2016 Contemporary Northwest Art Awards
FEB 13 – MAY 8, 2016
The Museum’s fourth biennial awards exhibition, 2016 Contemporary Northwest Art Awards features eight outstanding artists including a two-person artist’s collaborative. Four of the eight artists are immigrants, coming to the Northwest from Asia and Europe and contributing to the exhibition’s conceptual strength with a fresh view of America. Works in the exhibition address global and regional humanist issues —prejudice, belonging, war, the evolution of power, omnipresent technology, and the environment. Ranging from large-scale installations to intimate ceramic portraits, the multimedia exhibition showcases works in combinations of neon, video, glass, drawing, painting, and clay with innovative approaches to both new and traditional media.At the opening reception one artist will receive the $10,000 Arlene Schnitzer prize selected by the Museum’s curatorial staff. From nomination to final prize, the biennial awards process delivers a two-fold benefit: It allows the Portland Art Museum to identify a number of the Northwest’s exceptional talents, and it provides the museum with a far deeper understanding of the new work taking place in the region by both established and emerging artists. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog, artists’ lectures and other exhibit related programs.Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson, The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art, and invited curatorial advisor Jessica Hunter-Larsen, curator of IDEA Space, Interdisciplinary Experimental Arts, at Colorado College, received over 200 nominations from respected regional arts professionals of outstanding contemporary artists from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. Nominees were selected on the basis of quality, innovation, relevance to community or global issues, continuity of vision and dedication to studio practice. Hunter-Larsen and Laing-Malcolmson reviewed the applications to select 24 four finalists, from which the group of seven award winners was chosen.
Organized by the Portland Art Museum and curated by Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson, The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art.
Using drawing and video, Haven employs words and geometric spatial relationships to illustrate the fragmented bombardment of technology on the human psyche in the new millennium. With language and mixed media, she binds together two- and three-dimensional imagery to create elegant modernist objects that suggest unanswered questions.
Lead Pencil Studio, Seattle, Washington
Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo use video, sculpture, drawing, installation and photography to reveal spatial qualities of the built environment that influence human behavior. This combination of styles expands the understanding of the constructed surface, which scripts a large portion of human movement and perception.
Dana Lynn Louis, Portland, Oregon
Louis is inspired by the human body and its connection to timeless and fascinating systems of the natural and constructed worlds—linking time, space, and energy through dynamic multimedia installations. Creating spaces with intimate and large-scale drawings, light projections, and sculptural objects, she uses glass, light, and shadow to achieve a glitteringly magical environment.
Helen O’Toole, Seattle, Washington
O’Toole creates a prolonged moment where the painting’s vast space evokes an image with a resonating emotional depth. Metaphorically employing the moody landscape of rural Ireland, she channels a deep-seated pain and misery resulting from a past lived amidst a compilation of grudges, suspicion, and violence.
Akio Takamori, Seattle, Washington
Takamori’s new, 40-foot-long, lyrically painted clay installation addresses the war torn world through the faces of its threatened children. In our contemporary society of a great mix of people, these diverse faces remind us that life begins unblemished by clashing ideologies. Additionally, a series of serene ceramic landscapes quoted from historic Japanese and European paintings provide a hopeful and contemplative view of the natural environment.
Willem Volkersz, Bozeman, Montana
Volkersz has an immigrant’s fascination with America. Arriving in Seattle from Amsterdam shortly after World War II, he began photographing a newly discovered landscape of billboards, vernacular architecture, and neon signs. Over time, he became fascinated with roadside art and pop culture: larger-than-life advertising figures, postcards, and travel souvenirs. Volkersz creates a charmingly critical narrative around his Dutch heritage and American citizenship.
Samantha Wall, Portland, Oregon
Wall seeks to communicate the interior emotional state that separates one’s sense of self from their body. Growing up as an ethnically diverse child in South Korea and the American South, she learned to navigate between social and cultural boundaries. Her quietly powerful work utilizes modest materials, such as graphite or charcoal, to build a supple, interlaced texture of marks which are suspended on the surface of paper.
The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art