Two oil paintings captured the top awards at the 22nd annual Stars of Texas Juried Art Exhibit, which opens Sunday afternoon at the Depot Civic and Cultural Center.

“Of a Feather” by Bob Stuth-Wade of Dublin was named Dorothy Mayes Best of Show, which comes with a $1,000 cash award.

“Seventy-one Summers” by Steve Miller of Grand Prairie won the Debbie and Stan Cavett Juror Award, which comes with a $750 cash award.

Cash awards were also announced in 11 other categories during a ceremony for artists held Saturday night.

“Some works of art can be viewed much like one would a good mystery novel,” juror Randy Hall of San Angelo, an art professor at Angelo State University, said about the Best of Show winner. “They pique the imagination and arouse one’s curiosity. In this work, which has immediate visual impact, the artist lays before the viewer a tableau of disparate elements… The effect expands the meaning of the work beyond the appreciation of the obvious illustrative skill displayed by the artist and provokes the view to imagine a hidden connection and mysterious narrative.

“In this work the mystery may never be solved, nor a conclusive interpretation achieved,” Hall continued. “But the visual experience is a collective one, established by the artist and completed by the viewer.”

Stuth-Wade had these comments on his Best of Show work:

“A painting can come from an idea or bring an idea to light. ‘Of a Feather’ is the second kind of painting. A dead grackle found on a walk and randomly placed on an old pallet. The artist’s face reflected in a small mirror.

“Like a dream these elements tug at the edge of consciousness,” Stuth-Wade continued. “Meaning depends on the mind of the dreamer. To me a black bird represents death. My reflection represents the fact that there is no essential reality in personality. The grackle has been consumed and only the head and wings remain. I see myself in reflection and recognize my essential unreality.

“This is not a morbid meditation on mortality. It is recognition of freedom from the bondage of death and illusion.”

The juror said “Seventy-one Summers” skillfully explores two compelling aesthetic sensibilities — the Japanese aesthetic philosophy of Wabi Sabi celebrating the appreciation of what is rustic, aged, and perhaps imperfect, and how Impressionists in the West sought to capture a special moment in time, “rendering the changing effects of light and season with astonishing effect.”

Hall continued, “Rustic and decaying architecture in the background is juxtaposed against the dominant focal point created by the rugged figure in the lower left foreground. The downturned pose of the figure conceals the obviousness of the face yet reveals the mystery of the moment that the artist wants to evoke.

“The work features strong contrasts in shape and value, is harmonized by a cool color scheme, creates a beautiful patterning of light and shade — all suggesting and symbolizing the magical moment envisioned by the artist.”

In the artist’s comments on “Seventy-one Summers,” Miller said, “Whether it be the face marked with the passing of years, or a cat sitting in the doorway of an old alley, or an old car in a rundown shed, forgotten — these all tell a story of the beauty of God’s creation in a world that has fallen but yet continues on by His grace. ‘Seventy-One Summers’ was inspired by an old multi-generational farm on the banks of the Paluxy River in Somervell County, Texas.

“I knew the family and loved the quietness and mystery of the place,” Miller added. “Over the years I watched the inhabitants vanish from the landscape, leaving the massive oak trees to shade and hide the many seasoned structures, which are now void of human presence. The old house, the trees, the endless trail of forgotten things that now lie under the dirt and leaves could tell a story from the annals of history, if only they were given a voice.”

The exhibit, presented by the Arts Council of Brownwood, continues daily through Feb. 15. Hours will be 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The show is open to the public at no charge.

A companion art show runs at the same hours at the Art Center, 215 Fisk, featuring works submitted but not selected for the Stars of Texas show.

All artworks are available for purchase.

Award winners and their sponsors follow:

2020 STARS OF TEXAS JURIED ART EXHIBIT AWARD WINNERS

Randy Hall, Juror

• $1,000 Dorothy Mayes Best of Show — Bob Stuth-Wade, Dublin, “Of a Feather” (Oil)

• $750 Debbie and Stan Cavett Juror Award — Steve Miller, Grand Prairie, “Seventy-one Summers” (Oil)

• $500 Kohler Award — Pat Chaney, Merkel, “Midday Repose” (Acrylic)

• $500 Charles and Kay Beth Stavley Merit Award — Anthony Brown, Abilene “After the Cloud Burst” (Mixed Media)

• $500 Don C. Martin Memorial Water Color Award — Charles Markham, Hico, “Walk in the Woods” (Watercolor)

• $500 Walter B. Croft Memorial Photography Award — Robert Priddy, Priddy “Rock’n Weather” (Photography)

• $500 Sally and Robert Porter Oil Medium Award — Cathie A. Tyler, Mason, “Over Cast” (Oil)

• $500 Empire Iron Works 3D Award — Kevin Stanford, Eldorado, “Discourse” (Forged Steel)

• $100 Honorable Mention — L. Katherine Roberts, San Angelo, “A Perpetual Abstraction II” (Collage)

• $100 Honorable Mention — Kay Wirz, Granbury, “Tejas Mission” (Woven Paper/Acrylic)

• $100 Honorable Mention — Kevin Stanford, Eldorado. “Untitled-Tower 2” (Steel)

• $100 Honorable Mention — John Mulvany, Austin, “TV/VCR Combo” (Oil), $700

• $100 Honorable Mention, Ben Sum, San Angelo, “Hong Kong without SAR” (Mixed Media)