The 34th Annual Betty Bowen Award CompetitionLEO BERK AS 2013 BETTY BOWEN AWARD WINNER
This year’s Betty Bowen Award recipient is Leo Berk. Berk’s work examines the ways in which built environments shape human interactions, psychology, and development. Most recently, he has focused on the environment of architect Bruce Goff’s iconic Ford House, where Berk spent his childhood. This body of work, which includes sculptures, videos, and photographs, is informed by childhood experience, historical research, and reflection of the transformative potential of exceptional architecture on the creative mind. Berk received an M.F.A. from the University of Washington and a B.F.A. from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He lives and works in Seattle, Washington. Recent solo shows of his work include Work Song at the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; Deep, Dark at the Lawrimore Project, Seattle; and the upcoming Uncertainty of Enclosure at INOVA, Milwaukee. His work has also been included in group shows at the Frye Art Museum, Seattle; Edward Cella Gallery, Los Angeles; and Galleri Erik Steen, Oslo, Norway, among others.
Jack Daws was selected to receive the Special Recognition Award in the amount of $2,500, and Sol Hashemi was awarded the Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award in the amount of $2,500. In photographs, slightly altered found objects, and mixed media sculptural works, Daws’ work addresses complex socio-political issues with a sardonic wit that aims to generate a dialogue and “invite a more conscious and livable world.” Hashemi juxtaposes reproductions and real objects in disquieting still live arrangements, which emphasize the endless cycle of image and product consumption to such an extent that the two begin to blur. Digital printing techniques allow him to render product packages and the imagery on them--including fruits and plants-- in such intense color and clarity that the images look more “real” than an actual object. Both artists live and work in the Seattle area.
Six finalists, including Jen Graberczyk, Wynne Greenwood, and Anthony Sonnenberg, chosen from a pool of 627 applicants from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, competed for the award.
What is the Betty Bowen Award?
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 Betty Bowen committee chooses one artist living and working in the Northwest (Washington, Oregon and Idaho) to receive an unrestricted cash award. View a list of past winners.
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Waking to His Dream, Leo Berk, veneer, 60 x 60 x 18 in. Photo: Leo Berk