Local artists win big

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Iva Morris was one of the homecoming artistic heroes at the recent MasterWorks New Mexico competition, held in Albuquerque, March 31, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Four local artists, Morris, Natasha Isenhour, Margi Lucena and Georgette Evans Gray all won awards at the competitive and closely judged event.

Submitted photo: Iva Morris’ painting “Liberty” won Best of Show at the recent MasterWorks New Mexico competition, held in Albuquerque, March 31 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. The full-bodied depiction of Lady Liberty held much meaning for the artist, who is on staff at Cottonwood Valley Charter School.

Morris snagged Best in Show in the Standard Fine Art Division for her acrylic, “Liberty,” a magical realist take on the Statue of Liberty. She also took home an award for framing with her pastel “Pecos River.”

“It was really a wonderful honor to win,” said Morris. “This event is great, in that it brings together artists from all the disciplines — watercolor, oil, pastel, acrylics, and gives them a forum to display their work. The entire effort was extremely cooperative. We are extremely fortunate in New Mexico. There is so much artistic activity that we almost take it for granted, but there are artists working and supporting each other all over the state.”

Morris shared some thought behind the award-winning painting.

“‘Liberty’ is part of ‘My Life as a Woman’ series,” said Morris, a teacher at Cottonwood Valley Charter School in Socorro. “My model was our school nurse and I wanted to paint someone who represented a woman with curves and attitude.”

Morris said she was inspired by the Supreme Court decision in the case of Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which affirmed political contributions by corporations and unions were protected by the First Amendment.

“I was discouraged about the decision and felt that we had put a price tag on democracy, especially as we watch the power of the ‘Super Pac’ in this presidential election,” she said. “In my painting, Liberty is watching you, reminding us that democracy is a participatory sport for everyone, rich or poor, powerful or not so powerful.”

Evans Grey won the Winsor and Newton Award of Excellence for her watercolor “Prickly Poppy.”

The Socorro artist was thrilled at being chosen one of the winning artists. Her work features her sensitively rendered watercolors of the local landscape.

“We scored four awards, it was fantastic,” said Evans Grey, referring to the other three award winners. “Each of us submitted two works. It was a very competitive event, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve had work awarded in a California event, but it’s particularly gratifying to win in New Mexico. I’m very excited for the other winners.”

Isenhour, of Curious Crow Studio and Isenhour, Fullingham and Leard Galleries in socorro, won the New Mexico Art League award for the oil painting, “Courage,” a ruby-toned portrait of a hummingbird.

Lucena took second place in the pastel division and the New Mexico Statehood Award for her submission, a pastel entitled “Santuario Evening,” a light-dappled rendering of a mission scene.

The MasterWorks of New Mexico Spring Art Show is now in its 14th year of exhibition. According to its website, the show began with a vision that combines the talents and experiences of fine arts organizations, each representing artists throughout the state and to showcase New Mexico’s finest art.

 


-- Email the author at lalvarado@dchieftain.com.