Ten Nebraska artists were selected this year as recipients of the Nebraska Art Council’s 2016 Individual Artist Fellowship award in Visual Arts. This prestigious program recognizes exemplary work by Nebraska artists on a three-year rotation between artistic disciplines: Literature, Performing Arts/Filmmaking and Visual Arts.
The recipients were selected out of 86 applicants by a panel of peer professionals, with $20,000 being divided among the receiving artists. Panel recommendations were ratified by the NAC Board of Directors at its quarterly meeting on March 8.
The recipients of the 2016 Individual Artist Fellowship award in Visual Arts are:
$3,000 Distinguished Artist Award
Sarah Berkeley, Lincoln
Nancy Friedemann-Sanchez, Lincoln
Josh Johnson, Lincoln
Bradley Peters, Lincoln
Angie Seykora, Omaha
$1,000 Merit Award
James Bockelman, Seward
Charley Friedman, Lincoln
David Gracie, Lincoln
Neil Griess, Omaha
Matthew Sontheimer, Lincoln
About the winners:
Sarah Berkeley is a performance and interdisciplinary artist. She was born on the North Shore of Massachusetts and subsequently spent her childhood in Michigan and Colorado. At the completion of her bachelor's degree she began her career as a web designer in New York City and in 2003 moved to Berlin, Germany, to pursue her art career. After three years in Berlin, she returned to the United States to prepare for graduate school. Prior to her current teaching position at Nebraska Wesleyan University, she taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Berkeley holds an MFA from the University of Michigan (2011) and a BFA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2002). She has completed residencies at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Ragdale Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, ACRE, Cedar Point Biological Station and 8550 OHIO. She is the recipient of numerous grants including the Lincoln Mayor’s Kimmel Award, City of Chicago Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP) Grant, Smucker-Wagstaff Research Grant and Rackham Research Grant. Her artwork has been collected and exhibited internationally including at the Joslyn Art Museum, Rapid Pulse International Performance Festival, Rutgers University, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Defibrillator Gallery, New Capital, Roman Susan, Mana Contemporary, Chicago Artists’ Coalition, Work Gallery Detroit and Mercury 20. Publications include DNAinfo Chicago, Quarterly West, Archways Magazine and OVERVIEW by LAND and SEA.
Nancy Friedemann- Sanchez's work is representative of contemporary feminist expressions. She deliberately manages an economy of materials. Her large scale drawings allude to Minimalism the Pattern and Decoration Movement and Spanish Colonial Painting but explicitly explore the experience of identity, memory and gender. She lives between Colombia and the US and her work expresses the dichotomy of living in between cultures and languages.
Friedemann-Sanchez was selected for the Elisabeth Sackler Feminist Art Base at the Brooklyn Museum. She is also a member of the Artist Pension Trust since 2009. She represented Colombia at the 20 Congreso Internacional: La Experiencia Intelectual de las Mujeres en el Siglo XXI in 2012 and represented the USA at La Bienal de Cuenca, Ecuador in 2009. Some shows include the Portland Museum of Art; Museum of the University of New Mexico; El Museo del Barrio, New York; Museo del Arte de Puerto Rico; University at Albany Art Museum ; Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogotá; San Luis Obispo Art Center, California; and Bronx Museum of the Arts.
Friedemann- Sanchez has been awarded a Smithsonian Artist Fellowship, Pufffin Foundation grant, Pollock Krasner grant and National Association of Latino Arts and Culture grant, and has been nominated to the Rema Hort Mann and Anonymous was a Woman Foundation. She has been a resident at Art OMI, Fountainhead, Tamarind Institute, Yaddo, Gasworks, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Bronx Museum for the Arts and Taller Arte Dos Gráfico in Bogotá.
Lincoln, Nebraska-based artist Josh Johnson was born and raised in the Heart O’ Lakes region of west central Minnesota near the Red River Valley of the North. Johnson earned his BFA from the University of North Dakota in 2004, and continued his art education studying sculpture for a year at the University of South Dakota before entering the graduate program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he earned his MFA in 2010. Johnson then moved to Minneapolis where he lived for three years and began teaching sculpture courses part-time at the College of Visual Arts until its closure in May of 2013.
Johnson exhibits nationally and has been included in exhibitions at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Rosalux Gallery in Minneapolis, Sioux City Art Center and 2009 North American Graduate Art Survey at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He was a finalist for the William & Dorothy Yeck Award in the 2011 and 2015 Young Sculptors Competition at Miami University-Ohio. Johnson currently maintains a studio in Lincoln, is an exhibition technician at the Sheldon Museum of Art and teaches art courses at Nebraska Wesleyan University.
Bradley Peters grew up in rural Nebraska where he began his education in photography. In 2008, he received a MFA from the Yale University School of Art while concurrently working a full-time job for a national cell phone company. His work explores the failure of ideas by selecting various anecdotes from his own history and observations and then playing a type of photographic telephone game with his subjects, one that results in a distortion from the original idea. Many of his subjects are people he meets, and their collaboration aspires to transcend the limitations of literal description and place a greater emphasis on photography’s ability to express the metaphorical. Peters’ decision to predominantly use flash lighting is meant to underscore his desire to subvert from within in the tradition of “staged color narrative photography” and to also create tension by injecting the suggestion of authenticity that flash lighting implies in a photograph. Peters likes to think of the work as “documentary photographs, that describe the collision of reality and illogic, bound together by flash lighting.”
Angie Seykora currently lives and works in Omaha, Nebraska. Seykora received an MFA in Sculpture from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where she was awarded a full graduate assistantship. Seykora was a 2013 recipient of the International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture award, from which she was selected for the fully funded Art-St-Urban Sculpture residency in St. Urban, Switzerland, during the summers of 2014 and 2015. Seykora is an instructor of sculpture at Creighton University and participates as an artist mentor for Omaha youth through the Joslyn Art Museum’s Kent Bellows Mentoring Program. Her work is exhibited and collected on a national and international level.
The work of James Bockelman has been represented by Lo River Arts Gallery in Beacon, New York, and the Karolyn Sherwood Gallery in Des Moines, and is currently represented by Modern Arts Midtown in Omaha and Circuitous Succession Gallery in Memphis. In addition to exhibiting in numerous group shows throughout the region, Bockelman’s art was featured in solo exhibitions at the Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Museum of Nebraska Art in Kearney, Norfolk Arts Center in Norfolk, Nebraska, and Kunstoffice in Berlin, Germany. A recipient of a Nebraska Arts Fellowship Award in 2007, his paintings were recently included in the exhibition Art Seen: A Juried Exhibition of Artists from Omaha to Lincoln at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha. This year, Bockelman is preparing work for exhibitions in Denver, Memphis and St. Louis, as well as for a group exhibition at Gallery Kondenay in Berlin. Bockelman earned his MFA is Painting from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 1997. He is a professor of art at Concordia University in Seward where he teaches painting and is curator for the Marxhausen Gallery of Art.
Charley Friedman is a Pollock-Krasner foundation grant recipient, Smack Mellon Hot Picks artist and two-time Rema Hort nominee, in addition to his art recently appearing on Louis CK. He received his MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston/Tufts University, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Friedman has exhibited and performed at numerous galleries and institutions including PS1/MoMA, Queens Museum, Gallery Diet, Fabric Workshop, Volta NYC, Joslyn Art Museum, Pulse Miami, Barbara Mathes Gallery, Jack Tilton Gallery and Neues Kunstforum. Residencies include the MacDowell Colony, Fountain Head, Cooper Union and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Selected publications include The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Miami Herald, Art Info, Salon and Flavorpill.com. Friedman’s work is in Walker Art Center, Brooklyn Museum, New York Public Library, Stanford University, Sheldon Museum of Art, Karen and Robert Duncan collection, Gordman collection and Goldman collection, to name a few. In 2013, Friedman became a member of Artist Pension Trust. In Summer 2016, he will have an exhibition at Omi International Art Center in Hudson, New York.
Friedman is currently splitting his time between Brooklyn, New York, and Lincoln, Nebraska, where he lives with his best friend and wife, artist Nancy Friedemann-Sanchez and their daughter. Together they have an exhibition space in Lincoln called Fiendish Plots. Friedman is represented by Gallery Diet in Miami, Florida.
Born in Baltimore, David Gracie is a painter who addresses problems of specificity, perspective and distance. He received his MFA from Northwestern University in 2004 and his BFA from the Hartford Art School in 2000. He has been included in exhibitions at The Suburban, Wisconsin (2015), Chicago Club, Illinois (2013), University of Missouri (2012), Hyde Park Art Center, Illinois (2011), Colorado State, Pueblo, Colorado (2010), National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (2010), Hartford Art School, Connecticut (2009), Bowery Gallery, New York (2008), Mary and Leigh Block Museum, Illinois (2006), and Fort Wayne Museum, Indiana (2006). Gracie’s paintings and drawings have been exhibited in galleries throughout the US and have been included in the art fairs Art Chicago, Bridge Miami and Bridge London. He is currently an Associate Professor of Art and Chair of the Art Department at Nebraska Wesleyan University.
Neil Griess is a painter who deals with themes of urban development through photorealist paintings and architectural models. He received his BFA, with honors, from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2011. Recently he won Best Solo Exhibition at the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards for his 2014 show Pleated Field at the Wanda D. Ewing Gallery. Several pieces from the exhibition were featured in issue #120 of the publication New American Paintings. Notable group exhibitions include Prospect at Gallery 72 in Omaha, The Fascinators: The Inaugural Charlotte Street Biennial of Regional BA/BFA/MA/MFA Candidates at La Esquina in Kansas City, Missouri, and 2011 Bemis Center Regional Exhibition at Bemis Underground in Omaha, Nebraska. Griess lives and works in Omaha.
Matthew Sontheimer received a BFA from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, and an MFA from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. His work is represented by the Talley Dunn Gallery in Dallas, Texas, and the Devin Borden Gallery in Houston, Texas, and can be found in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, New Orleans Museum of Art and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
About the 2016 IAF panelists:
J.F. Adams (Los Angeles, California)
Los Angeles-based artist J.F. Adams received his BFA and MFA in Painting at Boston University and attended the Parsons School of Design in Paris. He has exhibited his paintings extensively in California, Boston and London, most recently at Manny Silverman Gallery in Los Angeles and Link Contemporary Art in Claremont, California.
Lea Feinstein (Stanford, California)
Artist, educator and art critic, Lea Feinstein currently resides in Stanford and works in San Francisco, California. Feinstein has held teaching positions at California College of Art, Maryland Institute College of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Georgetown University and George Washington University. Feinstein’s critical reviews have been published in ArtLTD magazine, ARTnews, Artpractical and Filip magazine. Additionally, Feinstein has received the Max Beckmann Fellowship from Brooklyn Museum School and a scholarship from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.
Jeff Lambson (Denver, Colorado)
Prior to his position in Utah as Curator of Contemporary Art at the BYU Museum of Art, Jeff Lambson worked at the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, the nation’s museum of modern and contemporary art. Lambson has curated many successful exhibitions at BYU, including Mirror Mirror: Contemporary Portraits and the Fugitive Self, We Could Be Heroes: the Mythology of Monsters and Heroes in Contemporary Art, Work To Do, Think Flat: Andy Warhol and Takashi Murakami, and many others. Lambson is the recipient of the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Award for Service in the Arts and was named by Salt Lake Magazine as one of Utah’s most significant people of the past 20 years. His work has received publicity in W magazine, Art Ltd, Sunset, and BBC’s The Culture Show.