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And the winners are ...

Foundation of Art Award winners at Spaceworks Gallery

“Undine,” ceramic by Heather Undine. Photo credit: Kris Crews

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The Greater Tacoma Community 10th Foundation of Art Award is among the year's biggest arts events. Purportedly, the exhibition represents the best of the best. Every year for 10 years jurors chosen from among Tacoma's art professionals have nominated local artists for a major prize, and every year the nominees and the annual winner have been featured in an art exhibition. This year, since it is the 10th Foundation of Art Award, 10 winners were chosen, and each was given a greatly deserved $1,000 cash award. This year's show held at the Spaceworks Gallery showcases works not only by this year's winners but by winners from each of the past nine years.

This year's winners are: Mindy Barker, Heather Cornelius, Todd Jannausch, Janet Marcavage, Gillian Nordlund, Nicholas Nyland, Chandler O'Leary, Saiyare Refaei, Kenji Stoll and Chandler Woodfin. Past winners included in the show are: Chris Sharp, Jeremy Mangan, Lisa Kinoshita, Jessica Spring, Oliver Doriss, Shaun Peterson, Elise Richman, Christopher Paul Jordan and Sean Alexander. Each artist is represented by a single work.

The panel which chose this year's winner included Amy McBride, and past winners Sean Alexander, Jeremy Mangan, Elise Richman and Christopher Paul Jordan.

To write about all 19 artworks in the space allowed is not possible. Instead, I shall mention some of the highlights and encourage readers to visit the gallery and see them all.

Mandy Barker's "Strata Discs" is a fascinating painting in acrylic, metal leaf, and ink on paper mounted on wood. Pictured are three circles of various sizes and varying distances from the wall, each decorated with ornate animal-themed painting in brilliant colors. It is a delightful and exciting piece that requires careful attention to suss out what all is pictured.

Glass artist Oliver Doriss' "Blue Moon" is a small piece on a sculpture stand consisting of two small blocks of acrylic within which are crumbled and flattened aluminum foil. Peering into the acrylic is like viewing bits of ancient rock or wood through a magnifying glass. Space and time seem condensed by art.

Speaking of time, Nicholas Nyland's "Slab Basket" has the look of an ancient artifact dug up from an archeological site. It is a globe of overlapping slabs of stoneware with open space between the slabs fired with earthy tones of pink and purple. There is a majestic and timeless quality to this one.

Janet Marcavage's screen print "Cools" is a study in illusion and perception. Curvilinear lines in various tones of blue and white are put together in six interlocking round shapes that have the quality of rhythmic movement seen as striped patterns of cloth blowing in the wind.

Heather Undine's "Undine" is a ceramic bust of a woman emerging from a circular shell-like formation, or perhaps it is intended as floral leaves from which her head and shoulders appear. It reminds me of Botticelli's "Venus" except that it depicts strength rather than the idealized beauty of the "Venus." Judging from the title, my guess would be it is a self-portrait. If so, it is as unflinchingly unflattering as a Rembrandt self-portrait.

Other pieces I found to be particularly impressive are works by Lisa Kinoshita, Elise Richman and Sean Alexander.

All of Tacoma should turn out for the reception gala Thursday, Sept. 21.

Foundation of Art Award, 1-5 p.m., Monday-Friday and 1-9 p.m. Third Thursday, through Oct. 19, reception 5-9 p.m., Sept. 21, Spaceworks Gallery, 950 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.682.1722,

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