Students’ award winning artwork now on display

The artwork of Portland State students Patricia Vazquez Gomez and Jordan Hoagbin, the first- and second-place winners of the Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize, respectively, is now on display in the Autzen Gallery, located on the second floor of PSU’s Neuberger Hall.

This new prize, created thanks to a gift from the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation, seeks to recognize outstanding talent in PSU’s School of Art and Design, award its recipients with a shared total of $9,500 and raise awareness of the high-quality art education PSU offers its students.

‘A Relationship is an artwork’

Gomez’s portion of the exhibit, “Everybody is welcome…”, consists of several videos and acrylic paintings on canvas. Por Ellas, one of the video projects created by Gomez, a third-year MFA and social practice student, captures long-distance exchanges between an immigrant mother from Mexico and her three daughters who had to stay behind.

“People don’t necessarily see themselves as cultural producers or writers in this rural community of Mexico,” said Gomez, on the creation of the film. “It was a powerful process to see someone take ownership of their work.”

The pieces she creates, Gomez said, are informed by “anti-oppression theory in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, forms of social membership and relationships of power and privilege.”

“[The aim is] not to create objects, but processes…[it’s about] getting out of the role of the artist, facilitating other things. I tried to pay attention to the things that are happening around me. I’m interested in relationships… A relationship is an artwork,” Gomez said.

Unapologetically  frank

In the future, she said she might be focusing on “bringing painting and the social practice together… more education-based work.”

Hoagbin, a sophomore studying graphic design, created “Sew Many Feelings,” a question-and-answer wall open to anonymous audience response as well as a set of pillows that corresponds in color.

The process for creating the piece came from “going through portfolio reviews and making these faces,” Hoagbin said.

“As a designer, [it’s about] responding to the needs of a project. You’re told, ‘This is your 30×25 [foot] space and you can do whatever you want.’ It’s very stressful and overwhelming,” Hoagbin said.

The prompts used in the interactive posters on the wall in “Sew Many Feelings” stemmed from questions he would ask himself to check in, Hoagbin said. The Post-It notes, markers and stickers placed on podiums surrounding the posters allow visitors to express themselves discreetly via written word.

“I always want to connect with my audience; the participatory
aspect makes it more fun for people coming in. When people are held accountable, there’s going to be a façade,” Hoagbin said. “I like the anonymity, the unapologetic frankness… This show is about feeling weird showing work to people.”

The exhibit will be open until Nov. 1. A formal award ceremony for the presentations of the Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize will take place Oct. 24 at 5–7 p.m.