This year's Betty Bowen Award recipient is Jenny Heishman (American, born 1971). With a practice akin to an alchemist, Heishman creates approachable objects that elicit misunderstanding and require a shift in perspective. Using a variety of run-of-the-mill materials including aluminum foil, ceramic tiles, paper, tape, fabric and Styrofoam, Heishman alters the way we experience the use of these humble items. Encountering her works on paper and in sculpture, one recognizes her misuse of material and her interest in broken patterns, faux surfaces and optical illusions. Heishman has said: “I’m curious about the fissure, the disturbance that the experience of being with these works creates in the body, and what happens in the oscillation between knowing and not knowing.” Her work encourages us to find pleasure in the act of looking and her playful gestures reward us with multiple visual surprises. Heishman received an MFA from Ohio State University in 1998. She is a Bainbridge Island, WA resident and works in Seattle.
Betty Bowen (1918–1977) was a Washington native and enthusiastic supporter of Northwest artists. Her friends established the annual Betty Bowen Award as a celebration of her life and to honor and continue her efforts to provide financial support to artists of the region. Since 1977, SAM has hosted the yearly grant application process by which the selection committee chooses one artist living and working in the Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho) to receive an unrestricted cash award.
Mummy Arm, Jenny Heishman, drywall tape, enamel paint, gator foam, wood
35 x 7 x 26 in., Photo: Jenny Heishman