking, and sensitive, improvising, transforming, and alive. I deal with the union of these two types. The creative spark of the hot glass is brought together with the cleanness, transparency, and play of light that the cold glass encompasses. It originated as a stroke of genius, matures in the atmosphere of inspiration and we finish it as an experienced master, as it is worth doing in our own aesthetic culture. It can only be attained with the forces of love and humility. It is very exciting!

Péter’s website is www.borkovics.hu

2nd Place (Traditional) – Kathy Paulus – “From Barrel to Bottle” – scratchboard

Kathy Paulus resides in Moreno Valley, California. She worked for 23 years as an Infant Specialist with children with disabilities from birth to 3 years. She started her art career after retiring in her early 50’s. She considers herself a self-taught artist specializing in pastel work. She specializes in domestic/wild animal portraits and still life subjects. 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 has done many commissioned animal portraits and enjoys the joy it brings to a devoted pet owner. She is also a scratchboard artist and she became a member of the International Society of Scratchboard Artist in 2018. Scratchboard art enables her to achieve fine detail in realism in her animal studies. 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 Paint My Photo, an international group of artist and photographers. She is also involved in many online groups as well.

She enjoys teaching in workshops and sharing the knowledge she has developed 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 Scratchboard art.

You can see more of her work on her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ElipisFineArt.com.

2nd Place (Photography & Digital) – Bob Nardi – “Look Out” – photography

Bob Nardi has been in Photography for many years. His start was in commercial Photography. For the past 10 year he has been working on photography for himself. He believes seeing is the function of the eyes but vision comes from the heart. Photography is an Art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with THE WAY YOU SEE THEM.

Bob’s website is http://bobnardi.com.


2nd Place (3 Dimensional) – Sheryl Holstein – “Obsidian Jar” – wheel thrown pottery

“Becoming a potter is a passion, a goal and an extension of who I am. I love making beautiful things that can be shared with others. I hope others enjoy viewing, touching and using my pottery as much as I have enjoyed creating them.”

Sheryl Holstein has been studying pottery from accomplished potters through the John C. Campbell Folk School since the fall of 2002. She began creating pottery under the name Mountain Oak Pottery, and is continuously learning new and different techniques for throwing and glazing. When you live high in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, there isn’t a better place to work than your own back porch. Sheryl has set up her pottery studio over-looking the very mountains that give her artistic inspiration every day.

Sheryl’s work can be seen on her Facebook page here: http://facebook.com/MountainOakPottery

3rd Place (Traditional) – Cher Pruys – “Pondering” – acrylic

Cher 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, water color 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

3rd Place (Photography & Digital) – Gareth Jones – “Dream Cape” – digital photography

Photography/digital art are my artistic expressions – it gives my imagination, vision and inquisitive mind visual life. I explore abstracts or concepts in colour and monochrome all created from my photographs or digital art. I strive to balance life and I attempt to give people a breather from the stress of today’s world. I see the world with all its wonders, big and small and then I put my take on it, that’s my gift – a moment to create whatever the image calls up in you. My mind is full of images, they just have to come out – what I see is the launching pad.

Gareth’s website is www.gpjones1.format.com

3rd Place (3 Dimensional) – Natalie Oliphant – “Sorrow” – sculpture

Adhering to her mission to reuse and recycle found items, Natalie Oliphant, an emerging eco artist, maintains a strong focus on creating, while respecting the need to protect the environment. Natalie adheres repurposed fabrics to create texture in her mixed media pieces. She uses found objects to give dimension, depth and new meaning. Natalie’s mixed media body forms reveal the painful experience in coming of age and sexual revelation. Her blank canvas of choice is the recycled mannequin. Anonymous since their birth in assembly line production, these gently used, discarded mannequins will be interred in landfills unless they can be resurrected and given their own voice. Natalie adorns each body form with found objects and repurposed pieces of jewelry, purses, hardware, and recycled fabric. The mannequins reveal their new life and purpose as they wear the pain of memories and human experience.

Natalie’s website is www.natalieoliphant.ca

4th Place (Traditional) – Helena Maria Espinola Cocentino – “The Wait” – graphite

Helena Cocentino was born in the Northeast of Brazil and has always observed every detail around her since she was little, developing her visual perception more and more. She started drawing at the age of ten and painting at the age of fifteen, going through several series.

Regardless of the subject, Helena has always worked with various techniques, dedicating herself more to oil on canvas, dry pastel and graphite. Knowledge acquired through the Faculty of Degree in Design and private courses in art and photography.

Today the she develops realistic work on various themes, such as still life, flora and boats, using her own photos as a source of inspiration, having in common strong light, generating shadows, transparencies and reflections.

The boats are striking expressions of each region that the artist visited, showing the beauty of their shapes, the contrast of textures and situations that make us reflect on how much we depend on nature, from the impossibility of using certain vessels according to the tide, or how important an anchor is to fix somewhere, etc.

Helen can be reached at her Email.

4th Place (Photography & Digital) – Hunter Johnson – “Curves #5” – digital photography

An interest in strong images that build a moving narrative began with stacks of National Geographic’s 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. In this vein, I have recently began exploring ways to simplify and abstract elements of the world I find, using light and shadow, tight focusing, cropping, and representing them in black & white. The intent of these images is not to make the subject unrecognizable; rather, I want them to be not literally about the subject itself, but instead capture graphic qualities like line, texture, tones, shape, patterns, and rhythm.

Living and working part-time in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, I am exploring the contrasts between Mexico and the California desert by capturing images that, to me, stand for something uniquely distinctive about my new home.

Hunter’s website is www.hunterjohnson.us

4th Place (3 Dimensional) – Jacki Cohen – “Champion” – glass

Translating the World into Glass. Color. Vibrancy. Bold design.

Translating the world into glass ignites my soul and fuels my spirit. Whether it’s a crimson sunset, the cover of Vogue, or a fresh sprig of mint in a celebratory Mojito, my passion is in transforming everyday objects into innovative glass designs through sensory observation, imagination and meticulous technique.

“I’ve played in many visual media. Fused glass is the single art form that allows me unbridled creative expression.”

 I love life. I wake up every morning at 5am to exercise. Whether I’m in the gym training or hiking the majestic Arizona Mountains, pushing my body to perform is part of my process. As an artist, my outlook informs my approach to my work. Building physical strength, flexibility, and balance enables me to feel the power of nature and translate that vitality into glass. Plus, so many of my greatest designs are inspired by nature!

Art enriches the soul and brings light to everyone. I’ve always been impassioned to spread that luminosity through my connections to family, friends, and community. When someone relates to my vibrant outlook on life, I want them to be able to carry that energy and joy into their own home, office, or share it with friends and family.

My custom work allows me to design pieces based on a client’s unique take on the world. We can work within a specific color palette and design style to create one-of-a-kind pieces, wall hangings, installations or functional decor elements that reflect one’s individual personality and spirit. I am a juried artist in the Sonoran Arts League and the Arizona Artists Guild.

My studio door is open by appointment. Come see me and tell me your story so we can translate your world into glass.

Jacki’s website is www.jackicohenglassartdesigns.com

5th Place (Traditional) – Christine O’Dell-Ferguson – “Harmony” – graphite

I have considered myself an artist for as long as I can remember; I don’t recall not being an artist. I was raised in a rural area, and feel blessed to have had that life. It made me appreciate and understand nature and all of its wonders. I was lucky enough to attend art school. The experience enriched my vocabulary, and I am grateful. I am constantly inspired by the forms in nature. It doesn’t matter if I am drawing, painting, sculpting, or weaving; organic forms intrigue me. With each piece I complete, I cannot wait to begin a new one. I am lucky to be surrounded by my muse, and I have never gotten bored or tired of paying homage to it. I love sharing my work, and I can only hope that the viewer can feel the passion and reverence I feel for my subject matter. Whether it is waves, trees, a landscape, a creature, or an abstracted form I am looking at, the excitement I feel never changes. It is a journey I chose and I hope I never complete. I have been fortunate in my career, and have been awarded, recognized, and published locally, nationally, and internationally. It has been a wonderful life.

Christine’s website is http://odellfergusonstudios.com            

5th Place (Photography & Digital) – Joanne Chase-Mattillo – “Dog Walking on Beach” – black and white photography

The beauty of nature surrounding Los Angeles was the impetus for her entrance into the field of photography. Joanne began vigorously studying photography and other art arenas to hone my skills as a visual artist. In 2000, she graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a Masters of Fine Art (MFA). During these years Joanne continued as a tenured teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District. She is now a full-time artist.

In addition to color and black and white film, Joanne shoots digitally and employs the techniques of infrared imaging and enjoy creating 3D anaglyphs to be viewed with red/blue lenses. Joanne also enjoys combining images of nature with movie stills, mannequins, or human subjects in photo montages, with occasional text included in these artworks. As an extension of photography, she has branched out to do videos and have a YouTube Channel, THE VIDEO ART OF JOANNE CHASE-MATTILLO.

Joanne has exhibited throughout California, nationally, in Korea, France and England.

Joanne’s website is www.joannechasemattillo.com

5th Place (3 Dimensional) – Katelyn B. Knight – “Women of Greek Mythology: Victim, Villain, Hero – Medusa” – hydrocal plaster

Artist Biography: Fine artist, Katelyn B. Knight has been formally studying countless types of art media since 2011. She started her studies at the University of Arts in animation and film, but quickly fell in love with oil painting and classical drawing. Taking a break from formal education in the arts, she continued creating alongside her studies in science and engineering. When her career abruptly ended in engineering, she returned to, and completed her formal education in the fine arts at Bucks County Community College (BCCC). There, she focused on sculpture and ceramics and is now employed as a 3D Art Studio Technician and a volunteer Ceramic Studio Technician.

Katelyn’s sculptural work in plaster is based around the aesthetic beauty of shape and form. This inspiration comes from the Ancient Greek culture through the stories and themes of women in mythology.

Katelyn participated in the 2019 Student Dodge Show, where she was awarded the Echo Lake Drawing Award. She showcased three sculptures as a Bucks County Community College staff member in the 2021 BCCC NASAD Group Show. Three more sculptures were also displayed in the 2021 BCCC Winter Group Showcase.

Artist Statement: Creating is a practice in which learning and studying is abundant. It is an obsession. For me, it is a craving for philosophical knowledge, for artistic processes and techniques, and for sharing my vision and meaning. I work in the time-honored media of plaster, focusing on relief sculptures based around my love for form, design, pattern and the recurring themes of women in Greek mythology.

Katelyn’s website is www.kbknight.art


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