With ArtPrize X only 2 weeks away (Sept. 19-Oct. 7), we felt that a retrospective writing was necessary to reflect on some of the past winners of the coveted event. For those who don't know about ArtPrize, it is a Grand Rapids community-driven event that started by Rick DeVos in 2009. Coined as a "social experiment" at first, it was planned to be the world’s largest art prize based solely on a public vote.
It turned out to be just that and more. Now, embarking on its 10th year, there has been plenty to celebrate. This two-part blog will take some time to reflect on those winners. These are the results of the public vote and do not entirely reflect the Juror's decisions.
2017 Grand Prize Winner - A. Lincoln
From the ArtPrize website: "Over 24,000 Lincoln pennies were used to create a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Included are the use of 1,681 1943 steel pennies (for the shirt). Every year from 1909, the first year of the Lincoln cents, through 2017 is represented in the piece, which measures 8 feet wide by 12 feet high—a total of 96 square feet. It took about 315 hours to complete. The image changes as the viewer moves from side to side and views the piece from different angles and distances."
2016 Grand Prize Winner - Wounded Warrior Dogs
From the ArtPrize Website: "The Wounded Warrior Dogs Project is a traveling exhibition of wooden dog sculptures created by master Ohio craftsman James Mellick. The dogs are intended to be symbolic of the sacrifice and exhibit the same wounds as their human companions in battle. The installation of wounded and rehabilitated dogs intends to raise awareness and focus the attention on the sacrifice and needs of wounded veterans. To this end, these sculptures are not for sale but their display is for the purpose of raising money at various exhibition venues and donations will be made to local veterans organizations that serve wounded warriors. Six dogs representing service in various wars make up this project. The seventh dog, under the flag, made the ultimate sacrifice. This display is highly evocative in content and craftsmanship. The first three dogs won the People's Choice award at the Ohio State Fair and all seven were recently at the Canton Museum of Art. Commissions inspired by this display are welcomed."
2015 Grand Prize Winner - Northwood Awakening
From the ArtPrize Website: "Our piece represents the renewal of flora in our Northernwoods forests as it awakens from winter hibernation. First the leeks sprout and are soon follower by Dutchman's Breeches, Hepatica, Jack-in-the-pulpit, Morel mushrooms and Trillium. The freshness in the air and the wash of soft to vibrant greens pushing through the ground cover of dead leaves and the trees just beginning to bud awaken our senses and energize us. It gives us a feeling of renewal in our own lives as we hike the many trails in Benzie County like we have also been awoken from our hibernation. Our creation begins as a traditional photographic print on the left then blends various fabrics and textiles to metamorphose into an entirely quilted textile on the right. This utilizes many varies textures, some printed photographically and some as dyed batiks. Though created as separate panels, the finished composition is viewed as a continuous unbroken image. It took over 1000 hours to create."
2014 Grand Prize Winner - Intersections
From the ArtPrize Website: "In the ‘Intersections’ project, the geometrical patterning in Islamic sacred spaces, associated with certitude is explored in a way that reveals it fluidity. The viewer is invited to confront the contradictory nature of all intersections, while simultaneously exploring boundaries. My goal is to explore the binaries of public and private, light and shadow, and static and dynamic by relying on the purity and inner symmetry of geometric design, and the interpretation of the cast shadows. The form of the design and its layered, multidimensional variations will depend both on the space in which it is installed, the arrangement of the installation, and the various paths that individuals take while experiencing the space. The Intersections project takes the seminal experience of exclusion as a woman from a space of community and creativity such as a Mosque and translates the complex expressions of both wonder and exclusion that have been my experience while growing up in Pakistan. The wooden frieze emulates a pattern from the Alhambra, which was poised at the intersection of history, culture and art and was a place where Islamic and Western discourses, met and co-existed in harmony and served as a testament to the symbiosis of difference. For me the familiarity of the space visited at the Alhambra Palace and the memories of another time and place from my past, coalesced in creating this project. My intent with this installation was to give substance to mutualism, exploring the binaries of public and private, light and shadow, and static and dynamic. This installation project relies on the purity and inner symmetry of geometric design, the interpretation of the cast shadows and the viewer’s presence within a public space."
Next week we will be taking a look at the winners from 2009-2013.