Reception honors art show winners

Published 6:00 pm Friday, October 14, 2011

The “Best-in-Show” winner of this year’sLincoln County Art Show is a familiar face.

    Roberto Bonilla took the top award for the third year in a row withhis painting “Just the Three of Us.” Bonilla is in his seventh yearteaching at the Mississippi School of the Arts.

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    Bonilla has never entered a piece of the same medium into thecompetition. His winner from last year was a sculpture. The yearbefore that, he received best in show with a drawing.

    Having now submitted a painting, Bonilla still plans to continueswitching things up.

    “I will have to submit a photograph next year,” Bonilla said.

    First-place winners in each category included Betsy Belk in watermedia, Maxine Minter in oil and acrylic, Kathleen Smith in pasteland drawing, Russell Christie for photography and Caroline Kluge in3D and mixed media.

    Best in show and first-place winners in each category receivedmonetary prizes. Second, third and honorable awards were selected,and those winners will receive an award.

    A late afternoon reception was held Thursday to award all the prizewinners of the local art competition. Those winners’ works, and allthe entries, will remain on display at the Lincoln County Library’sgallery until Oct. 29.

    At Thursday’s reception, a “People’s Choice Award” was also given,based on votes from gallery visitors. That award went to Kluge forher piece “T.L.C.”

    Except for the People’s Choice, Bob Pennebaker judged all theentries. Pennebaker is the chairman of the Visual Arts Departmentat Belhaven University.

    Kluge had high praise for Pennebaker and his judging process.

    “He went through everything very carefully,” Kluge said. “For everywinner he could explain to me why he did what he did.”

    Bonilla’s winning painting drew a lot of attention at thereception, with gallery visitors getting up close to check itout.

    The piece is an acrylic painting with some mixed media elements.Two canvas panels are set into a frame together and depict threehooded figures in total, two on one canvas, one on the other.Bonilla placed physical objects such as gauze on the canvas andpainted over them to create raised textures within thepainting.

    “It’s about being in or being out,” Bonilla said of the work andthe three figures

    Bonilla was working in new territory with the painting.

    “I’ve never used mixed media,” Bonilla said. “This is my first timeto use heavy textural elements.”

    Bonilla finished the work over the summer. He said the painting wascommissioned, but his students at MSA were able to benefit.

    “I worked on it as a demonstration in class,” he said.

    He painted the piece for a friend, who requested something withbiological elements. He incorporated several types of anatomicalstructures into the work, including a heart.

    This request combined well with Bonilla’s own interests.

    “I thought the heart was kind of cliché, but I love organicthings,” Bonilla said.