2017 Recipients

  • Danielle Owensby - Photography

    X Days of Trauma One Sheet for Each Day Since is an ongoing project with no foreseeable end. The artist’s goal is to collect one bedsheet for each day since the artist was sexually traumatized as a child. In an attempt to create a visual scale of the burden of such abuse, the installation is always growing and shifting as more sheets are collected. This obsession speaks to the anxiety of trauma and the experience of trying to move on and live life with the weight of the past. 
  • Christopher Flynn - Art & Art History

    The Antigravity Puppet Project The Antigravity Puppet Project integrates sculptural papermaking and print media with percussion music and sound art. The Puppet is a self-portrait, while The Antigravity Project is its dissection by image and sound. The Puppet, its fragmented image and its internal soundscape are played beside each other in translation games between graphic and musical forms. The structural details and narrative tendencies of the body’s image in exchange with the spatio-temporal qualities of musical noise generate an environment of performing objects. The allegory of the Puppet is told through percussion composition, photogravures, visual scores and data glitches. cflynnprints.com
  • Jessica Sladek - Photography

    The Actual Nature of Nature Jessica Sladek’s Wildness series is rooted in a fascination and reverence for the natural world, guided by a desire to represent our environment without idealization. The reliance on idyllic, picturesque portrayals of nature throughout the Western landscape tradition has distanced viewers from the experience of natural environments, and created prescriptive views of where to look and what to value. Sladek’s focus on less-celebrated areas of wilderness implies that no one part of nature is more important than another. The artist’s ecological understanding of nature as a set of competing systems with symbiotic interconnections informs her dictate that no single component in her photographs outweigh another: all elements contend for our attention, as all are of equal value.
  • Liliana Alfaro - Photography

    Colación Alfaro grew up in a multigenerational home with her mother, aunt, and grandmother who made up the matriarchs of their household. In 1980, they immigrated to the United States along with the rest of her maternal family in order to escape the civil war in El Salvador. This project is an homage to the immigrants who came to the United States in search of a better life. It is a tribute to Latina womanhood and femininity.
  • Abdullah Azizi - Cinema Television Arts

    Driftless Driftless is a short film that follows an actress who is approaching the end of her career. While alone at a donut shop one night, she stumbles upon a young filmmaker who she convinces to make a film with her. The film is about characters who struggle to hold on to their dreams, while also coping with the inevitable transitions that approach our lives. This is the first scene of the film, where the characters meet and decide to embark on their journey together.
  • Woody Leslie - Art & Art History

    Words & Vegetables Words & Vegetables is an editioned artist’s book that explores the nature of memory through a series of autobiographical micro-memoirs and poetic typographical constructions. The book itself reflects the growing of a garden, with four sections representing the four seasons of the year. Each season thematically groups four types of written works, known as Crops, which are cultivated throughout the book: Memoiries (poetic memories about words or vegetables); Languegetables (one-word poems rooting vegetables in language and vice versa); Vegetables (giant-font iterations of veggies that draw attention to the physicality of words); and WeedWords (illustrative veggo-verbal growths). Through the progression of these pieces, the book draws strong parallels between words and vegetables as the same thing—entities grown, tended to, and consumed by humans.
  • Hernan Olivera - Cinema and Television Arts

    El Regreso de Ernesto Pagán (The Return of Ernesto Pagán) El Regreso de Ernesto Pagán is the MFA thesis short film of writer/director Hernán Olivera and producer Juan C. Linares. The story was inspired by an emerging funeral practice in some Latin American countries called “Muerto Parao” (Dead Man Standing), but transcends the theme of death to deal with immigration and the unique challenges of returning to a strange and unfamiliar home. The production was shot in Puerto Rico and gathered its cast and crew from various locales, including the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Ireland, and Uruguay.
  • Rebecca Memoli - Photography

    The Feeling is Mutual The Feeling Is Mutual is an exhibition curated by Rebecca Memoli at Rangefinder Gallery in Chicago that sought to examine the concept of family values through the work of four emerging portrait photographers with portrayals of subjects within their respective families, chosen as well as biological. The exhibition featured work by Samantha Belden, Nydia Blas, Blane Bussey, and Sarah Hiatt, and included a panel discussion centered around the idea of subjectivity in portraiture, and a full color catalog with an essay by Audrey Jane Black.
  • Jason Eckenroth - Art & Art History

    A Mending White A Mending White is a participatory video text installation that offers viewers an opportunity to place themselves inside a book of light, interrupting a complacent projection to confront constructions of whiteness and skin privilege. This project examines several aspects of these constructions: the paternalistic language of government policy throughout America’s attempts at racial legislation, the language of distancing the white self from responsibility, a reflection on the artist’s personal history of whiteness and paternal legacy, and the skin itself.
  • Anahid Ghorbani - Photography

    THIS IS BLACK “I walk on the edge of the shadow. Yet, in that moment, I cannot imagine my own freedom and selfhood where I am able to move from darkness and into the light. I use barren landscapes to represent a sense of powerlessness, and water as a symbolic pathway to escape to freedom.” – Anahid Ghorbani The Color is Black is an installation-based artwork engaged with the oppression of women and denial of identity. Using these tools, the artist explores their emotional responses and experiences to the dehumanization of women, particularly in Iranian culture. Ghorbani’s emphasis on the absence of light, the color black, is a visual metaphor for the obfuscation of the individual.
  • Zachary Rupp - Humanities History & Social Sciences

    Detropia Detropia is a despondent, coming-of-age tale that reimagines the tragic reality of individuals deemed “witch-children” in developing African countries in a post-developed Detroit. The term "witch children" is used as a way to isolate and scapegoat children with physical disablements by ascribing their uniqueness to supernatural forces and powers. Presented in comic book form, Detropia follows two groups of kids—one living in the abandoned Belle Isle Zoo, the other in the decrepit houses—through conversations about childhood, race, class, and victimization. The story is created and written by Zackary Rupp and illustrated by Jeff Sadzinski, with variant cover art by Adeladio Olea.
  • Edward Seitz - Cinema and Television Arts

    Living in the Moment Web Series Living In The Moment – The Experience (LITM), directed/produced/written by Eddie Seitz, is an immersive, improv-based, 30-minute web series shot as a series of vignettes. Focusing on sexuality, it evokes questions about gender roles, hypermasculinity, sexual orientation, body image, and the importance of being one’s true self. Seitz says “LITM is about living within the present state, a state free from judgment from ourselves or others, encouraging viewers to subvert their ideas of modern stereotypes, as well as understand that growing up comes from learning to accept failure.” Featuring a diverse range of cast and crew members, this pilot was shot in both traditional 2D and 360-degrees over a 42-hour weekend by over 20 Columbia College Chicago Students.
  • Kyra Peterson - Design

    Sense Sense is a two-part interdisciplinary project and sensory study of movement from within the body. Visuals, sound, and movement comprise the culmination of the artist’s discovery process thus far, presented as a short film capturing an improvisational exploration of texture, form, and tone throughout the body, and a book with drawings, text, and digitally-designed imagery to initiate one’s own self-awareness. Peterson says “Sense crosses many mediums working to instill a greater sense of self and physical realization of who we are as individuals while questioning how we define and compartmentalize art.”
  • Li Ma - Art & Art History

    Inside of a Horse Inside of Horse represents a combination of nature, spirit, text, and architecture through a sculpture that collects China’s anthropology, sociology, and linguistics within an image system.
  • Jeremy Weber - Art & Art History

    The Strangers Weber describes The Strangers as: a Sisyphean exercise |a disclosed and concealed [meta]narrative |a succession of checkouts | an unwitting collaboration | a contemporary survey | a series of islands | a rhythm composed of silence and jabber | a dialogue between such and such | a trial transcript |a tragic courtroom and comic streetcar | an interrogation devoid of hope | a vivisection of the body. Nothing but words, words, words.