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Boerne woman wins artist award

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    The pictured pieces of art were the trio submitted by Boerne resident Victoria Gonzalez, who was named the winning artist in the 2020 Texas National Competition and Exhibition at Stephen F. Austin University. Photos courtesy of Victoria Gonzalez
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    Victoria Gonzalez

Boerne resident Victoria Gonzalez has been named the winning artist in the 2020 Texas National Competition and Exhibition at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches.

The exhibition was open to all artists working in the United States. Works may be of any medium – including photography, painting, sculpture and mixed media – and must be original and completed within the last two years.

Annette Lawrence, professor of studio art in the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas, judged the entries with video assistance.

“Our juror for this year’s Texas National has taken a slightly different approach in making awards,” said John Handley, director of SFA galleries. “Rather than choosing individual works of art, she chose instead to make the awards to individual artists who have pieces in the exhibition – a nice switch, I think.”

After Gonzalez and her family moved to Boerne while she was in high school, she graduated from Cornerstone Christian School in San Antonio in 2015. She is a 2019 graduate of Baylor University and earned a bachelor of fine arts degree. She currently is a graduate student at the University of North Texas pursuing a masters of fine arts degree in painting and drawing.

“My paintings combine personal memories and feelings of the natural world with the automatic physical function of calligraphic mark making,” she said about her work in general. “They utilize color to explore and meditate energy and space through paint. The colors chosen are often vibrant and sometimes appear unusual when placed next to one another. They contrast between moments of tension and tranquility.

“When viewed as a whole, the colors form a dynamic image through their relationships with one another. The flat passages of color challenge the idea of space by combining, pushing, and pulling the expanse. The resulting image creates an abstracted space that better expresses my feelings and recollections of the environment.

This is the 26th year of the competition and exhibition. The announcement of winners was made earlier this month on the SFA School of Art website, which also features a short walk-through video of this year’s exhibition in The Cole Art Center at the Old Opera House, SFA’s historic downtown art gallery.

The School of Art’s annual juried competition and exhibition attracts entrants from across the United States, providing artists an opportunity to have their work juried by highly acclaimed curators and critics, Director of SFA Galleries John Handley said. This year, there were more than 750 entries, and Lawrence selected her top 60 to be included in the exhibition at Stephen F. Austin.

Of the 60, six were chosen to receive top awards and Gonzalez was selected as the winner.

“Three of my paintings were selected for the exhibition,” Gonzalez told The Star. “My work combines personal memories of landscape with an imagined space to create a reimagined landscape. I am interested in combining the physical with the intangible.

“The paintings in the exhibition explore new ideas that I have been experimenting with in my first year of graduate school at UNT. I am extremely grateful to receive this award. It was a pleasant surprise, and it encourages me to continue painting and trying new things.”

Although the Cole Art Center currently is closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals may virtually view all of the artwork and the winning entries through June 16.

The exhibition is in video format that will be posted on the SFA School of Art Facebook page at SFA Art Galleries & Cole Art Center and website at art.sfasu.edu or on Facebook.

The second-place artist is Chelsie Murfee of Nixa, Missouri, and third place went to Linda Reymore of Stuart, Florida. Honorable mention awards were presented to Mick Burson of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Amy Broderick of Jupiter, Florida; and Richard Parker of Pasadena, California.

For more information about the exhibition, call 936-468-1131.

The Juror

Lawrence’s work has been widely exhibited and is held in museums and private collections, including The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, The Dallas Museum of Art, The Rachofsky Collection, ArtPace Center for Contemporary Art, Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, American Airlines and the Art Collection of the Dallas Cowboys.

She received a 2018 Mac-Dowell Fellowship, the 2015 Moss/Chumley Award from the Meadows Museum and the 2009 Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Award from the Dallas Museum of Art. Her work was included in the 1997 Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

She is an alumnus of the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Skowhegan School. She received a bachelor of fine arts degree from The Hartford Art School and a masters in fine arts degree from The Maryland Institute College of Art.

Originally from New York, Lawrence lives and works in Denton, Texas, and is a professor of studio art in the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas.