Schaefer Portrait Challenge
Yesterday Alix Buchter and I went to a reception for the MACC’s Schaefer Portrait Challenge. It was my second look at this, the fourth triennial portrait competition, and I hoped that this time, I’d be able to pick a favorite for the Marion Freeman People’s Choice Award. The judges had given their Jurors’ Prize to Jonathan Yukio Clark’s outstanding mixed-media portrait of his grandmother, Catherine Yamada. No argument there, but it’s pretty cool of the MACC and Gage Schubert—who funds the $5,000 People’s Choice Award—to let the rest of us vote, too. (You still can; the show is up through March 11.)
What I’ve learned from past Schaefer Portrait Challenges is that it’s not necessarily the most attractive or realistic or technically adept portrait that gets to me. It’s the one I might not hang in my house, but can’t get out of my mind. It’s the one my feet keep bringing me back to, even as my rational self is saying, Seriously? That one? Yeah. See how it lets you inside the subject’s soul?
Here are a few of the images that drew me. I’ll let you guess which one got my vote. And here, too an apology: if I understood my iPhone better, you’d get to watch a video of one of the judges describing how they picked the entries for the show. Sigh. Go check out the exhibit. This is a fraction of what’s there, and there’s no comparison to seeing them in person.
Left to Right:
1. Grandma’s Story, mixed media by Jonathan Yukio Clark
2. Mother’s Heart, watercolor by Dion “Boyett” Aguilar
3. Tina Is Crying, acrylic on canvas by Hung Kwai Chan
4. When the Wish Becomes True, the Second Eye of the Daruma Can Now Be Filled, oil on board by Kirk Kurokawa
5. Parez Punalu‘u Kahikina, Kalaupapa Native Son, oil and acrylic on canvas by Stephen Garnin
6. Lost in Translation, pencil drawing by Steve Vandervort
7. Ardens (Passionate), oil and silver leaf on panel by Rose Adare