James McCarthy of Brandon, who won Best of Show for his oil painting Birth of a Universe.

Center Place of Brandon is exhibiting the artwork of the artists who competed in the Third Annual National Contemporary Juried Competition and Exhibition-Square’s Off. Awards were presented at an Artists’ Banquet held on Friday, February 1 at Center Place. The competition drew artists from the local area as well as from out of state.

The show was judged by Catherine Bergmann, the Curatorial Director at the Dunedin Fine Art Center. Bergmann said, “It was my pleasure and privilege to serve as juror for this exciting collection of works representing an impressive range of media.”

Jennie Sikora-Muehl, Chair of Square’s Off and Art Instructor at Center Place, said, “The shows are different each year. The art is extraordinary and full of surprises this year.”

The winners of the Third Annual Square’s Off represented both diversity in the medium they selected and from where they come. The Best of Show Award was given to James McCarthy of Brandon for his oil piece entitled Birth of a Universe.

Bergmann said of the piece, “I was completely wowed and intrigued by this piece. The imaginative translation of the concept and masterful execution is stunning.”

First place went to Marsha Nelson of Valrico for her photograph, Hawk on a Blue Pole. Second place was awarded to Elizabeth Johnson of Brooksville for her colored pencil piece, Spinach Pastry Plumeria. Third place went to Deborah Biasetti of Riverview for her watercolor, Got Biscuits. Barry Goodman from St. Petersburg, James Mai of Norman, IL and Tiffany Sikora of Grand Rapids, MI all won Honorable Mention.

McCarthy said, “I am a surrealist and landscape painter. I like to watch science shows.” McCarthy added, “This painting is completely spontaneous. I usually paint from a photo but not this one.”

Center Place is a nonprofit cultural arts center proudly serving the greater Brandon area.

For more information on Center Place, please visit www.centerplacebrandon.org or call 685-8888.