Monday, August 20, 2012

Thoughts on the Trawick Prize

The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards is a visual art prize produced by the Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District (through the spectacular generosity of Ms. Carol Trawick)  that honors artists from Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia. The annual juried competition awards $14,000 in prize monies to selected artists and features the work of the finalists in a group exhibition. The 2012 finalists and their bios are at the end of this posting.

The 2012 exhibition will be held September 1-29 at Gallery B, located at 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite E, Bethesda, MD 20814 (the former space of the Fraser Gallery). Winners will be announced September 5.

The finalists were selected by:
Dawn Gavin
Dawn Gavin was born in Bellshill, Scotland, and currently lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland. She has received a Bachelor of Arts (First Class) in Drawing and Painting, a Master of Fine Art and a Master of Science degree in Electronic Imaging from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Dundee, Scotland. Her work investigates issues of identity and displacement, employing a range of media from collage and installed drawings to digital video. She has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally, including the Baltimore Museum of Art, The John Michael Kohler Art Centre (Sheboygen, MI), Maryland Institute College of Art, Meyerhoff Gallery (Baltimore, MD), The DCA Visual Research Centre (Dundee, Scotland), The Philadelphia Art Alliance and The Washington Project for the Arts (Washington D.C.). She is an Associate Professor in Drawing and Foundations at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Barbara Kelly Gordon
Barbara Kelly Gordon is an Associate Curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian where she focuses on contemporary international art, and especially film, video and new media. She has worked on major exhibitions ranging from a retrospective of Douglas Gordon to Visual Music to The Cinema Effect, which completes a three-city tour of Spain in 2012. During the 2011-2012 season her exhibitions include Directions : Pipilotti Rist; Directions : Grazia Toderi; EMPIRE3 (with Andy Warhol); Directions: Antonio Rovaldi and Black Box shows with Hans Op de Beeck (Belgium), Larent Grasso (France), Nira Pereg (Israel), and Ali Kazma (Turkey). Gordon, who was born and raised in Washington D.C., has lectured widely on contemporary art and recently served on the jury for Emerging Italian Artists at the Strozzi Palace in Florence, Italy.
N. Elizabeth Schlatter
N. Elizabeth Schlatter is Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions at the University of Richmond Museums, Virginia, where she has curated more than 20 exhibitions, including recent exhibitions of art by Carl Chiarenza, Andreas Feininger, Hans Friedrich Grohs, Sue Johnson, and Fiona Ross, and the exhibitions “Art=Text=Art: Works by Contemporary Artists,” “LEADED: the Materiality and Metamorphosis of Graphite” and “Form & Story: Narration in Recent Painting.” Prior to working at the University of Richmond, she was an exhibitions project director for the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in Washington, D.C. She has a bachelor’s degree in art history from Southwestern University in Texas, and a master’s in art history from George Washington University.
My picks from the finalists to win it all?: David D'Orio or Dean Kessman - both are intelligent conceptual artists who also have the rare talent to actually deliver a concrete and interesting product married to their conceptual ideas. However, usually the winner from any sort of allegedly objective art competition is determined by the biggest and most vociferous voice, and not personally knowing any of the three jurors, I don't know who's got the biggest mouth.

Another however: since five of the eight semifinalists come from the Baltimore area, I suspect that Scotland-born Dawn Gavin had the biggest and most vociferous voice over the two Sassenachs and the odds are (once again) stacked for a Baltimore-based artist to win the Trawick.

Who then? I'm betting Lillian Bayley Hoover, a brilliant and talented painter who now officially replaces Andrew Wodzianski as the "always the maid never the bride" of the major Bethesda Up! generous art prizes.

Lillian Bayley Hoover
Lillian Bayley Hoover earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and her Master of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Hoover’s work has been featured in the Baltimore area and beyond, and recently appeared in the 94th edition of New American Paintings and the Summer 2011 issue of the Little Patuxent Review. She is the recipient of a grant from the Center for Emerging Visual Artists, which enabled her to conduct research and make photographs in Istanbul, Turkey. Hoover has received many awards, including “Young Artist” for the Bethesda Painting Awards and two Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, and she has thrice been a semifinalist for both Baltimore’s Sondheim Prize and Bethesda’s Trawick Prize.
David D’Orio
David D’Orio is the executive director of DC GlassWorks, a public access glass blowing facility in Maryland, just outside of Washington D.C. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture and a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Hartford/Hartford Art School in Hartford, CT. His work has been shown at Artomatic in Crystal City, the Marlboro Gallery of Prince George’s Community College and as part of the Arlington Arts Center Fall Solos. In his work, D’Orio explores “the ideology of technology as the source of solutions for social problems (both real, invented and imagined). … This work has the sense of a forgotten or undiscovered manufacturer/inventor whose sole purpose is to create objects that defy classification.”
Skye Gilkerson
Skye Gilkerson grew up at the edge of the known world, in the space that Thomas Jefferson thought would take 1,000 years to populate. After her childhood on a farm in South Dakota, she’s slowly migrated along the rust belt, landing in Baltimore, where she has a studio at Current Space. Skye has been an artist-in-residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and the Philadelphia Art Hotel. Her work is in the Robert F. Pfannebecker Collection, the Notre Dame of Maryland collection and numerous personal collections in the U.S. and Germany. She received her Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, MI, and a Bachelor of Arts in studio art from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN.  Gilkerson was a finalist for the 2011 Trawick Prize.
Dean Kessmann
Dean Kessmann lives and works in Washington, D.C. His work has appeared in solo exhibitions at the Orlando Museum of Art in Florida and Conner Contemporary Art in Washington, D.C. among numerous other locations across the United States. His work has also been featured in many group shows, including those at Strathmore in North Bethesda and Meyerhoff Gallery, Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. He received a Master of Arts from Sothern Illinois University, Carbondale and is currently the chair of the Department of Fine Arts and Art History at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Nate Larson
Nate Larson is full-time faculty in the photography department at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. His work with photographic media, artist books and digital video has been widely shown across the U.S. and internationally. He serves on the board of directors of the Society for Photographic Education. His current project GEOLOCATION, in collaboration with Marni Shindelman, tracks GPS coordinates associated Twitter tweets and pairs the text with a photograph of the originating site to mark the virtual information in the real world. Larson has a master of fine Arts from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Arts from Purdue University.
Joshua Smith
Joshua Wade Smith was raised on the outskirts of a small border town in South Texas. He is a nationally exhibited object-based performer and sculptor and currently a fellow at Hamiltonian Artists in Washington, D.C. His work has been featured in exhibitions at the Contemporary Museum-Baltimore and the Arlington Arts Center, among others. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Mt. Royal School at MICA in 2010. In his recent work, Smith explores themes of labor, masculinity and gymnastic investigations of landscape. His installations and performances feature contraptions and repetitious actions that emphasize the transfer of value through absurd or thankless tasks; his work is often about making a show of the “Work” itself through schematics, photo documentation and endurance based on drawings.
Diane Szczepaniak
Diane Szczepaniak earned a Master’s degree in art education from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Northern Kentucky University. Her work has been shown in group exhibitions including SCULPTURE NOW 2012 at Pepco Edison Place Gallery in Washington, D.C., InLiquid Benefit Auction in Philadelphia, PA, among others and in many solo exhibitions. She was named a semi-finalist for Baltimore’s Sondheim Prize in 2011 and received an Individual Artist Award in Visual Arts: Sculpture from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2009. About her work, Szczepaniak says: “Colors naturally hold meaning for me and I have painted in response to images from poems that I find mysterious, feelings aroused by music, that familiar experience Wallace Stevens calls ‘passions in rain, or moods in falling snow,’ and even meditations on thoughts.”
Hannah Walsh
Hannah Walsh earned her Master of Fine Arts in sculpture and extended media from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Indiana University. Her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions nationally and abroad, including The Boiler, Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn; Little Berlin in Philadelphia; The Wayfarers in Brooklyn; Nominimo Gallery in Quito, Ecuador and the Reynolds Gallery in Richmond. Walsh explains her interest in cheerleading as a subject: “All-star cheerleading squads are not affiliated with any sports team. They only cheer competitively, in other words, for themselves. These squads embody several of my interests: the simultaneous occurrence of sincerity and extreme artifice, skilled physicality, gender performance and American identity.”

Zhu Qi Slams Uli Sigg

Two months ago, Uli Sigg, the Swiss art collector and Switzerland’s former Ambassador to China, donated 1463 pieces of his Chinese contemporary art collection to Hong Kong’s M+ museum. The bequest, which included works by 350 artists such as Ai Weiwei and Zhang Xiaogan, initially received widespread praise. Then on June 25, the Art Critic column of the Oriental Morning Post, a Shanghai-based Chinese newspaper, slammed the affair.  “The donated works aren’t worth their HK$1.3 billion ($163 million) valuation.” the columnist Zhu Qi declared. “They are mostly junk.”
(Via) Check the whole story here.

Two things:
  1. Zhu Qi needs to read some old reviews by Blake Gopnik and Jessica Dawson in order to learn the proper snarky etiquette required to label art as "junk."
  2. The Oriental Morning Post clearly hasn't received the memo from the PC police and are not aware that Oriental is not a cool term to use anymore.