Studio B Fine Art Gallery, 39A East Philadelphia Ave., Boyertown, opens “Farm,” the studio’s 12th annual exhibit celebrating the area’s agricultural roots.
The exhibit opens Jan. 17 with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. and runs through Feb. 16. The exhibition and opening reception are free and open to the public.
The exhibit, fondly known among the gallery’s artists and patrons as “The Farm,” is the studio’s signature and most popular exhibit.
This year's juror is Karen Wright. Wright is a vigorous patron of the arts. Her remodeled 18th century FARMstead is loaded with a stately collection of delicately curated works reflecting Southeastern Pennsylvania’s local artists. The majority of the works demonstrate an agricultural influence. Karen’s fine sense of culture and love of creativity is reflected in her longstanding support of art and artists at Studio B and the Berks/Lehigh arts scene.
Cash prizes sponsored by Ingrid Weil of Ironhorse Realty, LLC, will be awarded on Friday night, including the coveted “Best in Show,” which nets the winner a cash prize as well as a featured spot during the agriculturally/environmentally-themed exhibit in 2021.
Featured artists in this year’s exhibit are Deborah Meehan, Albert Ciervo, and Karen Weber. Meehan was awarded the “Nature” prize for her landscape; Ciervo took an award for his depiction of cuts of meat in the category “Food,” and Weber’s whimsical donkey (adorned by a pig adorned by a bird) painting was awarded in the “Animal” category.
“We are always very excited to see what our artists bring to this show,” said Biebuyck. “They have wowed us with their innovation and fresh takes on the traditional subjects of agriculture and farming.”
Entries in all media are offered from artists in Berks County and beyond and over the years have revealed a broad spectrum of work, from sculpture to watercolor to linocuts to mixed media.
Studio B opened its doors during Boyertown’s December 2008 Holiday Open House Tour and welcomed hundreds of members of the community to its premiere exhibit. In January 2009, “The Farm” served as the studio’s first juried themed exhibit, has been staged annually as its most popular “signature” exhibit, and continues to “pack the house” at its opening.
Each year artists prepare to meet Biebuyck’s creative challenge on the theme. Fine artist and former art teacher Dave Larson was awarded “Best in Show” at the studio’s 2009 inaugural exhibit “The Farm” for an oil painting showcasing Oley’s “Sacred Oak.”
In January 2010 former junior high English teacher and area historian Bob Wood took Best in Show for his acrylic conceptual painting entitled "Stark Engine.”
In January 2011, Travis Trainer, was awarded “Best in Show” for his captivating painting of crows on a wooden fence entitled “Black Diamond.”
In January 2012, Barrie Maguire’s “Okie,” an oil painting of an ancient, rusted car, took Best in Show.
In January 2013, Carol Sumner’s painting “Summer,” a geometric presentation of the area’s farmsteads, was awarded top prize.
In January 2014, Joanne Schlosser’s “Hammy Tale,” a creative homemade book, was named Best in Show.
In January 2015, Bob Wood’s acrylic painting “Annie Weeding Lima Beans”—an iconic example of his farm and garden series—was selected for first place honors in the exhibit, titled “The Modern Farm.”
In January 2016, Biebuyck took the term “Cultivate” as the exhibit’s theme and invited Pottstown’s Art Fusion’s director as juror to “cultivate” the collaboration between the studios. Hilary Fraley was awarded Best in Show for her oil painting entitled “Corn.”
In 2017, the exhibit entitled “Agri-CULTURE” encouraged artists to respond to “culture,” the root of the word “agriculture” in their work. Jim Meehan was awarded Best in Show for his mixed media piece entitled “Stormy Weather.”
In 2018, the exhibit was titled “Farm/Earth.” Joanne Schlosser was awarded Best in Show in for her mixed media piece “No Chickens Allowed” which mocked suburban regulations forbidding ownership of pet chickens by presenting a doorway with a wild bird seated on top eating seeds provided by residents. Schlosser values the opportunity to provoke thought in the observer.
In 2019, the exhibit titled “Farm to Table” added food art to the exhibit’s focus highlighting gallery director Susan Biebuyck’s view that “in the end, it’s all about the food.” Three awards were given in 2019: “Nature,” “Food,” and “Animal.”
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