Out of 30 applicants, a jury, composed of Portland State University School of Art + Design faculty and professional artists, selected Gigi Woolery, Nolan Hanson and Maria Wehdeking for first, second and third place respectively for the Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts prize. The three PSU students have had an exhibition displaying their work in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA) at Portland State University (PSU), less than a block away from the Shattuck Hall Pioneer express stop, from Nov. 2 through Dec. 4.
The Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize exhibition first opened in 2013 and has continued as an annual exhibition since. Its aim has been to celebrate aspiring artists and designers with recognition and finances as a jumping off point for their career. As the ninth installment of this exhibition Woolery received $5,500, Hanson $4,000 and Wehdeking $3,000 as prizes for their hard work.
Along with the prize winners, PSU students Safiyah Maurice, Macy Eiesland, Lisa Banta, Gail Booth, Emma Duehr Mitchell, Darby Jones and Jordan Rosenblum received honorable mentions, an unprecedented number that resulted from a strong pool of applicants.
Tucked away in the back right corner of the bottom floor of the JSMA were seven pieces of art to showcase the prize winners’ achievements. While the exhibition was small, the walls were packed with content.
Woolery’s two pieces on display “In Good Graces” and “The Terrible Child” are composed of stretched quilt backing, rust solution, quilt scraps and embroidery. Their past works have focused on land stewardship, traditional home economics and the Colombian diaspora. The two pieces mirror each other with their background of an abstract, five-petaled flower.
The textile paintings featured at JSMA were inspired by Chilean author Margarita Aguirre’s short story “La Oveja Negra.” “In Good Graces” and “The Terrible Child” are crafted from worn out bedding textiles and highlight the importance of storing time and witnessing bodies.
Hanson’s piece was a part of Trans Boxing, an ongoing co-authored project that features work from Ky- Mani Davis, Jia Li, Yiwei Chen and Brionne Davis. Trans Boxing is a shifting project that aims to respond to current issues in the form of a boxing club.
Hanson’s piece shows a six minute video projected on the wall featuring Hanson demonstrating boxing basics including stance, hand position and jabs and head slipping. Hanson’s project focuses on community through building, education and mentorship.
The remaining four pieces were a part of Wehdeking’s series “The Art of Fairies.” These four digital prints highlight the different interpretations of fairies across folklores that explores their role in the fantasy genre. Wehdeking uses soft colors and organic lines to express feelings of giddiness, loneliness and nostalgia that represent her experiences as an immigrant. Her style juxtaposes her western culture with her favorite eastern expressions that promote intercultural perspectives.
Make sure to check out the Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize Exhibition before it ends this Saturday, Dec. 4. When you come back in for the Spring semester, stop back again to check out the Black Lives Matter Artist Grant Exhibition, lasting from Jan. 19 to April 30.