The Art Renewal Center (ARC) has long established a reputation for providing a platform to showcase and support the very best in contemporary realism. With 789 finalists and over 2,500 entries, the ARC has announced its 2014/15 Salon winners. The winning works will be on view beginning next week at the Salmagundi Club.
The magnificent Salmagundi Club — one of the oldest artist clubs in America — will, beginning next week, feature the award-winning selections from the Art Renewal Center’s annual International Salon. The works on view have just returned from the European Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona, Spain, where they were exhibited alongside winners of the 2015 Figurativas competition. As suggested by the ARC, “The combining of these two shows was a historic event for the representational art movement of Post Contemporary Art, and constituted one of the largest collaborative shows on contemporary realism in the Western world.”

Nicholas O’Leary, “Departing Bodies,” 2014, oil on canvas, 61 x 39 in. (c) ARC 2016

In addition to showcasing a number of world-class representational paintings from January 18 through February 4, the exhibition will be paired with a number of outstanding educational events, including a captivating lecture by ARC Chairman Frederick C. Ross on January 20 and an “Artist Meet & Greet” on January 23. “In addition,” the ARC states, “The Da Vinci Initiative, an ARC-affiliated non-profit that seeks to bring skill-based art techniques into K-12 classrooms, will be holding several educational events in January. Of particular interest is The Da Vinci Initiative artist demonstration using skill-based techniques and the special forum for high school teachers and students about the atelier training method.” General admission tickets are available via the ARC Store for $15. Other events require additional fees.

Kamille Corry, “Scorched Wing,” 2013, oil on linen, 32 x 26 in. (c) ARC 2016

Julio Reyes, “Firestarter,” 2014, oil on panel, 25 x 60 in. (c) ARC 2016

Awards for the Salon come in a variety of ways, including Honorable Mention, Finalists, Winners, and Additional Awards. The ARC states, “Due to the large number of entries, this year the International ARC Salon had eight judges divided among the seven categories, four judges per category.” Totaling over $160,000, 10 purchase awards were given in addition to over $47,000 in cash prizes, including a Streamline Art Video Award, valued at $25,000, awarded to Cesar Santos.

Katsu Nakajima, “Incarnation,” 2013, oil and gold leaf on canvas, 64 x 64 in. (c) ARC 2016

Taking top honors and “Best in Show” was Arantzazu Martinez’s “Absolute Trust — Sleeping Beauty.” This monumental work of unimaginable talent and skill measures 90 1/2 x 51 inches and displays an enthroned female subject sleeping, clad in a beautifully rendered and vibrant red dress. The picture conveys an astonishing level of both stillness and movement. Fluttering and darting around the subject are 11 white doves, rendered in various states of flight and rest. A gorgeous and dominating presence perches atop the subject’s black throne — a glaring owl whose gaze meets ours. Nicholas O’Leary’s “Departing Bodies” was honored with the Bouguereau Award and was competitive for Best in Show. The ARC writes, “This atmospheric painting with hundreds of bodies utilizes a successful compositional complexity similar to Bouguereau’s 1902 painting of ‘Les Oreades.’”

Daniel Gerhartz, “When Hope Comes,” 2014, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 in. (c) ARC 2016

Donato Giancola, “Forging the Iron Throne,” 2014, oil on panel, 30 x 30 in. (c) ARC 2016

Kamille Corry took home first place in the Figurative Category for her “Scorched Wing” while Julio Reyes’ “Firestarter” and Katsu Nakajima’s “Incarnation” were given second and third place, respectively. Within the category of Imaginative Realism, Daniel Gerhartz was honored with the top prize for his “When Hope Comes.” Rounding out second and third place were Donato Giancola’s “Forging the Iron Throne” and Heather Theurer’s “Triumph.”

Heather Theurer, “Triumph,” 2014, oil on board, 84 x 42 in. (c) ARC 2016

To view the full list of award winners for the 2014/15 competition, visit the Art Renewal Center.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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