UCLA art faculty awarded the art department’s Undergraduate Art Scholarship award in spring to 28 student artists whose works range in medium from photography to ceramics to sculpture to film.
The recipients of the Undergraduate Art Scholarships received awards between $1,000 and $5,000, and their work will be displayed in the New Wight Gallery at the Broad Art Center on campus from Thursday through Dec. 8.
The scholarship exhibition’s display has encouraged the recipients to continue exploring concepts and mediums in art that are new to them, said art department chair Hirsch Perlman.
The Selection Committee
Art department faculty members choose the students in the spring whose artwork will be on exhibit in the fall, Perlman said.
To select the pool of nominees, the 13 tenured art department faculty, including Perlman, nominate two to four undergraduate students for scholarship consideration each year in March, he said.
Faculty members nominate students who stand out in relation to other students in their level of profession and quality of their work, said Patty Wickman, vice chair of the art department.
“We are looking for work where the student has a clear idea of what they are trying to accomplish, pushes boundaries and where they display technical and conceptual strength in what they are realizing,” Wickman said.
After nominations, faculty members take a tour of works installed by the nominated students during the Undergraduate Scholarship Review, Hirsch said. The faculty vote based on the students’ presented work, Perlman said.
Coordinator of the New Wright Gallery Ben Evans has been managing the installation of the shows in the gallery since 1997, he said, and helped the 2016 recipients install their work Monday.
“Students who got this scholarship are recognized as being top notch in the program and it sets a tempo for the rest of the school year for other undergraduates who can come look at the work,” Evans said.
A Palette of Winners
Art pieces from the 2016 scholarship winners include a roadblock, a photo collage, a broken laptop and papel picado.
Third-year art student Nilo Goldfarb has been drawing since age 5, and over the course of 15 years, his art has grown from pencil and paper to exploring mediums of media and sculptural installations, the scholarship recipient said. Goldfarb’s works tend to be conceptual in the form of drawing or writing accompanied by a physical, tangible manifestation like a sculpture, which aids viewers in visualizing an abstract concept, he said.
For the upcoming exhibition, Goldfarb submitted a work called “Rampart,” which consists of a broken plywood roadblock. In the piece, Goldfarb grapples with the artist’s role in addressing ideas of government and collective social power, he said. Goldfarb is interested in the roadblock’s power to halt traffic and command authority, yet roadblocks are considered do-it-yourself objects.
“Anyone can build a roadblock in their back yard with 20 bucks and materials from Home Depot, yet it can hold up a whole line of traffic,” Goldfarb said.
Scholarship recipient Penelope Uribe-Abee will exhibit “Reclaim the Pain,” a papel picado piece – a traditional Mexican paper art – representing a new medium for the artist.
Although she has been taking art classes since elementary school, she only began learning to cut papel picado using X-Acto knives and wood cutting tools this summer, while interning at the Getty Museum, Uribe-Abee said. The fourth-year art student uses papel picado to demonstrate her distressing relationship with her biracial Mexican-American identity, arranging the papel picado to spell out the words “I feel pain.” This message addresses the pain experienced from people part of a marginalized diaspora, Uribe-Abee said.
“I was searching for ways that I could reclaim folk art as a fine-arts artist,” Uribe-Abee said.
Recipient Oscar Peña explored mediums outside his comfort zone for the scholarship exhibition, he said. Although sculpture is normally his main medium, his recent participation in a photography class at UCLA inspired him to display a photography piece, said the fourth-year art student.
He will be showing a photo composition collage made from pieces of matting board cut into oval shapes, reminiscent of collages common in displaying family portraits, he said. He inserted candid snapshots of his friends to add a personal touch to the work.
“I am trying to define my own structure and my own personal relationships instead of adopting a commercially established structure,” Peña said.
Peña said this is the first time he has been nominated for – much less awarded – a monetary award for his work.
Gabe Pine, a second-year art student and scholarship recipient, has worked across mediums including drawing, sculpture, video and poetry.
Pine decided to seriously pursue art after attending the California State Summer School for the Arts in 2014, he said.
“It was partly because of the community but also because I was making art so intensively and I realized I wanted to do it for the rest of my life,” Pine said.
Pine’s work for the exhibition, “Laptop Overextends to See a Skyscaper,” features a laptop whose screen has been tilted all the way back so that the laptop lies broken and flat on the floor, Pine said. The screen will feature a looped four-second video of the laptop breaking as it cranes its neck to look at the top of the Wilshire Grand Tower in downtown Los Angeles, accompanied by a snapping noise. The narrative is shown from the perspective of the laptop, personifying the device, Pine said.
“It is about a power dynamic between a laptop that is not able to comprehend the size and power of the building,” Pine said.
Pine said the scholarship show allowed him to indulge in a financially ambitious multimedia project.
The hope is that the monetary award will support students in their creation of new work, Perlman said.
“The artworks made by the students nominated for scholarship awards is wide-ranging, always ambitious and shows that they’re experimenting,” Perlman said.