Thursday, July 9, 2009

Foundation Art Award

Jeremy Mangan is the winner

The Weekly Volcano, July 9, 2009 Pictured: "House on Stilts" by Jeremy Mangan

Nominees and winner of the 2nd Annual Foundation of Art Award from The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation were announced in June. This annual program was established to honor professional artists living and working in Pierce County. This year’s winner, Jeremy Mangan, was chosen by a panel including: Rock Hushka, director of curatorial administration at the Tacoma Art Museum; Amy McBride, arts administrator, City of Tacoma; Jp Avila, co-chair of the Department of Art, Pacific Lutheran University; Rose Lincoln Hamilton, president and CEO, The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation; Kit Granum, Community Foundation board member, and Jim McDonald, local independent curator.

Mangan was awarded $7,500 in recognition of his “talent and his commitment to the creative community of Pierce County.”

Congratulations to Jeremy Mangan and to all of the nominees: Sean Alexander, Marc Dombrosky, Spencer Ebbinga, Jeremy Gregory, Ellen Ito, Janet Marcavage, Joe Miller, Yuki Nakamura, Chandler O'Leary, James Porter and Holly A. Senn. Most of these are artists I have reviewed in this column. They represent the elite among Tacoma artists. Kudos to all.

Mangan’s award was based a series of surrealistic paintings of barn-like buildings that are stacked in strange ways such as attached to long poles that stretch high in the air or stacked together to form the image of a tree. I’ve seen very little of his work but have liked what I’ve seen and hope to see more.

Holly Senn is an installation artist who works primarily with old books scavenged from libraries. Her installations intelligently and creatively meld content and form. On the road to wider fame, Senn was recently invited to do an installation in Brooklyn, NY.

Most Tacoma gallery goers know Sean Alexander as the co-founder of The Helm. His works pictured on the Foundation Web site are strange and delightful line drawings that look like illustrations for cutting edge graphic novels. His line work and sensitivity to the use of open space are both excellent.

Speaking of The Helm, you may recognize Ellen Ito’s work on the Foundation Web site as "Time Machine," the large work she did in collaboration with Nicholas Nyland that was installed in The Helm.

Janet Marcavage’s intaglio lithographs have a sensitivity to open space and minimalist form similar to that of Alexander, but her images are more classical and sparsely detailed. These are beautiful little prints.

Marc Dombrosky’s found art and word art focuses attention on social issues that should not be ignored.

Joe Miller’s sculpture ranges from classically minimalist to pop, with reflections of Donald Judd and Jeff Koons.

Spencer Ebbinga’s ceramic sculptures of turtles and cathedrals are comical, satirical and strangely heavy looking.

I have seen only one of Yuki Nakamura’s works, which I can’t remember clearly, and have only the images on the Foundation Web site to base comments on. Her installations in reproduction look cold and foreboding. I look forward to an opportunity to see more.

Jeremy Gregory is an illustrator whose dark surrealistic style I do not particularly like, but I do like his use of color. See for yourself and see what you think.

I have recently reviewed Chandler O'Leary’s typography and Victorian-Art Nouveau illustrations in this column. They are very decorative and well designed.

Finally, James Porter. As with Nakamura, I haven’t seen enough of this artist’s work to make an informed judgment. His work is illustrational, which is one of the downsides to selections of this year’s nominees — the selections weigh too heavily on illustration and in particular illustrations that are influenced by Surrealism and the art of graphic novels.

See this year’s Foundation of Art Award nominees online and watch for them at area galleries and museums.

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