By Tara Bennett
Some of the most talented artists in Louisiana received awards at Forum 35’s 11th annual Art Melt on Friday, July 18, at the Capitol Park Museum. Winners were announced during the Preview Party in the museum where the exhibition will remain on display through August.
The pieces were judged by a panel of three jurors including the LSU Museum of Art curator Dr. Katie Pfohl, Contemporary Art Jacksonville curator Ben Thompson and co-owner and curator of the Leon Gallery in Denver, Colo., Eric Robert Dallimore. Over 500 pieces were entered into the show.
“Art Melt has always been good about finding new talent and promoting new talent,” said Art Melt Chairperson Sean McDonald. “It looks like we’ve gotten a great mix of talent this year.”
“It was a really wonderful chance for me as someone new to Louisiana to get a sensibility of work that’s being done by local artists,” said Dr. Katie Pfohl. “I have to say that I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of a lot of the works. It was a wonderful community show.”
Pfohl said that when given the task of jurying an exhibition, specific criteria she looks for in a work of art include: technical facility, conceptual framework of the piece and diversity of medium.
Taking home first place this year is Jacob Broussard of Carencro, La. for his oil on canvas piece “Passage.” Broussard received $2,000 as this year’s Best in Show winner.
“It was this really incredibly invocative piece that we felt really worked in between realist art and abstract art,” said Pfohl.
Second place and $1,000 was awarded to Bruce Schultz and Kevin Kline of Lafayette for their tintype piece “Prison Bouquet.”
“He was taking this old photography technique, the tintype, and created this invocative image that we felt like spoke to a lot of contemporary social concerns about the prison system and was also just masterfully executed,” said Pfohl. “I know a lot about these early photographic processes and to make a tintype on that level of scale is really remarkable.”
Third place and $500 was awarded to Patrick Tiek of Baton Rouge for his piece “Give Me Your Heart.”
“I was very surprised and shocked, I was not expecting it at all,” said Tiek. “When I got there, they had run out of artist tags, and I thought to myself, there is no way I won if I didn’t even get a tag. So, imagine my surprise when I placed third.”
Tiek primarily paints with acrylic on reclaimed wood pieces that he finds and builds into his wooded canvas. Each selected piece of wood is based on some interesting quality and character that it has whether it be shape, texture, color or old hardware on it.
“The piece was loosely inspired by a song by the band West Without called ‘Give Me Your Heart’ and painted during some hard times I was going through at the time I painted it, which is why it was my first black and white painting,” said Tiek.
“It was such a powerful and iconic image,” said Pfohl. “We thought it was graphically strong, and was a very innovative mix of media.”
Receiving Forum 35’s Art Melt Art Legend Award is Edward Pramuk. Pramuk is awarded in recognition and appreciation for the impact he and his work have make on the Louisiana art community and his continued public service to Louisiana. He taught painting, printmaking and design at LSU for 35 years and retired in 2000 with professor emeritus status. His work focuses on themes from nature and jazz, with several large paintings currently on view in the LSU Middleton Library, and an exhibition of 20 paintings featured at the Baton Rouge Area Foundation headquarters. Pramuk will formally accept the award at Viva il Vino on September 25.
Art Melt Winners
First place: Jacob Broussard for “Passage”
Second place: Bruce Shultz and Kevin Kline for “Prison Bouquet”
Third place: Patrick Tiek for “Give Me Your Heart”
Forum 35 Award: Mark Rabalais for “Picknickin’”
The Ann Connelly Fine Art Award: Joshua Chambers for “Apparently, My Shame is Harder to Stomach Than Yours”
The Art Melt Art Legend Award: Edward Pramuk
Katie Pfohl’s juror’s honorable mention: William Crowell for “Thursday Night in the Swamp Room”
Ben Thompson’s juror’s honorable mention: Julie Crews for “Mother and Daughter”
Eric Robert Dallimore’s juror’s honorable mention: Robert Fogel for “Meander”
The People’s Choice Award will be announced later this week after ballots are counted.