Universal canons were used in assessing the work submitted to the 2012 National Art Competition

Dear Editor,

In a letter to Stabroek News, Thursday, July 4, captioned ‘The judging of an art competition should be based solely on merit,’Jorge Bowenforbes (aka George Bowen) wrongly attributed to me statements that represented the opinions of the five-member panel of judges involved with the National Art Competition held in December 2012. He obviously did not understand what was said in the Judges’ report and was written in the catalogue. As a hopelessly misinformed attack on me personally I have nothing to say. Having stated, however, there was a lack of understanding of art on the part of the panel of judges, whose combined experiences, theoretical and practical, far outweigh his, I will make an objective response through the universal canons listed below that were used  in assessing work

Judging art

1. An examination of themes used, or

2. The use of non-themes as in abstract art.

3. Composition

a) The use of pictorial space involving 2D effects or the use of linear and/or aerial perspective in 3D effects

b) Disposition of compositional elements ‒ figures, objects, shapes

c) How line, shape, mass, textures singly or in combinations are used to develop works.

4. Colour  ‒ understanding chromatic and tonal values and the rules of harmony

5. The use of psychological and or visual centres of interest in the work

6. Imagination/intuition/intellect employed in developing/exploring themes or non-themes

7. The particular visual language used, its clarity and relevance to theme or non-theme

8. All of the above combining to create an overall visual appeal or impression.


I find it strange that Mr Bowenforbes  as “an experienced artist” would have made the kind of questionable comments he did. It is to be hoped that the points outlined above will be of benefit to him in his own work and in the clarification of his understanding of the manner in which judging art is parallel to its production.

Equally strange is that Mr Bowenforbes would be commenting on the December 2012 show in July 2013. What’s the point of doing that? Had he done so in December he would have been invited to present his comments to the judges and the organizing committee of the competition.

I have no intention of conducting any further dialogue on art based on misunderstandings and misinformation with Mr Bowenforbes. He is entitled to his opinions.

Yours faithfully,
Stanley Greaves
Chief Judge 2012

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