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Valerie Bretl’s work selected for exhibit in Mosaic Arts International

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The Society of American Mosaic Art (SAMA) has selected work by Cedar Key’s Valerie Bretl, to be included in this year’s Mosaic Arts International, an annual juried exhibition of the best in contemporary mosaic art. The exhibition takes place at the Lexington Center Museum and Gallery in Lexington, Kentucky, March 1 through April 30, 2012.

Mosaic art, one of the world’s oldest art forms, is experiencing a major revival both in the United States and internationally. Fine artists are discovering the unrivaled and compelling magnificence of the art form and material in achieving their artistic vision. 

“This exhibition provides a unique opportunity to view outstanding examples of mosaic art from around the world in one venue, to allow the audience to experience the exciting ways that artists are utilizing this ancient art form with a modern and contemporary approach,” said Shug Jones, President of the SAMA Board of Trustees. “These artists are using both traditional and non-traditional materials to really propel the art form to a degree unseen in recent history.”  

Ms. Jones adds, “We invite the public to attend. This show is impressive in every respect. We are very excited to introduce Lexington’s enthusiastic arts community to such well-known mosaicists from around the world.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to offer an intimate look at a very textural art form that really must be seen in person to experience the full resonance of its’ beauty and depth of meaning.

Bretl’s mosaic, titled “Becoming the Garden” depicts a woman amidst a floral menagerie.  The 34” by 42” mosaic is made with hundreds of hand-shaped pieces of ceramic tile from Portugal.

MAI features the work of 56 mosaic artists from 24 different states in the US, as well as from Turkey, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa and Israel.  A vast array of material such as smalti, glass, ceramic, and metal are featured within the works of these artists.  The exhibit includes 2 dimensional, 3 dimensional and architectural works.  Prizes totaling $5,000 will be awarded for the best in each of these categories as well as for ‘Best in Show’. 

Art collectors are beginning to gain a true appreciation of the richness of the art form and the texture that plays such an important factor in the work.  SAMA artists create 2D, 3D, sculptural and architectural works, from micro-mosaics using tessarae (literally pieces) the size of the head of a pin to colossal architectural installations, creating art that is both compelling and enduring.  MAI is a highly competitive annual exhibition that unites innovative design and masterful technique as explored by some of the best international artists working in the medium.

The panel of jurors for this year’s exhibition included Josh Blanc, President, Handmade Tile Association of Minneapolis, MN; Amy Gundrum Green, Curator, Headley-Whitney Museum, Lexington, KY; and Arturo Alonzo Sandoval, Professor of Art, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

MAI coincides with the annual American Mosaic Summit, a conference which will be held February 28 through March 3 at the Hyatt Regency Lexington.  The Summit includes workshops, presentations, and an Art Supply Marketplace that will be open to the public on March 2 and 3.

The Society of American Mosaic Artists, a dynamic group of more than 1,200 members, is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and promoting excellence in mosaic arts. 

In Cedar Key, Bretl’s mosaics can be seen at the Island Hotel and Restaurant, and at the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts.  Visit her website at ArtbyVBretl.com