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Josh Faught Named 2009 Betty Bowen Award Winner
Josh Faught, Untitled, 2009. Mixed media, 36 x 36 x 12 inches.

SEATTLE, WA.- The Betty Bowen Committee, chaired by Gary Glant, has announced Josh Faught as winner of the 31st annual Betty Bowen Award, which comes with an unrestricted cash-prize of $15,000. A selection of Faught’s work will be on view at the Seattle Art Museum beginning in October 2009.

Jenny Heishman was awarded the PONCHO Special Recognition award in the amount of $2,500, and Matthew Offenbacher was selected to receive the Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award in the amount of $2,500. Five finalists chosen from a pool of 494 applicants from Washington, Oregon and Idaho, including Sean Johnson and Jovencio de la Paz, competed for the $20,000 in awards.

Faught, Heishman and Offenbacher will receive their awards and discuss their work at a special ceremony on Friday, October 23, from 6-7 pm in the Plestcheeff Auditorium at SAM downtown. A public reception will follow from 7-8 pm in SAM’s Arnold Board Room. Both the ceremony and reception are free and open to the public.

Josh Faught (b. 1979) 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. Combining 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. His work is currently on view in Call + Response, at the Portland Museum of Contemporary Craft. He is represented by Lisa Cooley Gallery in New York and will have his first solo show with the gallery opening January 9, 2010. 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 (b. 1971) received an M.F.A. from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, in 1998. She served as Artist in Residence at the Vermont Studio Center in 2006 and at the Pilchuck School of Glass in 2005. She currently lives in Seattle. She was featured in the 2007 solo show Complexions at Howard House in Seattle and was part of the group exhibition Second Peoples in April 2009 at The Helm in Tacoma. She was a finalist for the Betty Bowen Award in 2006. Most recently, her piece, Water Mover, commissioned by the City of Seattle, was chosen for the Public Art Network’s national Year in Review, Top 40 Public Art Projects. Heishman’s aesthetic is influenced by growing up in Florida, an environment full of alternate realities like Disney World, beach culture and summer weather year round. This exposure to fantasy and the need to “construct” the change of seasons, re-surfaces in her sculptural objects through the use of illusion. Heishman uses painted faux surfaces, shifts in material, and altered found objects to reorient the viewer’s relationship to form and space, providing a humorous challenge to perceptions of real and fake.

Matthew Offenbacher (b. 1971) 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 and La Especial Norte, a Seattle-based ‘zine he created for artists’ writings. 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 to his role as an artist. Offenbacher is currently working on The Gift Shop, on view at the Henry Art Gallery through January 31, 2010. Beginning October 1, his work will also be on view in an upcoming solo show, C.A.T., at Howard House.

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.

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.

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