Juror's Notes - The Outsider

The theme ‘Outsiders’ has lead to a rich diversity of submissions. Some chose a social perspective in which the outsider was ascribed to roles as drag queen, an old man, a zebra on a car assembly line, a typewriter and an unconventionally fat body. Others chose a more personal perspective, in which the artwork, consciously or unconsciously, gave expression to the artists role as outsider. Sometimes this became clear from the added statement of the artist.

We took a lot of pleasure in the use some artists made of translate machines. Language is a barrier that can push someone in an outsiders role. In one of the added statements, we read this translation: ‘I am a stranger citrus and childhood are not me.’ This is the shortest and most poetic verbal summary of the theme.

In our choices we valued the way artists gave expression to the theme, as well as the beauty and eloquence of the image. Below, you’ll find the motivation behind our choices. Although all of the works speak loud and clearly for themselves, we like to share the way they touched and inspired us.

Prizes
First place: Boaz Miller - Sin City
Boaz Miller gave us a hard time with several excellent submissions. We chose Sin City as the image that charmed us most: a collage that in its variety and repeating rhythm of colour and form constitutes a powerful whole. It evokes associations with works of Paul Klee and Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

The collage is rich in detail: declined back walls of houses, barred windows, trash, graffiti. Instead of humans being the outsider, this role is ascribed to the garbage, dirt, commercial and political spam. The graffiti that turns up three times, is a well known religious yell: a call to return to tradition. Next to it, painted women pose as in a peep show. The poster with a white house that we see again and again is an advertisement for cottage cheese. In Israel, this became a symbol of protest against rising food prices that affect the outsiders of the economy. The walls, bars and fences symbolise the process of inclusion and exclusion that is fuelled by economic, social and religious differences amongst people.

The collage is full and heaped up from one extreme to another extreme, yet moulding into a miraculously beautiful unity. Sin City shows the many faces of outsiders in our world, the tensions between them, and reality stating that these
extremes shape each other and are part of one whole.

Second place: Yael Avni Eshchar - Come in We're Open
The words are welcoming: come in, we’re open. The girl calls. Everything else about this work gives another impression. The dripping red and blue, the ominously dark sky, the way the two persons inside are looking. On further consideration, the girl looks frightened, while the boy is fascinating in his inscrutability. What are they looking at? To us? What does that make us?
A drama is present that we are unable to see. An intriguing image.

Third place: Edward Burns - Reliquary 1
A few pebble stones, some steel wire, and Sean Edward Burns conjures up a figure. The use of material turns this work into an outsider amongst our favourites. Reliquary 1, says the title, as if the artist turned stones into a shrine for a caved spirit. As Burns wrote in his statement: ‘the steel appears to be constricting the figures when it is actually holding their form together.’ This is
how it must feel for this other outsider, the psychiatric patient: held together by what constricts him.

Honorable Mentions

Nirit OvadiaThe End
The jury has examined this work rigorously. We confirm Nirit Ovadia has actually used her pencil to photographically represent every wrinkle, vessel and hair of her grandfather. One sees the shirt is not nearly worn out. We bow to the patience, the eye for detail and the sublime technique of this master.

Lourie Fitzgerald - Odd Bird
An odd bird, this sweet handicraft situated outside the weighty mainstream of modern art. An honorable mention as it warmly fits into the theme: how an odd bird does not confirm to the standard, and finds his dreams by following his heart. In the small print, we found a quote of Joanne Harris:‘She always had that about her, that look of otherness, of eyes that see things much too far, and of thoughts that wander off the edge of the world.’ The sunniest perspective of our submissions.

Sandra Lee - 9 the Whole Egg
An honorable mention for this painting by Sandra Lee, which expresses her personal transformation process. She withdrew from the conventional, material world, she writes, to end up in a shamanistic retreat. We see raw passion and dynamics set free of form.

Encore
We awarded six different artists with three prizes and three honorable mentions.  However, as a jury, we like to draw some more attention to two of the winners. Boaz Miller and Yael Avni Eshchar stood out in submitting more than one work of high standard that connected to the theme of ‘the outsider’.

Yael Avni EshcharMe
Wonderfully painted self portrait of a woman with a proud but dreamy look. Or do we see loneliness in her eyes, grimness about her mouth? This intense portrait serves as a mirror. The artist writes that her work expresses the feeling to be different. A vulnerable feeling, familiar to every human. The butterflies,
despite their fluttering lightness, possess an ominous darkness, like a kiss of death. A stirring portrait of an outsider.

Boaz Miller - Illegals Will be Removed
Another beautiful collage of Boaz Miller in which colours and forms shape into a smooth unity. The traffic sign says: Private parking / Illegal cars will be removed. The words ‘parking’ and ‘cars’ are scratched out. The sign now says: Privat / Illegals will be removed. The context in Israel is comparable to the Netherlands and the United States: a fierce debate on who’s allowed access to society and who is not, and detention and removal of illegals.

The collage expresses this reality. Bars and fences symbolize inclusion and exclusion. However, rust reveals a slow dynamic: windows are smashed and remain unrepaired, old canvases hang in front of other windows, a stuffed balcony and a clothesline point to new use of old fringes. We are looking at the rear side of time.

Boaz Miller - Face of the State
Blinded, muted – a piercing and powerful protest.

- André Meeusen and Suzanne van Zutphen