2015 Hallie Ford Fellows Announced

Five Oregon Visual Artists named as 
Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts for 2015

June 3, 2015, Roseburg, Ore.: The Ford Family Foundation today named its 2015 Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts, recognizing five Oregon visual artists for demonstrated excellence of their work and potential for significant advancement in their practices of art.

Certificate listing the names of the awardees.A jury of five arts professionals selected Ben Buswell, MK Guth, Tom Prochaska, and Samantha Wall of Portland, and Jack Ryan of Eugene from a diverse pool of nearly 175 applicants. They each will receive a $25,000 unrestricted award and will join 15 of their peers selected over the last five years as Hallie Ford Fellows.

"We are pleased that this year, for the first time, we are able to expand the number of Hallie Ford Fellowships from three to five awards," said Anne Kubisch, president of the Foundation. “These five artists represent a range of mediums. They are all at different points in their careers, but they all have already demonstrated their artistic excellence and have also shown that they have significant future potential." 

Their selection by a panel of five arts professionals from within and outside of Oregon followed extensive individual review and collective debate. The jurists perceived each is at a pivotal moment of potential transition in his or her career and an infusion of resources now may help to catalyze each artist’s practice in transformative ways. 

Serving on the panel were: Julia Dolan, Minor White Curator of Photography, Portland Art Museum (Portland, Ore.); Catharina Manchanda, Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, Wash.); Jan Schall, Sanders Sosland Curator, Modern Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, Mo.); John Weber, Founding Director of the Institute of the Arts and Sciences at the University of California (Santa Cruz, Calif.); and Namita Gupta Wiggers, independent writer, curator, and educator (Portland, Ore.).

The 2015 recipients were selected based on the following criteria: 

  • Quality of their work: artistic excellence/exemplary talent and depth of sophisticated exploration evidenced in past work,
  • Evolution of their work: whether the individual is poised at a pivotal point in his or her practice and would benefit from a Fellowship at this time of career, and
  • Effect of the Fellowship on their work: how the Fellowship goals are consistent with the artist's goals, potential for future accomplishment and capacity both to improve individual work and contribute significantly to Oregon's visual arts ecology.


Ben Buswell: Sculpture, installation - practicing artist and Lead Faculty of the Sculpture Program at Portland Community College, Rock Creek Campus (Portland, Ore.). Prior to joining PCC's faculty he served as an Instructor at Oregon State University's Jumpstart Program for 10 years, and also taught at Clark College, Mt. Hood Community College, Clackamas Community College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Buswell was born in Dallas, Oregon and received his Bachelor of Fine Art (cum laude) from Oregon State University. Shortly thereafter he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison earning both an MA and his Master in Fine Art by 2005. He has exhibited in four notable solo shows in the last several years, a feat paralleled by few other artists. They include: I Do Not Belong to the Sky at The Art Gym (2015), We Live Only Through Ourselves at Upfor (2013), The Shadow and the Willing at Helzer Gallery (2010) and TENNESSEE at TILT Gallery and Project Space (2008). Buswell’s work has been included in Portland2012: A Biennial of Contemporary Art at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center and The Oregon Biennial at the Portland Art Museum (2006). He has shown in numerous group exhibitions as well in Oregon, California, Washington, New York, Wisconsin, Brazil and London. In 2011 and again in 2014, Buswell was awarded Career Opportunity Grants from The Oregon Arts Commission and The Ford Family Foundation as well as a Golden Spot Residency at OCAC. His work is included in several private and public collections. 

Artist Quote: "I am always touching the world in an effort to build an intuitive sense of how materials communicate through their presence. I have a firm belief that we exist only through our bodies, that we are wholly physical things. So material and sculptural presence, as surrogates for this idea, are embedded in the way I think about content. My work is the interaction of the spaces between things: more specifically the space between us. I am looking for the space right before the story is told, the place where we agree to listen."

MK Guth: Sculpture, photography, video, performance and interactive-based exchange projects - practicing artist and Associate Professor at Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland). Guth received her Bachelor of Art in sociology and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, followed by her Masters in Fine Art in studio art at New York University (New York City). Through her work she re-imagines traditional fables and popular fantasies, inserting new, hybrid mythologies into the public realm as vehicles for agency, empathy, and social engagement. Her method is especially poignant given popular culture’s obsession with reality television and other forms of mass mediation. She has exhibited in nearly 20 solo or two-person exhibitions over the past 15 years, including the Whitney Biennial 2008. Guth’s braid installations cross make-believe with all-too-real social and political disappointments; they are shot with potential born of disillusionment. She has exhibited with numerous galleries and institutions including The Whitney Museum of American Art; Boise Art Museum; The Melbourne International Arts Festival; Nottdance Festival, Nottingham, England; Swiss Institute, New York City; Betty Moody, Houston, Texas; White Columns, New York City; Artists Space, New York City; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; and A Gentil Carioca Gallery, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Guth’s videos have screened nationally and internationally. Her work has been discussed in periodicals including The New York Times, Flash Art, New Art Examiner, and Art in America. She has received significant recognition, including the Betty Bowen and the Bonnie Bronson Fellowship Awards.

Artist Quote: ”Small shifts in what is familiar amplify human presence and speak to the intricacies of social relations in my work. As my work evolved my interest became how art physically engages an audience beyond the contemplative state of viewing. My current still lifes can exist as a collection of objects on display or they can be activated through the production of the dinner or by taking the books off the shelves to engage with them directly.” 

Tom Prochaska: Painting, Printmaking - practicing studio artist and retired Professor of Printmaking, Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland). Prochaska received a Bachelor of Art in Painting and a second in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Wisconsin). He earned his Masters in Fine Art in Painting and Printmaking from the Pratt Institute in New York City (New York). His work has been exhibited in solo shows for the past 45 years in Oregon, Washington, California, Georgia, Wisconsin, New York and Switzerland. He has also appeared in numerous group exhibitions as well. Over the years he has received a number of awards including from the Los Angeles Print Society, from WESTAF/National Endowment for the Arts Regional Fellowship; Oregon Painters Fellowship funded by the NEA, and most recently the Ray Trayle Print Prize. His work is held in numerous corporate and public collections in North Carolina, California, Oregon, Washington, New York, Georgia, and China. Prochaska's work has appeared in a number of periodicals, including Oregon Art Watch, ArtWrit, New Glass Review, and Southwest Art Magazine. 

Artist Quote: "Working without obvious intention is my avenue of exploration. My concern is to discover something, surprise myself, touch or reveal some magic through the process of simply working. So I put down paint with a brush or pallet knife, some black and some white, and the process begins. At this point the painting maintains an ambiguity and remains very open to the viewer's interpretation. My current large works have combined my painting voice with my printmaking sensibilities and taken me to a place that holds a new found content and magic."

Jack Ryan: Sculpture - Associate Professor of Art and Founding Director of the Core Studio program at the University of Oregon since 2008. Ryan, who is also a faculty member at The School of Visual Arts in New York during summer semesters, attended Hunter College (New York) and earned his Masters in Fine Art with distinction from the University of Georgia (Athens). He is co-director of Ditch Projects (Springfield), director of Pacific Sky Exhibitions (Eugene), and is a member of Fugitive Projects - a Nashville based collective beehive curatorial body and artist advocacy group he helped found. His practice uses sound as a conduit to explore distortions in contemporary culture. His recent exhibitions include The American University Museum (Washington, DC), Powerhouse (Memphis), Brooks Museum (Memphis), Crawlspace (Seattle), Hunter Museum (Chattanooga), Cascade Gallery (Portland), The Frist Center (Nashville), and Consolidated Works (Seattle). Recent screenings include The Hirshhorn Museum (Washington, DC), MICA (Baltimore), The IMAFY (Cairo, Egypt), Dublin Electronics Arts Festival (Ireland), Ausstellungsraum Klingental (Basel, Switzerland), 21 Grand (San Francisco), and The Phillips Collection (Washington, DC). Research awards recently brought him to residencies in Iceland and to the New Media Institute in Banff, Canada. Ryan has received a number of grants and fellowship awards and residencies, including the Oregon Individual Artist Fellowship granted by the Oregon Arts Commission, the Banff Center's New Media Institute Summit Senior Fellowship as well as an interactive screen residency and an Icelandic Research Residency made possible by the Tennessee State Arts Commission.

Artist Quote: "My early work revolved around the grand poetics of the sublime and the melancholy of its (Oregon) citizens. I now identify as a sculptor who toys with different tools to activate objects. I play with media's materiality and the expectations of their dimensional associations. I consider how media functions, succeeds, and fails in multiple forms scrutinizing systems of representation."

Samantha Wall: Drawing - practicing studio artist and former Instructor of Pre-College Studios at Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland) with which she has been associated since 2009 in various instructor, teaching assistant, mentor, and guest critic capacities. Wall was born and lived until she was four years of age in Seoul, Korea. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art from the University of South Carolina in 2001 and ten years later followed with her Masters in Fine Arts in Visual Studies from PNCA. Wall has shown in ten solo exhibitions since 2001 - In Oregon, California, South Carolina and Louisiana. She has also been included in numerous group exhibitions in Oregon, Washington, Louisiana, West Virginia, New York City and Italy. She is the recipient of a Contemporary Northwest Art Award for 2015 from the Portland Art Museum (as well as having been a nominee in 2012), an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts commission and a Joan Mitchell Center Residency in New Orleans. Wall has also been named a Brink Award Nominee by the Henry Art Gallery and has received numerous merit scholarship awards and grants to pursue professional development opportunities. 

Artist Quote: "My experiences as a multiracial woman form the bedrock for my creative research and the understanding that those experiences influence how I navigate through the world constructs the conceptual framework for my practice. When I was little I didn't want to feel different and wanted to believe that it didn't matter how I looked. But it absolutely has. My recent series of portraits record the expressions of women whose features resist racial categorization. They, like myself, have learned to navigate between social and cultural boundaries that attempt to ascribe a false or incomplete identity based on physical characteristics."

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