At the members opening reception for the 2009 Portland Museum of Art
Biennial on Tuesday evening, April 7, four prizes were awarded to artists in the exhibition. The Purchase Prizes were awarded to three artists: Mary Aro for her three paintings Trailer Home on Polka Valley Road, Microwaves, and End of the Burn; Julianna Swaney for her three drawings Wolfgirl, Beebeard, and Central Park, March 6, 1890; and Sean Foley for his painting Accuser. The Purchase Prizes are chosen by select members of the Museums Collection Committee and will become part of the Museums permanent collection. The William E. and Helen E. Thon Jurors Prize of $4,000 was awarded to installation artist Wade Kavanaugh for Falsework.
Biennials at the Portland Museum of Art have evolved since 1998 and have gained popularity as one of the foremost venues for contemporary art in the state. The three jurors-Elizabeth Burke, art consultant and former co-director of Clementine Gallery in New York; Dan Graham, a video, installation, and performance artist based in New York; and Denise Markonish, curator at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams-chose 29 works culled from a record 970 applicants. Of the artists chosen, seven have participated in previous Biennial exhibitions. The 2009 Biennial is the sixth exhibition in a series that highlights work by both emerging and established artists associated with Maine. The works represent a wide range of media, from painting, drawing, printmaking, and photography to sculpture, installation, and video. The 2009 Portland Museum of Art Biennial will be on view from April 8 through June 7, 2009 at the Portland Museum of Art.