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ARA students and faculty shortlisted in 14th International ARC Salon Competition

We are thrilled to announce that 26 of our students, alumni, and faculty have been selected as finalists in the 14th International Art Renewal Center (ARC) Salon Competition, for a combined total of 35 shortlisted entries, including three honourable mentions and an award!

The ARC Salon is billed as the most prestigious realist art competition in the Americas and perhaps the world. In 2019, the ARC received over 4,300 entries from 73 countries, with only the top 35% being shortlisted as finalists. The competition offers over $100,000 in cash awards and international recognition through partnerships with prestigious magazines, galleries, museum exhibitions, and a strong online presence.

Voting is now open for People’s Choice! You can vote for up to 10 entries until July 8, 2019 here.

The full list of finalists has been released, and the winners have also been announced. Congratulations to all the artists! Keep scrolling to see the finalists and award winners from ARA.

Collections Magazine Award

Emanuela De Musis (ARA Boston faculty)
Catherine of Siena

Honourable Mention — Still Life Category

Jennifer Barolet

This painting created from life depicts a true definition of evolution, suggesting the evolution of an environment in which animals and plants live and die providing a space for new life. It is also symbolic of the evolution towards proficiency as a realist artist. This work incorporates multiple complex textures, colours, forms, and depth in an intense composition expressed realistically through the use of a culmination of fine art skills and techniques acquired during Barolet’s studies at the Academy of Realist Art, ultimately producing this final graduation piece.

Evolution has also been selected for the live exhibit of the ARC Salon, opening December 6, 2019 – February 2nd, 2020 in Barcelona’s European Museum of Modern Art (MEAM), and later traveling to Sotheby’s New York City July 17th– July 27th, 2020. The traveling collection can be previewed here.

Honourable Mention — Landscape Category

Denise Antaya (ARA alumna)

Along Mersea Road in Leamington, Ontario sits a farm with a weathered barn, overgrown weeds and a rutted driveway. The puddles reflecting the sky and trees were what drew Antaya in. The peace and solitude of the place spoke to her.

It was a place she could call home.

Honourable Mention — Fully from Life

Eric Johnson (ARA Boston faculty)
Ultramarine Madness

Finalists — Current ARA students

Susan Beaver

In this drawing, Beaver was inspired to capture the hypnotic luxury of water on a hot summer day.

Yvette Boulch-Laezza

Barbara Cufino
Inspiration from Antiquity

This still life is a symbolic narrative revealing a passion and joy for painting the figure, expressed by the exquisite cast which personifies classic beauty, grace and elegance. These themes are repeated by the rose and artist’s tools: the beauty in the reflective glow of the glass medium jar, the rich wood palette with jewels of pigment and the illuminated amber fan brush that mirrors the gesture of the cast. The cast, bathed in light and the only element in white, is silhouetted against the brilliant drapery and dark values around her. The figure’s placement of prominence on the worn book suggests a stage and is used for dramatic effect, further emphasized by subtle references to wings in the folds of the drapery.

Jean-Baptiste Chardin “Still Life with the Attributes of the
Arts”, 1766
Anne Vallayer-Coster “Attributes of Painting, Sculpture, and
Architecture”, 1769

Lois Hunter
Le Déjeuner après le Soleil

This piece was inspired by the feel of the summer’s brilliant heat and light in France: the vitality experienced in being out by the sea in the hustle and tumult, juxtaposed with the muffled quiet cool of coming indoors for a repose of fresh baguette, roquefort, fruit, and coffee.

Lois Hunter
Officer’s Mess

This piece was inspired by Hunter’s husband’s love of sailing and his forever reading the history of others who share his passion for all things nautical. In it, she’s imagining the late 1700’s Napoleonic Era’s magnificent Man o’War with lanterns burning late into the night in the stern over scrutinized chart tables and hastily eaten meals.

Maryna Nemynushcha
Kind Eyes

Marlene Peltoniemi

Life is precious and incredibly fragile. This becomes hauntingly apparent when you deal with the death of those close to you. Adieu attempts to honour two beautiful dear souls who died too soon. The objects in the composition were chosen in the tradition of “Vanitas” paintings, to convey the notion of the brevity and fragility of life. Around the world butterflies are recognized as symbols of change, hope, endurance and life. In Christian cultures they are symbols of the resurrection. These two delicately beautiful butterflies are transformed from their physical being to live on in Peltoniemi’s heart and mind.

Melina Scime

The creation and development of this piece was conceptualized as an homage to Scime’s family roots. Growing up in an Italian home, the core of her childhood was strongly punctuated by Sicilian traditions, foods, customs and a deep rooted sense of family and faith. For this piece, she selected objects and images that symbolically represented elements of childhood memories that continue to bind and sustain her. 

It’s this bond that inspired her homage to “Famiglia.” 

Anita Van Zeumeren
Rising Hope

Birds speak to Van Zeumeren of rising hope, beauty and grace, all of which she has experienced with First Nations. She has also witnessed the terrible legacy of colonial policy, ignored treaties and broken promises.

This painting holds these two overlapping narratives although at times the despair seems to overwhelm the hope as seen in the difference of perspective in the painting. As a settler, (represented by the European Goldfinch) it is Van Zeumeren’s hope to be part of the healing process by listening and learning. The other birds in the painting are a few of the diverse species native to North America, much like the First Nations of Turtle Island whose lands and peoples are as diverse and as immensely beautiful.

Van Zeumeren had an opportunity to learn from different Indigenous knowledge keepers, and each time hope rises higher as she sees colourless despair fade to brilliant colours through the depth and beauty of their culture.

Bernadica Veselic
Complementary Contrast

Working through complementary contrast challenge, the most intriguing element was to keep the best part of the dramatic atmosphere and let the light blend in, creating a gentle veil of mystery while enhancing the beauty of the form and bright bold colours without being visually overwhelming.

Bernadica Veselic
One Thousand Blessings

This still life illustrates the story of humble monk who had a great talent and passion for calligraphy writing and often would write for poets of his time. The legend says that in difficult and poor times he would plant banana plants so he can later write on their leaves.

Finalists — Past ARA students and alumni

Nancy Calder
The Twins

Marc Duquette
Cheating at Solitaire

The inspiration and title for this piece came from a song of the same name. Cheating at Solitaire was written by Mike Ness of Punk band Social Distortion. The song discusses an older man looking back at some of the trials, missteps, and bad decisions of his youth. The selfish choices he made with alcohol, drugs, and “love” ultimately led to his lonely unhappiness. The last line of the song sings, “In the end you’ll always lose… at the game, For I cheated myself at solitaire.”  Duquette aimed to give a sense of emptiness and aloneness in the scene. While the painting is autobiographical, it is not a self portrait.

Marc Duquette
David Franczyk, Common Council President

This is the official portrait of Councilman David Franczyk. As with all past Common Council Presidents for the City of Buffalo, Duquette’s piece hangs in Council Chambers in City Hall. David is an art history fan and leader in the local Polish-American community. The pose and lighting for the painting were inspired by Rembrandt’s painting, “Man in a Polish Costume.” The painting is now in the permanent collection of the City of Buffalo, NY.

Joseph Ferrant
Memento Mori

Katie Melanson
The Mysterious Rider

Recognition of the tireless work ethic and values of the hardworking West and its enduring impact was the inspiration for this painting. Landing on the name took a long time. Melanson spent hours searching for inspiration before finding “The Mysterious Rider” — the title of a book by Zane Grey. When reading reviews of this book, she knew this title was right when she came across these words:

“All human beings have a significant affect on each person to whom they associate. The importance of the Rider’s role in this novel is ultimately how he relates to each character and influences their destiny in his brief time with them.”

The concept is an enduring and powerful one: in our own ways we all are mysterious riders. Every person has the power to influence and affect the people around us. 

Leslie Morgan

Milixa Moron
The Red Vase

Sandra Murphy
Classical Treasures

Classical Treasures is a loving homage to Murphy’s mother. The daughter of a farmer, she was born with a green thumb and her many African Violets flowered profusely. She loved classical music, pearls and did beautiful needlework. It actually wasn’t until the painting was completed that Murphy realized what she had done in incorporating all these elements into her painting. She regrets her mother is no longer here to see it.

Olaf Schneider (workshop participant)
Jacob’s Flute

Linda Scott-Harris
A Dog Named Oozie

Brenda St Hilaire

This painting depicts St Hilaire’s granddaughter Emilie (age 9). This past Christmas, they attended a performance of The Nutcracker ballet, to which Emilie wore a coat and hat St Hilaire had sewn for her. She was very proud to wear it, yet at the same time, she was quite shy when photos were taken of her in it — hence the downcast eyes!

Matthew Tarini
EmmanuelMan Explaining
Rabbit Skeleton
Sisyphean Task

Kari Visscher (workshop participant)

This piece depicts an important moment in a young breast cancer thriver’s journey where she has completed months of chemotherapy, is in remission, and can have the device that was surgically implanted into her chest to administer the chemotherapy medications finally removed. The procedure done by two Interventional Radiologists marks the end of a time of pain and chaos, and ushers in a time of healing and peace — the new normal.

Finalists — ARA faculty

Julie Beck (ARA Boston)
Creation of Eve

Julie Beck (ARA Boston)
Duck and Color

Eric Johnson (ARA Boston)
The Story of We