Peace #3: Mix media artwork takes top prize at this year’s Mazin exhibition

Peace #3, made from found wood from the Ohio River, was the big winner at this year’s Mazin Art Exhibition at The J’s Patio Gallery. (Community photo by Jessica Budnick)

Mary Russell Wight-Waltman sent a message with her mixed media artwork Peace, and the judge at this year’s Mazin Art Exhibition received it.
“I feel like it has a cognitive piece of contemplation with the name of Peace, on a spiritual level, as well, with the ideal of peace,” said Shawna Dellecave, the judge for this year’s show. “I don’t know, she just got in my mind, thinking about what she was creating when she was putting these elements together.”
Wight-Waltman won the first prize of $1,000 at this year’s Mazin reception on Sunday, November 4, in The J’s Patio Gallery. The artist couldn’t attend the opening because of illness, but her entry, Peace #3, a piece of found wood from the Ohio River in a unique shadow-box frame, stole the show. Dellecave said the piece had a “kinesthetic” component.
“Our eyes can see the texture of that deteriorating paint and almost touch it with our eyes, something that seems so simple.”
News of her win came as a surprise to Wight-Waltman.
“My husband Jim went and saw the show and came back and told me, ‘Oh guess what?’” she said. “I was quite surprised because it (the piece) is kind of unusual.”
The artist said she likes to go to the river and look for things she can use in her work.
“Found wood, that’s my main thing,” she said. “And just other stuff I find in the river. I kind of live in the river.”
This year’s exhibition had 53 entries, 24 of which were selected for the show.
Floriose II, by Jenny Shircliff to second place; Stroll by Kastro, by Jane Kinzer, third place. Honorable mentions went to William Beasley’s Dissociate, Dan Church’s Yellowstone Remnants, Marsha Iko Paris’ “Grass is Greener,” Robert Drennen’s Antagled, Ronald Anderson’s Capitola, and Trish Courtney’s Woke.
The second place winner got $500; the third place winner, $300. The honorable mentions may submit a piece next year for free.
All 24 selections presented Dellecave with a difficult choice.
“The weight was great, especially because of the monetary prize,” she said. “That put a little oomph. I’m in a local band and we’ve been performing in the Louisville area for 18 years, so I know what it is to be a local musician and artist in the underground, toiling and toiling. It’s wonderful when there’s financial support.”
The Mazin Art Exhibition was created by Bernice and Benjamin Mazin, an artist who wanted to help support local artists through the shows. The regional, juried art exhibition, which is funded by the Mazin Visual Arts Fund, Judy and Dennis Hummel and the Mazin family, is open to artists 18 and older.
Bernice Mazin’s daughter, Marylin Miller of New York, spoke at the opening reception.
“My mom was a kind, soulful, artistic person; she saw beauty everywhere,”
Miller said. “She taught us to appreciate our vision. She loved art. She was born, not with a silver spoon, but with a paintbrush in her mouth. Both my parents were first-generation who came from poor families, that were rich in love. My mother had supportive teachers who gave her supplies. She was very lucky.”
After the show, Miller said she was pleased with the quality of work.
“I think it’s absolutely exquisite,” she said. “The judge worked very hard, and I think she did a beautiful job selecting. I’m very proud of this exhibit.”
She said she was surprised by the number of people who showed up for the opening reception.
“I think my mother would be pleased,” she said, choking back tears.”
This was Dellecave’s first time judging the show, and she found the experience eye-opening.
“I was so impressed with the longevity that they’ve built with The [J] and the support that’s there,” she said. “Because the submissions were very wide and varied, and very strong, all of them. They’re a lot of really talented artists.”
Miller said she wants people to continue the work her mother loved
“Keep supporting the arts, attending the arts,” she said, “because they enrich our lives.”

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