7th Annual Black & White Monthly Winning Artists – March 2023

The top five artists in each category were given awards in the 7th Annual Black & White 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 7th Annual Black & White Art 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 G. Miller – “BEHIND THE CURTAIN” – charcoal on paper

Maxwell G. Miller is an American contemporary realist artist working in the Dominican Republic. His artistic career began in the theatrical arts, where he became well known for specializing in large-scale theatrical puppetry. He served as director, artistic designer, and scenic artist for several theater organizations based in Cleveland, Ohio before pursuing visual art professionally in 2017.

After refining his technique and developing an interest in mythology and history painting, he relocated to Scranton, PA in 2020 to complete an apprenticeship with master artist Anthony Waichulis at the ÀNI Art Academy. Maxwell completed his apprenticeship in 2022 and now serves as the Dean of the ÀNI Art Academies Dominicana in Río San Juan, Dominican Republic, where he strives to cultivate a richer artistic community through artistic education. ​

Maxwell’s sense of theatricality has continued to influence his compositions and has developed into a portfolio of dramatic portraiture and dense still life with a focus on storytelling. His work has received international awards and recognition from leading art competitions and major arts publications including the Art Renewal Center, the National Art League, and the Artist’s Network. He is an affiliated artist of Lovetts Gallery in Tulsa, OK, and has works in private collections across the globe.

Behind the Curtain depicts the props and performance tools of a one-man circus act. This includes the artist’s own props from his time as a performer: juggling clubs and balls, fire-eating torches, a bullwhip, and playing cards set up for a favorite card trick.

To learn more about Maxwell and to see more of his work, please visit his website.

Best in Show (Photography & Digital) – Steve Stratis – “RIPPLED INK” – digital art

Many of the world’s marvels go unseen, whether due to the flow of time or being beyond our perception. Steve Stratis’ work centers around bypassing these limitations – giving the viewer a glimpse of how matter frozen in time and invisible phenomena may appear. Stratis fuses digital techniques such as 3D sculpting and VFX (visual effects) to apply a stylistic spin, resulting in a unique abstract-centric aesthetic. Steve aims to inspire a greater interest in physics and further appreciation for the many powers that shape our world.

To learn more about Steve and to see more of his art, please visit his Instagram.

2nd Place (Traditional) – Cher Pruys – “IMAGINE THAT” – acrylic on 300 lb hot press

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.

To learn more about Cher and to see more of her work, please visit her website.

2nd Place (Photography & Digital) – Tom Fournier-Park – “UNTITLED 3” – digital photography

Tom Fournier-Park is a Fine Art photographer based in Toronto Canada. He focuses on using contrast and composition to elevate the beauty of the City, as well as injecting a surrealist feel to his images by avoiding identity and emphasizing Cynicism through combining conceptual narratives which outline undercurrents that remain constant stressors that are ever prevalent and unseen. Examples include the aspects of deterioration, decay, transformation and the constant “Will to Force” that attempts to bring balance and stabilization back to normalization. In addition to this, he juxtaposes the cold unforgiving metropolitan city life with the warm Spirit of Nature and form beyond the banal isolation the populace feels on a day to day basis.

To learn more about Tom and to see more of his work, please visit his website.

3rd Place (Traditional) – Francesco Puliga – “TREASURE ISLAND” – mixed media

Francesco Puliga is an illustrator, comic artist and character designer. He had the passion for art since he was very young, and soon he realized that illustration was the best art form for expressing himself. For this reason, Francesco decided to study in two different Academies of Art in Italy and in the US.

During his studies, Francesco explored different art mediums and techniques. In fact, he had experience with traditional painting, sculpting, and printmaking. He works traditionally and digitally. In his artistic career, Francesco has created and published many comic books and illustrations. In this phase of his artistic career, he is working on an art project that depicts a series of abandoned places, vehicles and objects, from different parts of the world.

The artist wants to use these subjects for conveying a sense of mistery and interest. For achieving this goal, Francesco uses ordinary abandoned places reproduced with unusual texture and unnatural color light. The artwork is part of this art project. It is realized with a mix of traditional and digital techniques. The illustration was drawn by hand on paper, and inked traditionally with brushes and other tools. For the texture, Francesco used acrylic painting for the in a different paper or panel. The drawing and the acrylic paint are combined together with Photoshop, and overpainted digitally. Finally, the artist increased the value contrast with the digital software and added the final details.

To learn more about Francesco and to see more of his work, please visit his website.

3rd Place (Photography & Digital) – Cheryl L. Hrudka – “MOTHER’S HANDS” – silver gelatin print

Cheryl Hrudka has been a professional photographer for over twenty years. Like most new photographers, she initially embraced the assumed verisimilitude of the “out there”. But the dispassion of the camera and its mechanical (documentary) implications were tempered by a warmer vision. Cheryl’s earlier works are lyrical and whimsical. She shuns the concept of the intervening intelligence and invites the viewer into a direct and altogether personal relationship. Like the early masters of the medium, she assumed the role of a fundamentalist. The viewer need not be told what to think, he or she is gently reminded of a knowledge long since and intuitively held. Cheryl’s early work is an engraved invitation. You can return to her work again and again. Cheryl’s photographs become your friends.

“My recent work has evolved from “out there” to “in here”. Each of my new works take an increasing interest in the everyday objects that people see, but don’t really assimilate them as they walk by. The details of a leaf, the veins in a person’s hands, graffiti, or condensation on a window…these all have their own beauty and allow the viewer to participate as they interpret the image.”

To learn more about Cheryl and to see more of her work, please visit her website.         

4th Place (Traditional) – Mel Fiorentino – “UNTITLED” – oil on canvas

Influenced by many artists from the Renaissance to living artists today, Fiorentino’s work is focused on figurative work and portraiture. Starting out drawing and painting in her teens, she has always been drawn to art from the Renaissance and likes to incorporate the symbolism and deep meaning of existence within her work.

Mel has explored and stretched the boundaries of figurative painting, creating a highly diverse and distinctive body of work. She primarily works in oil and also mulls/mixes her own paint. Many of her works dabble within the realm of surrealism and realism, continuing to expand on the ideas she is representing within her work.

She now lives and paints in her studio in Florida and also teaches painting and techniques in painting with oils at NOMA Gallery. Realism and spirituality are what you can find in Mel’s recent work beginning with her “Celestial Symbiosis” Exhibition with collaborator photographer Ralph Demilio in 2021. Her next upcoming exhibition “Origin” is scheduled in 2023. As Co-Director at NOMA Gallery, she is focused on her work, education and bringing new artists from around the world in the gallery.

To learn more about Mel and her work, please visit her website.

4th Place (Photography & Digital) – A.D. Strange – “MADONNA OF THE SEA” – digital art

Aldous Huxley, the British writer, once wrote, “There are things known, and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” Adam Strange creates his digital photomontages in that space between the known and unknown. The space is made of the thin unreliability of memory and shards of lived experience, which are reconstructed into stark forms and landscapes, resulting in nuanced, disturbing and sensual images. The pieces are journeys from the purely aesthetic to a sacramental vision. There is a discordant beatific vision in the absence of colour, which engenders a lack of visual and emotional information. The removal of this content from the picture requires the viewer to confront a stark reality immediately. Light and shade, and blackness become the primary language for interpreting the image.

These are montages of realism. By turns, demanding, fearful, and disorienting. They are fit representations of the times we live in.

To learn more about A.D’s work and to see more of his work, please visit his website.

5th Place (Traditional) – Robert Greenlay – “STIMPY’S VIEW” – charcoal

Robert Greenlay is a self-taught emerging Artist. Although his preferred medium is charcoal, for the classic look and shading he achieves; he has also introduced some color in his pictures with the use of colored pencils, as well as soft pastels. Through his art he is able to express his inner feelings about the subject at hand; whether it is something that he finds special, or interesting; or if the subject is a beloved pet or special scene for someone else. His work is not limited to any particular subject, but rather what is interesting, whether it is landscape, portrait, object, or architecture. Robert’s talent lies in the ability to expose the beauty in the world around us, for all to see.

To learn more about Robert and to see more of his work, he can be reached via his Email.    

5th Place (Photography & Digital) – Sara Victoria Sandberg – “THE JAGUAR – ELEGANCE” – digital photo artistry

Sara Victoria Sandberg is an international award-winning photographic artist based in Stockholm. The skill in digital technique in combination with her own photography and vision enables Sara to create artwork full of imagination, beauty, and mystery.

Being an artist means for me bringing one’s artistic vision into everyday life. It means harnessing the moments of inspiration and creativity that are right in front of us but likewise trying to embrace all aspects of the process, both the artistic and technical aspect of photo artistry.

In my art I strive to go beyond the boundaries of the real world and to create imaginative scenes where animals are often the vehicle to shape a story. I strive for beauty and mystery combined. Mood and atmosphere are central to my images. I start in the real world only to transcend into the imagined.

To learn more about Sara and to see more of her work, please visit her website.


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