Portland Art Museum Announces the Recipient of the Arlene Schnitzer Prize

During the opening celebration of the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards, Museum Director Brian Ferriso announced Seattle artist John Grade as the recipient of the prestigious $10,000 Arlene Schnitzer Prize. The prize winner is chosen by Ferriso and the Museum’s curators and selected from the seven artists featured in the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards.

“John Grade’s rigorous conceptual framework articulated by beautiful and elaborate sculptural forms distinguished his art among the other objects. We are honored to have this deeply committed and skilled artist receive the second Arlene Schnitzer Prize,” said Ferriso.

A longtime Northwest resident, Grade has traveled extensively and his exposure to diverse cultures has deeply shaped his artistic vision. The land, and its propensity for change, has had a profound effect on his work. His often massive, site-related constructions involve the passage of time and performance while engaging natural elements and random change to ultimately complete his sculptural works.

The centerpiece of his installation in the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards exhibition is Fold (2011). With its intricate lacelike gridded form it mirrors patterns found in nature such as honey combs, metamorphic rock, and cross-sections of wasps nests. The sculpture also references the ancient grave sites and eroding villages Grade observed during his world travels shortly after his 1992 graduation from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Constructed of wood and resin that the artist pre-tested to determine its attraction to termites, the sculpture was designed to be transported to a termite infested area, and buried. It is one of a number of such works currently buried around the American west. Grade’s work sends an eerie reminder that even mankind’s most ambitious works may eventually succumb to nature’s forces.

Grade’s sculptures, documentary photographs, and videos have been exhibited in galleries and museums nationwide and in Europe including at L’H du Siège, Valenciennes and Foret Domaniale de Raismes, France; Fabrica, Brighton, United Kingdom; Boise Art Museum, Idaho; Bellevue Art Museum, Washington; Davidson Galleries, Seattle; and Cynthia Reeves Gallery, New York. He has earned numerous grants and awards including an Artist Trust Foundation fellowship, an Andy Warhol Foundation Award, and a Tiffany Foundation Award. In 2010, he won the prestigious Willard L. Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York. This prize, like the Arlene Schnitzer Prize, is bestowed upon a young artist whose work exhibits “great promise.” He has received a number of grants during his career including grants from the Pollock Krasner Foundation (twice awarded); the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; City of Seattle, City Artists Program; 4Culture (awarded four times), King County Project Grant; and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation.

About the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards
(through September 11, 2011)
The second Contemporary Northwest Art Awards exhibition showcases seven exceptional Northwest artists. The exhibition explores the work of Chris Antemann, John Buck, John Grade, Jerry Iverson, Susie Lee, Megan Murphy, and Michelle Ross.

Image: Payson Facade close-up: Charles Shipman Payson Building, Portland Museum of Art, Maine. Photo by Craig Becker

Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97205.
503.226.2811, [email protected]


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