Juror's Statement

“I feel truly fortunate to be able to spend my days looking at, writing about, and making art. Every time I look at a work of art it allows me to see the world through someone else’s eyes.  When a work of art holds my attention I lose my sense of self and feel, even if only for a moment, immersed in the experience of another person. I am thankful to all the artists who submitted work, and gave me the opportunity to see the world through the lens of their temperaments and experience.
One of the reasons we value art is that it serves so many purposes.  It can examine the idea of beauty, explore the nature of perception, communicate ideas or emotions, or even evoke pleasure.  Art is a house with a thousand doors.
That said, a juror is tasked with selecting a small number of works from a large pool of submissions, and in doing so, each juror employs a set of fairly individual criteria.  My own criteria for selection were roughly as follows:
I am interested in art that is more than just an image or an object, but rather serves as a catalyst for an experience.  I am less interested in work that is academic or was executed purely as an exercise, and more interested in work that seems to me fully formed, complete and resolved.
I am drawn to works of art that create their own consistent and convincing logic or reality.  I value originality and a distinct perspective.  I am attracted to work that is almost immersive in nature.
I respect craftsmanship, technical facility and mastery of design, but feel that they are most effective when used in much the same way a writer uses grammar: to tell stories and relate experiences.  When it comes to form and meaning, I want to have my cake and eat it too. 
I prize confidence just as much as doubt, and emphatic gestures as much as tentative ones.  I love clarity as much as ambiguity.  I am impressed by work that shows me something in a new way, or from a new perspective.  I am as impressed by spontaneity and the beauty of an accidental gesture as I am by the simple clarity of structure and intentionality.
I want to be challenged and seduced by forms, textures and colors.  Sometimes I appreciate work that stumps of baffles me, and forces me to unravel the maker’s strands of thought.  I believe ideas can be as elegant as textures or colors.
I value persistence and consistency.  Nothing makes me happier than to see an artist pursue and elusive idea, skill or visual effect doggedly and thoroughly.  It gladdens my heart to see work that shows evidence of having consumed and absorbed its maker.  I love to see the residue of struggle and joy in a work. I am inevitably impressed by art that bears in its form evidence of the nature of its birth.”
Andries Fourie, 2018