When I jury art competitions, I evaluate each piece based upon universal art principles. The artwork is judged against the same criteria regardless of medium, style, subject matter or who created it.
My criteria is outlined below so that artists and host organizations know how the work is going to be evaluated. I hope that this is helpful for those entering any competitions that I judge, and for the organizers. By presenting a judge's or organization's criteria, artists can decide if their art is suitable for the juried competition and, if so, which of their pieces would be most appropriate to submit. This reduces wasted time and money for the artists, and their disappointment over rejected artwork. It also saves time for the judge and the organization. Unfortunately, the judge’s criteria is rarely articulated.
Brushwork or Other Technique
Paint Quality or Material Handling
Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual and Physical/Visceral Impact
Overall Success and Effect
The criteria can be applied to Realistic, Naturalistic, Classical, Baroque, Rococo, Romantic, French Impressionist, American Impressionist, Tonalist, Post-Impressionist, Expressionist, Fauvist, Modernist and non-representative styles. My goal is to have consistent, equitable and fair standards. Video, installations and other endeavors may require separate criteria and competitions.
The concepts and style of each piece provide additional bases for measuring its success. This avoids favoring or penalizing one style or subject matter, or evaluating artwork against the values of a different style. For example, a Realistic piece implies a framework of form and spatial relationships, and would be judged against these goals. A French Impressionist painting would be expected to emphasize other concepts, such as the spectral effects of sunlight, a broad field of vision and a experiential perception. Without naturalistic or realistic concerns, composition might be a major criteria for abstract paintings. By composition, I refer to the orchestration of the elements of the artwork.
Though I apply consistent, universal, fundamental criteria, it is possible that some styles and subjects are represented more than others in a show or win more awards than others. This simply indicates that those pieces scored higher according to the criteria. The number of examples of each style will vary based upon the quantities and quality of submitted artwork. Pieces that I award the highest honors in juried competitions are usually the strongest in terms of concept and composition. This is because artists that are accomplished in these elements are generally accomplished in all of the other elements.