6th Annual Figures & Faces Art Exhibition Monthly Winning Artists

The top five artists in each category were given awards in the 6th Annual Figures & Faces 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 Figures & Faces Exhibition page for contact information.

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

Best in Show (Traditional) – Brian McClear – “Justine” – oil on canvas

Best in Show (Traditional) Brian McClearBrian McClear is a contemporary representational artist with a passion for the interplay between form and texture and how things fit together. Working primarily in oil, his paintings present a balance and solidity that invites interpretation.

Ink & Oil: Once relegated to sailors, combat veterans, and the counter culture, tattoos have become ubiquitous. Whether to commemorate a life event, to satisfy an impulse, to make a bold statement, or as a private talisman, the reasons for getting a tattoo are as varied as the people themselves.

This series of portraits explores men and women of all ages and walks of life that have chosen this form of self-expression. Free spirits. Police officers. Bikers. Musicians. Preachers. Punks. Veterans. These portraits seek to capture a gesture and mood that provide additional insights into the subject’s personality beyond their art. Simply put canvases of people who are themselves canvases.

Please visit Brian’s website if you are interested in seeing more of his work.

Best in Show (Photography & Digital) – Brian Cann – “Networking #3” – digital photography

Best in Show (Photography & Digital) Brian CannBrian Cann is a photographer, teacher and writer living in Stuttgart, Germany, specializing in portrait, editorial, fitness, event and art-nude photography. 

He taught math at school and university. Studied photography. Stopped. Started again, motivated by early retirement and his wife. An early specialization in the studio slowly shifted to outside images. Portraits of athletes, many of them masters, morphed into figure studies and explorations in erotic and fetish photography, often with the same models: typically strong, fit, and older. His goal is to produce non-exploitative, authentic portraits that stay away from cliché and in which his models are co-creators, collaborators in a process.

His work has appeared in IoN magazine and ‘Mein heimliches Auge’ and others, and he has been featured in juried exhibitions in the USA, Scotland, Hungary, France, Montenegro, and Germany.

He is originally from the UK, now living in Germany, with his American wife and kids.

Please visit Brian’s website if you are interested in seeing more of his work.

Best in Show (3 Dimensional) – Naihui Chen – “Angel” – copper

Biography: Chen Naihui is a Chinese artist. He graduated from the Art School of Guangdong University of Finance and Economics in 2015, and is currently engaged in sculpture art creation. He is also a member and director of Beijing Bauhaus Art Academy.

He completed some public art sculpture creations with his mentor by chance in 2017. It was because of this accidental opportunity that he was deeply inspired. Chen hopes that his works can interact and communicate with the audience and truly have a dialogue from the heart.

Artist Statement:  This work, “Angel” reminds me of the sea. It is a kind of eternity, a kind of peace from the heart, and a kind of longing. The inspiration for the work comes from thinking about life and the inner desire for freedom. Even with the body and wings of an angel, it stops flying. Like a body with a heavy responsibility, the half-squinted eyes are depressed, and the heart is full of fear. It expresses the individual under the bondage of social pressure. This endless sense of oppression is everywhere, as if every urbanite can see his own shadow here trying to find freedom in hiding himself.

The work is made of copper. I hope that the material will reflect the richness of life in the work, and I will still maintain my desire for the future despite my hard work. I use dark colors, which can make the shape appear clearly and give people a deep feeling; it is like time stops at that moment.

Naihui can be reached via his email.

2nd Place (Traditional) – Mary H. Klunk – “Malaya” – oil on linen

Mary Harriman Klunk has been a working artist for over 30 years. Her educational background includes a B.S. degree at Towson University, studying Art and Psychology; and an M.Ed from Loyola University. Mary studied Painting and Drawing at the Mitchell School of Fine Arts and the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore, focusing on the mediums oil, and pastel.

Mary has worked as an Art Therapist in neuropsychiatric hospitals, Senior Centers, and Nursing homes. She managed Art programs in Maximum and Medium security prisons. She served as Artist in Residence with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Maryland, and taught Painting and Drawing in Community Colleges throughout Maryland. She has lectured on American Artists, Impressionism, and Modern Painting and taught Landscape and Seascape Painting Workshops in Maryland, Florida, and Nassau, Bahamas. She worked as a Mural artist with Comcast Cable and as a Caricature Artist in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Mary owned and operated a working Art studio and gallery in Havre de Grace, Maryland.

Mary developed an interest in Literacy while working in art programs in prisons, and took a hiatus from Art to work as a Special Education and Reading teacher for 10 years in the Baltimore School System.

Mary’s work includes portraits, still life, landscapes, and figure studies. The works are completed in a classical “Old Masters” style, emphasizing color relationships, and value. For still life and portrait, working in the studio with controlled lighting, it is important to “let the light define the form.” For landscape, natural lighting is used to capture the image. She works in oils and pastels and has exhibited both nationally and in the Maryland and Florida areas. She has won numerous awards for her work.

A fascination for faces and personalities, developed through years of caricature, provide inspiration for portraits and figurative paintings. Mary currently paints and teaches Portrait, and Pastel in Ft Myers and at BIG ARTS on Sanibel Island.

Please visit Mary’s website if you are interested in seeing more of her work.

2nd Place (Photography & Digital) – Nicholas Kozis – “Shannon #1” – digital

2nd Place (Photography & Digital) Nicholas KozisIn this body of work, I’ve tried to depict the figure in various environments. These paintings are a synthesis of real and imagined locations. The dichotomy of natural against the imagined is of particular interest to me. Both of these oppositions can complement and contrast with one another to produce the paintings. The method is a mixture of mediums from my several sources to create the art. Please enjoy.

Please visit Nick’s website if you are interested in seeing more of his work.

2nd Place (3 Dimensional) – Xiaobing Li – “Peaks – Picasso, Van Gogh, Dali” – bronze sculpture

Chinese artist, Li Xiaobing, was born in 1969. He is a member of the Chinese Artists Association, member of the Chinese Sculpture Society, member of the Sculpture Art Committee of the Yunnan Artists Association, professor of the Academy of Fine Arts of Yuxi Normal University, and tutor of master’s degree students of the Academy of Fine Arts of Yunnan University of the Arts. “Xingyu Cultural Master” in Yuxi City.

He graduated from Yunnan Art College in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree. In 2001, he completed the postgraduate class of the Sculpture Department of Tsinghua Academy of Fine Arts. He was also a Visiting scholar in the Sculpture Department of Tsinghua Academy of Fine Arts in 2006.

Xiaobing Li can be reached via his email.

3rd Place (Traditional) – Richard William Barnett – “Screamy Sunday” – oil on panel

Richard Barnett was born in Alexandria Virginia on August 16, 1962 and now resides in Thousand Oaks CA. Like many young boys of his generation Richard’s first artistic influences came from the figures and depictions of movement found in comic books, but exposure to the color, light and brushstrokes, found in the paintings of the Impressionists, showed him a new world. His vision was further altered through exposure to the figures of John Singer Sargent, inspiring him to pursue something that might link these influences.

Richard’s formal education in painting took place at Roanoke College in Salem Virginia, and the School of Visual Arts in NYC, and his work has been shown in galleries in Maine, Virginia and California. Currently he is showing in the members’ gallery of Studio Channel Islands in Camarillo CA.

Richard now embraces a fairly simple, yet infinitely complex goal, exploring the figure in all its diversity. A fitting pursuit for one lifetime.

To see more of Richard’s work, please visit his website.

3rd Place (Photography & Digital) – John Diephouse – “Capitol Profile” – photography

3rd Place (Photography & Digital) John DiephouseMr. Diephouse is a primarily self-taught photographer who migrated to digital photography about fifteen years ago. This transition marked a qualitative shift in both his interest level and satisfaction with the results, due to the advantages of digital over traditional film photography. The ability to take a large volume of images without the expense of film and the ease of edits in the “digital darkroom” has encouraged John to experiment and expand his skills significantly. After retiring from a professional management career, Mr. Diephouse has taken advantage of his time in retirement to more fully explore the technical and creative sides of this media more fully.

At this point in his development, John seeks to share images with which he has a strong and instinctive personal connection. Images may be simply documentary, invoke a sense of time and place, or resonate as an abstract blend of color, shape or form. Others provoke an indefinable question that does not readily yield answers without further study and reflection.

His creative process follows an intuitive yet patterned path, from capturing a digital image through the process of interacting with and refining the image, searching for the combination of elements that produces an instinctive but undeniable connection. Most often, the images that provoke the strongest connection are those that do not produce an immediate reaction but provoke a response through repeated contact and consideration over time.

Mr. Diephouse has exhibited widely in local and regional exhibitions and been published in Nature Photographer and Black & White Magazine. His photographs have won over 75 commendations for merit ranging from Honorable Mention to Best in Show. John’s photographs were also selected to hang in the Michigan Governor’s Mansion as part of a yearlong exhibition highlighting the State of Michigan.

John can be reached via his email

3rd Place (3 Dimensional) – Douglas Aja – “Morning’s Chill” – bronze

“Morning’s Chill” is a portrait of Patrick Koyati, a Maasai friend I hike with in the Loita Hills in southwestern Kenya. The inspiration for this piece came one cool morning when I noticed Patrick standing by the campfire wrapped in his Shuka. He doesn’t usually carry a spear, but I thought adding it would help complete the piece.

To see more of Doug’s work, please visit his website.


4th Place (Traditional) – Ramandip Singh – “Bebe Ji” – oil on canvas

4th Place (Traditional) Ramandip SinghRamandip Singh is a working artist and educator living in the Washington, D.C. area. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014 with a dual degree in Art Education and Communication Arts. Both of those degrees have helped him to create a life based around his painting. Singh has been teaching art to middle school students since graduating and started his own painting business in 2017 (art of raman, LLC). The paintings Singh creates are inspired by many travels (mainly to his homeland of India), personal relationships, and carefully selected experiences. India, portraiture, and cityscapes of Washington, D.C. and New York City are some of his favorite subjects to convey. Notable influences include Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Jeremy Mann.

To see more of Ramandip’s work, please visit his website.

4th Place (Photography & Digital) – Sheri Emerson – “Nonconformity” – photography/digital art print

4th Place (Photography & Digital) Sheri EmersonSheri has been a photographer her entire life, from a child snapping pictures with her 110 camera, to her first SLR, and finally into the digital world. She also has been an artist her entire life, winning her first art competition at the grand old age of five.

In the past few years, she has intensively studied both Photoshop and Lightroom to learn how to enhance her photography and turn it into digital art. She has been published in “Living the Photo Artistic Life” magazine, “Photoshop Creative UK” magazine, “Conceptual Images” magazine, “A5 Magazine”, “Magazine GSP Digital”, and “Fine Eye Magazine” for fine art photography.

Sheri was recently named a finalist in the Photographer’s Forum 38th Annual Spring Photography Competition and was one of 40 artists selected to participate in a yearlong exhibition celebrating ACLU of Arizona’s 60th Anniversary. She has placed in the top ten in ten Light, Space & Time Online Art Gallery exhibition, has received several “Best in Show” awards, placed second in the SINWP “Creatures Great and Small” competition and earned a Gold Award in their member competitions, has earned two Best in Shows and won a Solo Artist Showcase on Fusion Art. Sheri has also been exhibited at galleries in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona and Greece.

Sheri splits her time between Arizona and Labrador, Canada, and is dedicating herself to pushing her photography and digital art even further.

To see more of Sheri’s work, please visit her website.

4th Place (3 Dimensional) – Tony Gangitano – “Sinewy Seduction” – chromed bronze

Biography: Tony received a Bachelor’s of Landscape Architecture (University of Georgia). He practiced in New York City and traveled extensively prior to moving to San Diego, CA. Independent Art Study in many countries led Tony to Italy, where he worked as a sculptor for two years. He was employed by Sculptor Alberto Ricci in Rome, performed internships / independent study of stone carving at Studio Sem and bronze casting at Tommasi Foundry, both in Pietra Santa, Italy.

Upon returning to San Diego, he pursued a Masters of Art (SDSU). There carving stone and casting bronze took a back seat to less traditional materials, which he incorporated into more conceptual sculptures and site-specific installations.

Tony’s work has been exhibited in group shows, and featured artist shows in Europe and the United States. He is a creative, high energy, conceptually oriented Mixed Media Artist. His current work is fresh and exciting, incorporating thoughtful concepts and new materials.

Artist Statement: Fine Art is my first language. I was fortunate to be raised by a father, and grandfathers who were artist and creative craftsman, and a mother who excused my inherent eccentric behavior by saying in a Brooklyn accent, “Its ok…. he’s and Aaarrrtthhhist” .

My work is about the integration of aesthetic form and emotional and intellectual content. The evolution of my art has progressed on confluent paths. Traditional figurative merged with abstract style in Stone, Bronze, Resin, Foam and often incorporating re-purposed mixed media elements. I employ archetypal images that communicate the essential commonalities of our human condition and experience. These images, combined with the juxtaposition and dialog created between figures, shapes, and materials, are aimed to provoke visual, visceral, and intellectual interaction with the viewer.

To see more of Tony’s work, please visit his website

Eric Li graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (UIUC) with a Master of Science degree and currently lives in Houston, Texas. He is a member of Oil Painters of America and Portrait Society of America. His works have participated in many national and local art exhibitions. Many of his works have been privately collected.

Eric can be reached via his email.


5th Place (Photography & Digital) – Merrilee Soberg – “Keeper of Dragons” – digital art

5th Place (Photography & Digital) Merrilee SobergAfter retiring from a successful career as a professional potter, Merrilee turned to photography and digital art to fill the creative void. She honed her digital art skills in Sebastian Michael’s Photoshop Artistry online courses. As a result, she has been published in numerous editions of “Living the Photoartistic Life” magazine and was featured in the February 2020 edition.

Many of the photos used in Merrilee’s compositions were taken at home on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada or during her world travels. She is passionate about photographing wildlife in their natural habitat. Since Merrilee lives at the edge of wetlands, other elements of nature often find their way into her artistic creations.

These photos combined with digital painting are the building blocks used to create inspired, unique works of art that can be beautiful, intriguing, moving and at times thought provoking. She focuses on the resilience, strength and connectedness of the human spirit. Nature and the human form……what a magical combination to work with!

To see more of Merilee’s work, please visit her website.

5th Place (3 Dimensional) – K R Nariman – “Untitled” – bronze

K R Nariman was born in New Delhi, India where she currently resides. She is a graduate with a Masters of Fine Arts degree (MFA) from University of Arts, London. Her artistic inspiration comes from her learnings at the studio of K.S. Radhakrishnan where she spent three years honing her casting skills before completing her masters from London.

K R Nariman’s research is preoccupied by human activity that harms and destroys the planets biodiversity. Her sculptures hope to impact the viewer of the pressing issue of today which is environmental change, and how we as human beings can directly or indirectly damage our surroundings and ourselves.

She has been awarded the ‘Special Award 2019’ by Delhi Minorities Commission, Government of NCT Delhi. She has also been nominated for Wildlife Artist of the Year 2019, shortlisted for the Clifford Chance Sculpture Award and been awarded fourth place for 3 Dimensional award at the 9th All Women Art Exhibition, Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery 2020. She has been a part of a number of group shows in London. Her hope is to extend knowledge on conservation efforts that will ultimately lead people towards lifestyle changes so that a healthy habitat is secured for future generations.

To see more of KR’s work, please visit her website.


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