September 5, 2009

2009 Betty Bowen Award Finalists

Finalists of the Seattle Art Museum 31st Annual Betty Bowen Award have been announced


Seattle Art Museum 31st Annual Betty Bowen Award

Photo Courtesy of the Seattle Museum of Art


The Betty Bowen Committee, chaired by Gary Glant, announces the five artists selected as finalists for this year’s Betty Bowen Award. The Betty Bowen Committee reviewed 494 applications from visual artists residing in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. One of this year’s finalists will receive a cash prize in the amount of $15,000 and will have their work displayed at Seattle Museum of Art (SAM) Downtown beginning on October 23rd. One finalist will also be awarded the Kayla Skinner Special Recognition award in the amount of $2,500 and one artist will receive the PONCHO Special Recognition award in the amount of $2,500.


The following artists have been named as finalists:


JOVENCIO DE LA PAZ received a B.F.A with an emphasis in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2008. He lives in Gresham, Oregon. His works are assembled from materials found throughout abandoned suburban construction sites near his home and neighboring Clackamas County. Using canvas drop cloths, found wood, house paint, deck sealant and other construction materials, he creates works that are intended as commentary on the failed promise of Modernism, both in painting and suburban life. In 2008, De la Paz’s work was shown in exhibitions including Full Bleed at Loft3a Gallery and True North at Gallery 2 in Chicago.


JOSH FAUGHT received his M.F.A. with an emphasis in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006. He also received a degree in Textile/Surface Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, NY, in 2004. Combing the formal concerns of textiles, collage, drawing and sculpture, Faught’s current work explores personal sites of domestic dysfunction through craft, craft making and ornamentation. In 2009, his work was included in Call + Response, at the Portland Museum of Contemporary Craft and in While the Light Lasts at the Lisa Cooley Gallery in New York, where he is represented. He currently resides in Eugene, Oregon, where he has been the Assistant Professor and Program Director of Fibers at the University of Oregon since 2007.


JENNY HEISHMAN received an M.F.A. from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in 1998. She served as an Artist in Residence at the Vermont Studio Center in 2006 and at the Pilchuck School of Glass in 2005. She currently lives in Seattle. Her most recent exhibitions have been at Howard House in Seattle and at The Helm in Tacoma. She was a finalist for the Betty Bowen Award in 2006. Heishman’s aesthetic is strongly influenced by growing up in Florida where she was surrounded by theme parks, beach culture and a lack of seasonal shifts. She thus learned to “construct” the seasons, an approach that influenced her to create objects that are hybridized and disguised in faux surfaces, providing a humorous challenge to perceptions of real and fake.


SEAN M. JOHNSON received his M.F.A. from the University of Washington in 2005. He lives in Seattle, where he has most recently shown at Howard House Gallery, in Love Seat a solo show in 2008. He is currently working on an upcoming exhibition with the Off Shore Project in Seattle. Johnson’s sculptures are composed of balanced furniture and everyday objects, which serve as metaphors for relationships and his own life experiences. Often staging objects in arrangements that attempt to defy gravity, Johnson sets up narratives and dichotomies that both humor and disarm the viewer. Johnson has taught Fine Arts at the University of Washington and was a finalist for the Betty Bowen Award in 2005.


MATTHEW OFFENBACHER received a B.A. in American Studies from Tufts University in 1994 and currently lives in Seattle. Interested in collaboration, Matt’s work focuses on blurring the boundaries between group and individual and between art objects and the contexts in which they appear. These interests have led to special projects such as the 2008 “Light Show for Unesco” at Howard House Gallery in Seattle andLa Especial Norte, a ‘zine he created for artists’ writings, based in Seattle. Offenbacher’s individual works include digital photographs, videos and paintings. His creations interrogate how modern art sublimated the religious impulse and redirected it towards materialistic ends, although he is currently moving towards a less academic and more explorative approach of how he conceives his own role as an artist.


The winner of the 31st Annual Betty Bowen Award will be announced at an award ceremony on October 23rd.

In 2008, the Committee granted a grand prize of $15,000 to Isaac Layman, the Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award of $2,500 to Eric Elliott and the PONCHO Special Recognition Award of $2,500 to Wynne Greenwood.


The 2009 Betty Bowen Committee Members are:

Michael Alhadeff
Jeffrey Bishop
Michael Darling (SAM’s Jon & Mary Shirley Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art)
Gary Glant (Chair)
Peggy Golberg
Anne Gould Hauberg
Mike Hess
Isaac Layman (Rotating Artist, first year of a 2 year term)
Mark Levine
Llewelyn Pritchard
Greg Robinson
Norie Sato
Bill True
Maggie Walker
Tom Wilson
Dan Webb (Rotating Artist, second year of a 2 year term)

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