Murphy & Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards at SOMArts Cultural Center

by Admin on 09/16/2013

The Annual Jack and Gertrude Murphy Fellowships and the Edwin Anthony and Adelaine Bourdeaux Cadogan Art Awards have a distinguished record of highlighting some of the most talented visual artists from the San Francisco Bay Area’s Master of Fine Arts programs for over 25 years, whose work has illustrated some of the most innovative approaches to an interdisciplinary practice. In their attempt to  identify young artists whose work intersects with emerging trends, they have featured artists who utilize these trends in unique ways, making them relevant to their own personal interests and artistic attempts. Founded by the Murphy and Cadogan families who were practicing artists as well as prominent civic leaders of their time in the San Francisco Bay Area, this award is a particularly unique meaning to the local contemporary art community.

The coinciding exhibition of artwork by this year’s 27 recipients at SOMArts Cultural Center features a wide assortment of media. Genevieve Hasting’s The Roadhouse Theater: A Stratochronistic Exhibit On Longing invited audiences into a quaint log cabin, where nostalgic black and white film reels plays on loop of  World War II-era young couple in a romantic, smiling embraces. Outside the installation, a “Love Letter Writing Station,” prompts participants to  write their own love letters, which are later displayed within the installation. Inside the media room, audiences  are engaged in a deeply profound experience surrounded by Shay Arick’s videos from his “LIFE” series, wherein the artist re-enacts photographs of violence from Life Magazine. Says Arick: “I choose snapshots of violent acts that were caught on camera. In each video I reenact the photographic scene, playing different roles and re-posing specific body gestures of the people photographed.” Arick’s videos, however, do not portray a live-action reenactment of the scene, but engage with the climactic tension of the photograph, mixing the expectation of movement from film with the highly visceral ability of a photograph to freeze significant moments in time. Paintings by Sarah Ammons, a self-confessed “compulsive reader of expressions and their beholders,” renders portraits of her subjects within activities of everyday life, presenting her sitter within several different poses. At first, it seems as if Ammons depicts her characters in such this way in order to convey a sense of motion, but a deeper reading of their visages and the nuances of body language, audiences are also prompted to consider each figure as one of the sitter’s many personalities. Says Ammons, “I have been trying to express a postmodern reality of the self existing in a state of multiplicity.” For an uplifting preview into the future of San Francisco Bay Area arts, the Murphy & Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards exhibition at SOMArts is an opportunity that can’t be missed.


Murphy & Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards will be at SOMArts Cultural Center,  934 Brannan Street through September 28