7th Annual Artist’s Choice Best in Show Winners – January 2022

Visit the 7th Annual Artist’s Choice Art Exhibition HERE.

Best in Show (Traditional) – Krista Oremus – “Favored Steed” – colored pencil

1st-BIS-45-trad.-Krista-Oremus-Favored-Steed-.bKrista Oremus is a self-taught color pencil and graphite artist. She enjoys challenging herself with each piece, choosing subjects with complicated textures or reflections. Her passion in art began at the tender age of 3, when her parents put a paintbrush in her hand and let her paint the walls in her room. When she was 16 she painted a mural of a unicorn on her wall that is still preserved in the house where she grew up.

She stepped away from actively creating pieces for some years, as adult life demands took all her time. Her heart has led her back where she belongs, and now she doesn’t go a day without picking up a pencil to create something even if only a quick sketch or doodle. Krista is continuously looking for ways to improve her techniques and is currently studying with Bonny Snowdon Ignite Academy.

She is exploring fur techniques as well as dipping her toe into the world of abstract art and even surrealism. She finds that creating abstracts and neurographic art is very cathartic and meditative. Florals and still life pieces offer her a change from fur strokes and offer their own challenges.

Color pencils have come a long way since she was a child, and Krista takes full advantage of using superior quality color pencils in her art such as Faber Castell Polychromos, Caran D’Ache Luminance and Derwent Lightfast pencils. Each piece is painstakingly burnished using traditional color pencil techniques instead of using solvents.

Krista’s website is https://kristaoremus.com

Best in Show (Photography & Digital) – Gareth Jones – “Peering through the Keyhole – My Life changed forever” – digital art image

1st-BIS-47-dp.-Gareth-Jones-Peering-through-the-Keyhole-My-Life-changed-forever-.cPhotography/digital art are Gareth’s artistic expressions. Art has been his way to bring his imagination, vision and inquisitive mind to visual life by exploring abstracts or unique perspectives in both colour and monochrome created from his original photographs or digital art.

Gareth wants to balance life. He attempts to give people a breather from the stress of today’s world. This is not to say he doesn’t bring difficult issues into his art – but Gareth is convinced that balance is the critical issue, especially as for most our worlds are not in balance. Gareth sees the world with all its wonders and creations, big and small and then he puts his take on it, that’s his gift – a moment to create whatever the image calls up in you.

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

Best in Show (3 Dimensional) – Karen Russo – “What Came Before” – stoneware, underglaze, casein, acrylic

1st-BIS-4-3d.-Karen-Russo-What-Came-Before-.bKaren Russo is a figurative ceramic sculptor who lives and works in the lush green foothills of 
western Oregon. She chooses clay as her primary medium because of its malleability, capacity for transformation, and direct connection to the earth.

Over the years, Karen has developed and honed a unique method of layering materials, textures, and color that lends her work a rich, organic quality. Beginning with stoneware or earthenware clay, she hand builds each sculpture from coil, slabs, or a solid mass of clay. The figure is then cut into multiple sections, hollowed, compressed, and then reassembled. Karen carves patterns and textures into the clay before it undergoes a slow bisque fire that can last up to a week. She then uses underglazes, clay paint, casein, acrylic, wax, or a combination thereof to lay imagery onto each figure’s singular surface. Her color palette echoes the places that inspire her; from the ocean to the forests, the desert to the mountains, of the extraordinary Pacific Northwest.

The resulting sculptures depict women that seem to originate from numerous different eras and geographical origins, but all of which explore the tensions of the feminine experience: strength and contemplation, youth and aging, joy and grief, instability and equilibrium, hope and despair. Through these maternal archetypes, so evocative of the precious earth from which they were formed, Karen hopes to express an eternal optimism for the human spirit in this beautiful, and turbulent world.

“Responding to a world out of balance, I seek love and compassion, a counterbalance to hate and violence. Clay is my balm to heal, comfort and soothe. May my sculptures illuminate hope, infinite possibilities and wonder.”

Karen received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of California Santa Cruz in 1982. From 1986 to 1987 she studied under Paul Buckner at the University of Oregon MFA Program, with a concentration in Figure Sculpture. She has since furthered her studies with renowned sculptors Beth Cavener, Adrian Arleo, Alessandro Gallo, and Cristina Cordova.

You can view more of Karen’s sculptures by visiting her website: www.karenrusso.studio


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