Previous Winners

2019

1st Prize—Erick Anderson—Untitled

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An artwork. The background is gray. In the bottom-right-hand corner, there's a large dark blue rectangle. There is a checkerboard pattern along the right edge, and then across most of the top edge, before turning down the left side, and then turning left and off the left edge. This checkerboard pattern is dark blue up until half-way up the right side, before turning green for the rest of it. In the upper-right-hand corner of the work, there's a yellow shape abstractly in the form of a saucepan. In the upper left, there's a large yellow shape that covers some of the checkerboard pattern, consisting of a rectangle, with a tall rectangle protruding out the left side of the top edge. Out of that protrusion, there's an L-shaped form that comes out of the left side of it, and then turns up. In the lower part of the left edge, there's a red form that starts out rectangular at the top, and then in the lower part becomes trapezoidal. Starting from the area around that red shape, there's a desert sand colored region stretching over to the blue rectangle in the lower-right corner.

Medium: Acrylic on panel
My work exists at the intersection of digital imaging technologies and analog painting. The formal structure in this painting came from shapes and patterns which I took from photographs and cut up and reconfigured in photoshop. My process consists of amassing a vast library of digital drawings of various shapes and compositions and then using them as reference material to make paintings. This painting constitutes a new whole derived from these numerous digital sources.
The process of making such a painting is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle using pieces from multiple puzzles that have all been jumbled together. In the absence of an overarching ordering logic, I have to seek a new order and invent new rules to make the painting work. Unexpected structures and harmonies emerge in this process as I struggle to make sense of the jumbled situation I have created. The painting is less designed as it is discovered through the process of its making. I consider a painting completed when it begins to create an internal logic of its own while manifesting the tensions inherent in its making.

2nd Prize—Austin Cathey—Traces of the Intangible

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An artwork. The background is white. In the upper right corner, there's a splotch of maroon. On the left edge, towards the top, there's a tall dark midnight blue patch. in the middle of the work, there's a sky blue patch. There's a somewhat annular black form that takes up most of the work. Along the top of this form, there are mountain-like protrusions, and along a couple of parts, the form splits into two sections, akin to how bones lay next to each other. The left side of this annular form goes back on itself in a concave shape. Where this form intersects the sky blue patch, it is smeared a bit with it into a muddy blue color. Below that spot, there's a purple and black smeared together spot. On top of all of this, there are faint pencil-drawn lines and circles drawn to look geometric.

Medium: Ink, graphite, and mylar on paper
This drawing alludes to our chaotic natures by using oil and water - two chemically incompatible mediums - in a process-based technique that strikes an inherent tension between control and uncontrollability; a direct metaphoric connection to the lives we lead. In juxtaposition to this form, the uses geometric drawings references the languages of mapping and mathematics in order to provide a logical sense of order and direction. As such, viewers are left to found and follow their own individual perceptions and interpretations. The mapping in 'Traces of the Intangible' becomes more cosmic, alluding more to the constellations in order to search for a more spiritual sense of directionality. The atmospheric and transparent colors help place the viewer in an otherworldly intangible space, far removed from the safe sense of physical reality they likely stand in. For while we are physical beings that inhabit a logical environment, we struggle our whole lives in order to navigate the mazes of our metaphysical natures. Like so much of our lives, the drawing raises many questions for the viewers while providing few, if any, answers. This drawing is part of an ongoing series that explores one of the most perplexing puzzles possible, the human experience; more accurately this drawing relates to the act of trying to make sense of our puzzling perceptions of that experience. Although we as a species have always sought to make sense of our existence, humanity is an illogical force of nature within a chaotic universe.

2018

1st Prize—Hannah Ayers—Fuse

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An artwork showing strips of black and blue paper containing pictures woven together into a checkerboard pattern. All of the black cells seem to form the image of a man facing right, and all of the blue cells seem to form the image of another man facing left.

Medium: Monotype
This work examines the question of the way humanity will relate to each other after an irreversible shift in technological advancement. To me, humanity's empathy and our capacity to relate each other is the most important thing at stake. These images are derived from photographs I took of strangers in public without their knowledge. I then created a reductive drawing of them using only my fingers and clothe. Each print is unique because it is inspired by a specific individual, and it also contains a bit of myself within in the work- since I do not know the people I am drawing I am left to project feelings and assumptions onto them. To create these images, I rolled printmaking ink onto a plexiglass plate, pulled the coor off using my hands, and then printed the plexiglass onto paper. The monotype drawings were then cut and woven together to create the digitalized, pixelated effect. There is a juxtaposition of very personal mark-making of a portrait created with fingerprints, against a cold, systematic, undulating grid that separates and unites two portraits. Both people exist in the same dimension and yet they do not come in contact with each other. There is a push and pull within the work that conveys a sense of tension to the viewer.

2nd Prize—Claire DeCamp—FOMO

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An artwork split up into a four by three grid of cells each containing a photo of a heart. Each of these hearts has a dialogue box of sorts pointing to it with a heart symbol followed by a number. The size of the heart is related to the number: the bigger the number, the larger the photo of the heart. From left to right, top to bottom, the numbers are 57, 451, 99, 109648, 0, 114, 10, 327092756, 22, 132, 81, 177. Also, starting with the first one, every other cell has a dark red filter over it, while the others just have a heart on a white background.

Medium: Photo Lithography
The Fear Of Missing Out is shaping today's upcoming generations. Constantly inundated by technology, society has molded itself to a world obsessed with screens. We are increasingly placing our value in our "likes;" a traumatizing practice especially for the young and developing.

2017

1st Prize—Rebecca Rohr—Bt

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An artwork. The entire work consists of shades of a translucent golden yellow color. In the upper-right, the color is very bright, almost white. In the upper left, as well as the lower right and on the left side towards the bottom is a corn-like texture, which is shiny to the point of looking like gold. This texture is also present as a smaller form here and there about the work. There is a round patch at the bottom that looks a little washed out, and has a kind of rough texture. In the middle, many rectangles of color overlap to produce a dark golden color.

Medium: Monotype
Dimensions: 18"x11.75"
An easily overlooked yet vastly significant field of technology is biotechnology. More specifically, biotechnology as it relates to our food sources. As a byproduct of my agricultural background, I take great interest in the technologies that go into food production, especially the genesis of the many plant varieties that have been introduced in the past 20 years and found their way into our gardens, supermarkets, and subsequently our bodies. Genetic modification has become pervasive in agriculture as well as our new sources as farmers and consumers alike try to hash out the consequences of this highly fraught subject. As a relatively new technology, genetic modification has the potential to be both beneficial and detrimental. While many consumers simply concern themselves with health matters associated with this technology, I find myself drawn towards the issues of fabrication, monopolization, and proprietization of this technology. One of the more commonly engineered crops that can be found in many of our food products is corn. As an ingredient used in both livestock and human food, I find corn to be both an intellectually and visually stimulating item. Maize has a long history of human manipulation that has resulted in the plant we know today. That manipulation has become somewhat controversial in recent years as companies such as Monsanto have genetically modified it to be pest resistant and withstand the treatments of highly toxic herbicides. I have used this conversation about GMOs in our current agricultural practice as inspiration for my imagery.

2nd Prize—Alexus Chavana—Dolly

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An artwork. The background is black, but is only visible in the upper right portion of the work. The rest is covered by pictures of Dolly the sheep and pictures of stonehenge, all overlapping and tinted various shades of blue, pink, and green.

Medium: Mixed media (photo litho on Dura-Lar, translucent film, photo plate)
34"x29"
In than I am a very process oriented person, to fully embrace the theme I tried to remove myself as much as possible when creating this piece and let the pervasive technology I use everyday do the heavy lifting. However this piece is still very much my doing. I took the photos on a digital camera, I manipulated the images on photoshop, I developed the pictures onto a photo plate, I printed the images with a press, and I cut them up and collaged them. However the technology surrounding me enabled every step of this process. To pay homage to my favorite sheep, Dolly speaks to the illusion of separation between the natural and technological world.

2016

4th Annual CSE Purchase Award

Theme:  Innovation: How Machines View Us

1st Prize—Lauren Mitro—Out of Countenance

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An artwork depicting several head-and-shoulders prints of various orientations, colors, and sizes, all overlapping and on top of each other.

Medium: Monotype Print
Dimensions: 15x22.5
My recent work has focused mainly on patterns and the way in which I can alter and change the patterns to create more interesting compositions. I often ask myself if there's anyway that I can take a print one step farther; and in response to this I find myself mixing a lot of different links and blend rolls. What fascinates me most about printmaking is the innumerable amount of opportunities that you have to create limitless types of art - there are so many different variables that you have to manipulate and play with. From the plates themselves, to the way in which you make permanent your art, to the way in which you ink the plate, and then the way that you print them; the pressure, the amount of ink, if you roll it back and forth it can have a blurry effect; there are just so many ways to manipulate your print in a way that only the printmaking process can do. Each print is completely unique to any other ones, even if it looks similar, it never is. It can't be printed from a computer - it can't be replicated. It's an old art form that sometimes gets forgotten which in itself is interesting...

2nd Prize—Jeremiah Johnson—Deconstructed--Square

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Artwork showing several pale blue rectangles on a blue-green background, with black lines extending off of some of the edges of rectangles.

Medium: Monotype - Ink on Paper
In my art, I try to blend technology and the natural world. I like to think of ways technology and nature can coexist, though technology has its limits. I took the idea of how machines see us a little literally. Machines don't see as a whole connected things, but rather they see us as pieces of information. When you break down anything in the digital world, you are left with nothing but ones and zeros. Computers see us a deconstructed information, and I sought to show that idea in my work. Machines don't see the complex, they see only the simple, and so I kept these pieces as simple as I could while still getting the point across. Each piece has its unique aesthetic, but the idea is the same.

2015

1st Prize—Bailey Miller—Void

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Photo of the corner of a tall building, with a blank marquee hanging from it. Nearby is a window to a room whose light is on, while all the other rooms around it are dark.

Medium: Photograph
Dimensions: 17"x22"

This piece represents an aura of intimacy among a very populated space. Taken in Times Square, New York City, this photograph has an unexpected void. The marquee features no words or advertisements, only empty lights. While the repetition of the windows suggest many inhabitants, only one light is on in a green-tinted room. The lone room with the light on depicts a false sense of privacy. While its owner might think the world doesn't notice, the light can be clearly seen from the streets below. The rest of the darkened rooms remain mysterious, while the lit room is the only one without privacy. This phenomenon represents a metaphor that connects to the security and privacy of digital technology. Encryption is a complex, scary issue that affects everyone who touches technology in some way. While it's easy to feel secure with personal information being stored in so many systems and databases, it's hard to know if our safety is valid. We think we have privacy, when our information might be out there being used in ways we can't imagine. It's like the lit window among the dark that doesn't know it is being observed by others around.

2nd Prize—Eric Hill—The Cloud

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Artwork consisting of large splotches of dark colors. The very bottom and rightmost edges are slightly brighter.

2 nd Prize—Madeline Hrybyk—Eros and Thanatos

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Two forms on a beige background, separated by a gray line. On the left is a form that has a patch of green on the top, a tall patch of brown along the right side, a mustard yellow patch and a dark brown patch on the left side, and a curved green patch across the bottom. On the right is a dark teal shape consisting of several stair-like formations, connected to the underside of three tall forms.

Medium: Monotype
Dimensions: 22"x22"

Eros and Thanatos are age old themes that revolve in a constant battle within each other. Technology has released upon the world a constant battle in relation. Privacy in the modern world is a very hard thing to come by, steps must be taken to ensure information is carefully passed between one another. There becomes a cycle of these passages online through encrypted texts, forming a language which everyone can share.

2014

Theme : Digital Playground

1st Prize—Joseph Harris—Digitize

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Several shapes of washed-out color, each connected and passed through by a myriad of gold lines. Gold triangles and quadrilaterals can be seen here and there.

Medium: Lithographic Print, with overlaid drawing and gold leaf
Dimensions: 22"x30"

Digitize is about the play between digital and analog information. Today the most complex and amorphic information can be uploaded into a computer. Through processing the subject matter can be interpreted by the computer. Information can be squeezed out of these complex shapes, sounds or other inputs. And further associations can be brought to the surface regarding these non-digital inputs through data collection and interpretation. I believe this circle of computer aided collection, translation and interpretation to be the driving process in our golden age of information.

 2nd Prize—Amanda Everett—The White Painting

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A very colorful painting that has been mostly painted over with white. you can still see spots of the original painting in small holes in the white, and there have also been left large holes through which you can see the original painting: an area of red and yellow is featured prominently, as well as an area of blue, and one of dark colors.

Medium: Oil, acrylic, wax on canvas
Dimensions: 36"x48"

This work deals with the ideas of concealing and revealing. The process can be though of almost as a game of hide and go seek. I began by filling the canvas with many layers of color. The decision to paint over the majority of the painting white has to do with hiding certain parts in order to reveal the most interesting moments of the original full color painting. This process leaves the viewers with pockets of color to focus on and appreciate rather than overwhelming them with a sea of color.

2013

Theme: Cloud Computing

1st Prize—John Hankiewicz—Cloud Box

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There is a square black frame in the middle. it is filled with a brick-style pattern, over top of which are a bunch of lines reminiscent of broken glass. In the center is the moon. In the bottom half of the painting, outside the box, is a washed-out black area, with several lines through it, reminiscent of tears through paper. A picture is shown in this region. In the top half, outside the square is an area covered with cloud-like black. In the middle of this area is a break in the clouds to reveal the moon in a teal sky.

2nd Prize—Colin Matsumoto—Accretion

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In the top middle area is a pink patch, surrounded by an area of teal, on the far left side of which is a small, tall patch of yellow. on the bottom right part of the teal area is a large washed-out black swirl, with dark black spots scattered through it. The area down and to the left of this swirl is hot pink, and the area straight left of it is hot pink with some yellow patches and black lines. to the bottom left of this area is a small green ring, attached to a larger green ring, both outlined in black.

Medium: Oil, charcoal, graphite, china marker, pastel on canvas
Dimensions: 36"x36"

Instead of approaching the themes as an expert on the subject, I considered them as a consumer of the services through which they are implemented. I focused mostly on the cloud and how that type of computing is integrated into my life. I started making visual diagrams of the information that flows over cloud services, loosely associating these processes with circles, lines, zig-zags and other simple visual symbols. I also started thinking about the way these systems are densely layered and continue to grow as they transition from hardware and software that operate on my end to those that operate over a network. I see both this growth and my layered method of painting as an 'accretion', hence the title of the work.