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Top Students Attract Gallery Directors & Editors from Across the Country to Juried Exhibit

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Savvy collectors, directors of leading fine art galleries, editors searching for superior creative talent, and passionate art enthusiasts all converged on May 21, 2009 for the Academy of Art University’s display of fresh, award-winning art. AAU has a nationwide reputation for innovation through expanding its curriculum to include new technology and industry trends, while staying true to its foundation in fine art. Each year the school graduates an extraordinary class of fine artists who have mastered their craft and elevated their artistry in painting, sculpture, and works on paper. The sheer breadth of talent on view at the Academy of Art University Annual Spring Show has made it the west coast’s most highly anticipated event for discovering exceptional emerging artists.

As in years past, the 2009 Annual Spring Show Opening culminated with the announcement of dozens of School of Fine Art Painting and Sculpture scholarship awards to exceptionally dedicated students ready to make a fresh and influential mark on the art world. The results of the juried award selection for the School of Fine Art’s departments of Painting, Printmaking, and Sculpture showcase the acclaimed artistic talent on display at the 2009 Annual Spring Show.

Highlights from the Academy of Art University 2009 Annual Spring Show will be on view at 79 Gallery from June 18, 2009 through August 1, 2009. 79 Gallery is located at 79 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6PM, Saturday from 9AM to 5PM, and closed Sundays and holidays.

Among exhibiting students from the Academy of Art University’s Graduate School of Fine Art Painting, Claudia Rilling received two top awards for View from Columbus 2, including First Place in MFA Landscape Painting and the prestigious MFA Director’s Choice Award from Graduate Fine Art Painting Director Mark Tennant. Well-versed in classical drawing and design, Rilling brilliantly translates the shape and composition of San Francisco’s rooftops to canvas, offering an intriguing new point of view. Promising MFA Painting graduate student Juntae Kim received Second Place in MFA Landscape Painting for the stunning realism displayed in Stockton Street.

Daniel Ochoa excelled at the AAU Annual Spring Show a second year in a row, by winning First Place in MFA Figurative Painting for Ross. Profiled in the Spring 2009 issue of ARTWORKS, Ochoa is currently represented by Hang Art in San Francisco and the Julie Nester Gallery in Park City, UT. “The experiences I had growing up in a bicultural family fuel the imagery and emotional quality of my work,” shares Ochoa, whose artwork delves into both “the visceral and superficial nature” of his subjects. Aileen Chong won First Place in MFA Non-Figurative Painting with Serenidad. Chong explores her own multi-ethnic background through abstracting from ideas and emotions. Her work is currently represented by Togonon Gallery in San Francisco.

The Academy of Art University’s Undergraduate School of Fine Art Painting presents an exceptional range of artwork with its 2009 student award winners. Veteran Spring Show award winner Hsin-Yao Tseng won First Place in BFA Still Life Painting for Constraint, First Place in BFA Landscape Painting for Summer Impression, Second Place in BFA Figure Painting for Golden Silence, as well as one of three Best BFA Body of Work Awards. Tseng’s adeptness at combining expressive brushwork with polished compositions exemplifies the beautiful results of the Academy of Art University’s signature emphasis on classical foundations in its curriculum. Rachel Gillen also received significant recognition for a second year in a row by winning First Place in BFA Abstract Painting for Shutterbug, as well as a Best BFA Body of Work Award.

Reflecting great promise as an emerging artist, Mandy Berglund won First Place in BFA Contemporary Painting with Road Trip. Utilizing digitally manipulated personal photographs of her childhood for reference, Berglund strikingly translates the dream-like quality of memory to canvas. Jasper Figueroa, winner of First Place in BFA Figure Painting for Parrot Village Crew, admires the technique of William Bouguereau. However, Figueroa’s inspiration comes from the struggles he witnessed of his family and friends touched by violence in his economically depressed neighborhood. Also bringing a deeply personal touch to her figurative painting, Lisa Mistiuk received the BFA Director’s Choice Award from Undergraduate Director of Fine Art Painting Craig Nelson for Kai Painting. “I hope to inspire people with a deep appreciation for their lives,” shares Mistiuk.

Shining in the Works on Paper department, undergraduate student Malcolm Browne won both First Place and Second Place in BFA Printmaking. His monotypes showcase distinctive juxtapositions of portraits with birds-eye views of cityscapes and even galaxies. His classmate, Eriko Yamada, won the BFA Faculty Printmaking Choice Award for the silkscreen work Parade. Originally from rural Japan, Yamada consciously draws on her rich cultural heritage with visual influences from Kimono textile patterns, as well as Japanese mythology and folklore. Among graduate printmaking submissions, Forest Stearns won First Place in MFA Printmaking and the MFA Faculty Printmaking Choice Award for Sustainable Organics.

The Academy of Art University’s acclaimed School of Fine Art Sculpture also honored its top students with awards for their exceptional achievements. Lindsey Eisentraut won First Place in MFA Sculpture Best of Show for her several bronze sculpture and metal arts jewelry works accepted to the 2009 Annual Spring Show. Inspired by organic forms found in nature, Eisentraut often incorporates shells, seedpods, and other objects into her sculpture with great attention to detail and craftsmanship. Recent honors for Eisentraut include receiving the Women’s Jewelry Association Scholarship and the Raident Technology Scholarship. Eisentraut’s stunning metal arts accessories were also featured in the 2009 Academy of Art University Spring Fashion Show, through a celebrated collaboration with School of Fashion students.

Killean Evans won the MFA Director’s Choice Award from Fine Art Sculpture Graduate Director Charlene Modena for Reaction and Trail of Thought, two artworks exemplifying her passion for metal arts. Evans manipulates the rigid planes of shapes to create an open dialogue with her viewer and evoke a sense of wonder. Also making a strong impression on the Fine Art Sculpture jury, Mike Feeney won Second Place in MFA Sculpture Best of Show for gooba and narple. A recipient with Eisentraut for the 2008 Raident Technology Scholarship, Feeney thrives on using both “low” and “high” technologies in his technical process. From designing aspects of his intricate sculptures through CAD software to pouring molten bronze or iron into molds, Feeney enjoys the “hands-on” quality of creating sculpture.

Among School of Fine Art Sculpture undergraduate students, Elliot Gaskin's dazzling pieces for the 2009 Annual Spring Show and School of Fashion collaboration project earned him First Place in BFA Sculpture Best of Show. Inspired by his mother’s work as an artist to pursue a career as a sculptural jewelry artist, Gaskin’s strikingly intricate creations push the limits of scale, dimension, color and texture in one-of-a-kind pieces. “Through my work I hope to express the three-dimensional possibilities of sculptural jewelry and the relation between mechanical and organic forms,” shares Gaskin. In addition, Bora Hwang won the BFA Director’s Choice Award from Fine Art Sculpture Assistant Director Margaret Keelan for Animal Robots in Nature. Hwang created delightful, robot-like creatures evoking complexity and playfulness. Carefully fabricated for clever interaction with the viewer, each artwork comes apart to reveal a precious object nestled inside.

Powerfully showcasing her personal experiences with Type I Diabetes through metal arts and installation sculpture, BFA Sculpture student Kelsey Simmen won the newly endowed Schifrin/Falkenberg Award for Excellence from AAU School of Fine Art Sculpture Director Peter Schifrin. Her compelling installation work A Week in My Life presents seventy syringes full of homemade sugar crystals representing a week’s worth of treatment when her health insurance no longer covered her insulin pump. The Schifrin/Falkenberg Award for Excellence was founded by Jon Falkenberg, an Academy of Art University graduate student, who was greatly inspired by Peter Schifrin’s passionate approach to sculpture and education.

Reflecting the Academy of Art University School of Fine Art Sculpture’s strength and commitment to the contemporary interpretation of the figure, Zachary Roberts won Best Traditional Figurative Sculpture and Rex Waters won Second Place in BFA Sculpture Best of Show. Zachary Roberts has set himself apart by his stunning ability to gracefully capture expression of movement. Deftly working in both bronze and ceramic, Roberts sculpts the many physical details of animal and human figures into three-dimensional portraits in action. His series Human Nature juxtaposes animal and human features in the same work, highlighting the dual presence of instinct and rationale. Rex Waters also made a distinct impression on gallery directors visiting the Annual Spring Show with his emphasis on detailed expression and human gesture in his series focusing on the homeless in San Francisco. Combining the malleability of clay with masterful attention to detail, Waters perceptively brings both the physical and emotional aspects of homelessness to the viewer’s awareness.

Fusing her passion for figurative sculpture, fashion, and metal arts, BFA student Adrianne Alusha won Best Fabricated Sculpture. Her steel works Self-Containment and Lady in Bloom showcase the inspiration she gains from exploring the nature of femininity. Finally, Brandy Murad impressed the Fine Art Sculpture jury with her accomplished blending of painting and ceramic sculpture techniques to create a model theater set installation. Winning First Place in Best Ceramic Sculpture for Sundae Afternoon, Murad evokes the magic and innocence of childhood fantasies. Her work references another era through its antique finishes and small-scale historic costumes, effortlessly transporting her viewer out of the present moment.

Academy of Art University | Claudia Rilling | Daniel Ochoa | Hsin-Yao Tseng | Mandy Berglund |

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