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Finalists selected for the 2017 Betty Bowen Award
Tannaz Farsi, Points of Departure, 2017, installation, Courtesy of the artist, ©Tannaz Farsi.

SEATTLE, WA.- The Seattle Art Museum and the Betty Bowen Committee, chaired by Gary Glant, announced today the five artists selected as finalists for this year’s Betty Bowen Award. The juried award honors a Northwest artist for their original, exceptional, and compelling work. The award was founded in 1977 to honor the legacy of Betty Bowen (1918–1977), who was an avid champion of artists in the Pacific Northwest. It was therefore established as a regional award, to celebrate her dedication to the arts of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho and to continue her support of artists in this region. Founded by Bowen’s friends, the award is administered by SAM.

The Betty Bowen Committee—comprising Northwest curators, collectors, and former Betty Bowen Award winners—reviewed 517 applications from visual artists residing in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. As in past years, artists of diverse backgrounds were encouraged to apply. One of this year’s finalists will receive an unrestricted cash award in the amount of $15,000 and will have their work displayed at the Seattle Art Museum beginning in April 2018. At the discretion of the Betty Bowen Committee, up to two Special Recognition Awards in the amount of $2,500 may be granted.

The winner is selected in a two-part jury process. In the first round, the applicants are reviewed anonymously. Over the course of two days, five or six finalists are selected from the pool of applicants. The finalists are then invited to present their work to the committee in person in the second round.

The winner of the 39th Annual Betty Bowen Award will be announced in September. The award will be formally presented in a free and open to the public celebration at the Seattle Art Museum on November 9.

Tannaz Farsi – Eugene, OR

Tannaz Farsi’s spatial and material practice poses questions around the politics of nationhood, diasporic identity, and colonialist legacies. She works in large-scale installations to create friction within familiar forms and explore the intersections of memory, history, identity, and geography. Her recent installation Points of Departure weaves together large-scale photographs, sculptures, text, plants, and light to create a network of relations that mine elements of Iranian visual culture.

Klara Glosova – Seattle, WA
Klara Glosova is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily in drawing and painting. In her series Life on the Sidelines, she depicts parents standing on the sidelines of athletic fields, exploring the various visual and thematic possibilities of expressing cosmic and universal truth through mundane imagery. Her most recent body of work within this series shifts focus away from the group towards the individual, getting ever closer to the subject and recasting her own perspective from remote observer to engaged participant.

Deborah Faye Lawrence – Seattle, WA
Deborah Faye Lawrence uses the medium of collage to analyze, categorize, and make meaning. She confronts and comments on social, emotional, historical, and current events through the process of cutting, manipulating, and composing found information. Her appropriation and re-contextualization of found images and other materials, including maps and flags, points to a tradition of politically engaged collage, while satirically and incisively addressing contemporary concerns.

Jono Vaughan – Seattle, WA
Jono Vaughan’s ongoing series Project 42 is named for the short life expectancy of transgender individuals in the United States. The project, begun in 2012, aims to raise awareness of extreme violence against trans people by commemorating 42 murdered individuals. For each work in the series, the artist designs a garment that begins with an image of a murder location, which is then digitally manipulated to create an abstract textile print. The garment is then worn by a collaborator in performance, as a form of memorialization for the victim. Vaughan hopes this accessible approach will resonate with individuals who may otherwise object or turn away from the important issues communicated.

Ko Kirk Yamahira – Seattle, WA
Formally, Ko Kirk Yamahira’s work traverses the boundaries between painting and sculpture, composition and decomposition. Interested in notions of self that encompass diverse and contradictory elements, his compositions aim to visually articulate these themes in abstract terms.

Gary Glant, Mark Calderon, Amanda Donnan, Mike Hess, Sonal Khullar, Mark Levine, Catharina Manchanda, Llewelyn Pritchard, Greg Robinson, Norie Sato, Maggie Walker, Dan Webb

Honorary Member: Jeffrey Bishop

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