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Recognizing Great Art

Why do we think recognizing great art is so difficult? I'll leave that for the experts. I'll get a professional's opinion before I purchase it. Is it a good investment? I'll ask my artist friend if this is good art.

Trâité de Décomposition

Oil on Canvass (30" x 24")

Artist Sanda Manuila

Well, it may surprise you to know that your opinion is all that matters. Artists make their best art when it comes from the heart. The only skill you need is to recognize when specific art touches your heart. You can figure out why later.

I was invited to be on a panel with other prestigious leaders in the arts, and to select my choices for the Dr. Janet Jordan Special Recognition Award, Spirit of Resilience for Manhattan Arts International Exhibition. My first response to Renee Phillips was "What an honor!" Then I asked myself "Wait a do I know how to do this? I didn't go to art school. "

Today, I am going to share with you, the recipients of the Dr.Janet Jordan Special Recognition Award, Spirit of Resilience for Manhattan Arts International Exhibition.

Renee curated the exhibition prior to sending the finalists to the panel. Going through the exhibition, was a beautiful exercise in healing for me. I went through each entry multiple times, and in the end, my heart was filled. During this difficult time of the pandemic, we all need to fill our hearts with activity that warms our spirit and balances out the negative news we are bombarded with.

I picked the finalists without reading the artist's description or visiting their websites. One of my judging criteria was "The art must have that hook, that draws the observer in, begging deeper exploration of the piece." This is much like strolling through a museum or gallery.

Artist Sanda Manuila received the Dr.Janet Jordan Special Recognition Award for her painting Trâité de Décomposition (above). I will share with you my artist critique and challenge you to visit her website and see her own description, her body of beautiful artwork and the spirit behind her art.

"Her beautiful oil on Canvass (30"x24") has that special hook that draws the observer in, begging deeper exploration of the painting. The artist uses space and dimension, with the array of beautiful Monarchs framing the path of your gaze and leading you into the mechanical decay of the underlying world. This contrecoup juxtaposition shows the vulnerability of life, represented by vibrant, curvaceous wings against the background of a static, elemental, linear world. Sandra uses line and form powerfully to emphasize this contrast while using color to show the inevitable 'oneness'. She reflects the fiery earth tones of the wings into the background of rust and patina blue. The irony of this lifeless structure supporting cocoons is my final lesson in this piece."


In my next Blog, I will share with you the winner of the Dr. Janet Jordan Special Recognition Award for Sculpture, Zahava Sherez. For a sneak peek, see her beautiful sculpture below and be sure to read my critique of it next time. If you want a head start, visit the artist's website at :

"InBodied Light”: Woman #3, 39″ x 7″ x 7″ and  Man #2, 23” x 3” x 3”

Both sculptures in resin polymer and threads.

Zahava Sherez

Please view all of the artists who received Awards of Excellence through Manhattan Arts International. See which ones reach out to you and touch your soul. Then ask yourself what qualities in the artwork invited you in and why. This show will fill you with strength, hope and resilience. I Promise.



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