Press Release Center

Neddy Artist Awards 2015 Recipients Announced

Seattle, WA—Robin Held, director of the Neddy Artist Awards at Cornish College of the Arts, announced today the 2015/16 awards. In the category of Painting, the recipient is Matt Browning. In the category of Open Medium, the recipient is Wynne Greenwood. Each artist will receive an unrestricted cash award of $25,000. The two awardees were selected from a group of eight finalists. Painting finalists are Paul Komada, Elise Richman, and Robert Yoder. Open Medium finalists are Leo Saul Berk, Mark Mitchell, and Rodrigo Valenzuela. Each finalist receives an unrestricted cash award of $1,500. The Neddy Artist Award is one of the largest unrestricted grants available to Puget Sound artists. A total of 279 applications were received this year.

Matt Browning graduated from the University of Washington in 2007 (BFA) and his first solo show, Home Field Advantage in 2008, was called “one of the most promising debuts by a Seattle artist in a long time” (Jen Graves, The Stranger). In 2010, he was selected to launch the Seattle University Visual Artist in Residence (SUVAIR) program. Recent exhibitions include Artspeak in Canada, the University of Washington, Frye Art Museum, and Western Bridge in Seattle. In addition to his practice, Browning has taught material studies and art history to non-traditional adult learners through the organization Path With Art. With Anne Fenton, Jason Hirata, Brendan Jansen, Rebar Niemi, and Jessica Powers, he collaborates as TARL.

Open Medium artist Wynne Greenwood is a queer feminist artist who works with video, performance, music and object-making to practice culture-healing. Her work has been included in performances and exhibitions at independent and institutional spaces internationally, including the Tate Modern, Whitney Biennial, The Kitchen, and On the Boards. From 1999 to 2006, Greenwood performed the multimedia art-band Tracy + the Plastics. Upon ending the project, Greenwood shifted her focus to installation and object-based work, exhibiting with Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects and Lawrimore Project in Seattle as well as participating in Anti-Establishment, a group show at Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies. She recently released the full-length music album A Fire To Keep You Warm and her next show opens at the New Museum in New York this fall. Greenwood also teaches performance and video through workshops and after-school programs.

Art by all finalists and awardees will be featured in the annual Neddy Artist Awards Exhibition, curated by Sharon Arnold of Roq la Rue Gallery, Seattle. The exhibition will be on view in the Project Space/Main Gallery at Cornish College of the Arts’ Main Campus Center, 1000 Lenora St., September 9 through October 24, 2015.

The Neddy Artist Awardees 2015 were selected by Neddy National Juror Astria Suparak, director and chief curator at Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, from 2008 to 2014. She has curated exhibitions, screenings, and live music events and performances for art spaces, film festivals, and academic venues internationally, including PS1, The Kitchen, and Eyebeam, New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City; Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Oberhausen; The Liverpool Biennial 2004, and Exposition Chicago 2014. She has also curated extensively in nontraditional spaces, such as roller-skating rinks, elementary schools, sports bars, and ferryboats.

About Matt Browning, Neddy Artist Awardee in Painting, Suparak says, “Browning’s works of distilled form and elegance arise from his commitment to craft and experimentation with various mediums. Browning participates in culture making not only through art making, but also through curating and teaching at Path With Art, where students are recovering from homelessness, addictions and other traumas.”

About Wynne Greenwood, Neddy Artist Awardee in Open Medium, Suparak says, “Greenwood’s works are playful, ruminative, and exploratory. She deconstructs language, discourse, culture, and identity in unexpected and sometimes humorous ways, with performance, music, video, sculpture, and installation. She teaches university students and youth, and also organizes screening events that feature queer and feminist video and film from the region, through her program Feminist Form.”

The Neddy Artist Awards

The Neddy Artist Awards at Cornish College of the Arts are among the largest artist awards in the State of Washington, providing two annual, unrestricted gifts of $25,000 to artists living and working in the greater Puget Sound region, as well as smaller cash grants of $1,500 to eight Finalists. Established in 1996, by the Behnke family, the Neddy Artist Awards are named for artist Robert E. “Ned” Behnke (1948-1989), son of Robert and Sally Behnke. Currently, awards are offered in the category of Painting, Ned’s chosen artistic medium, and the category of Open Medium, any medium or combination of media grounded in the visual arts. Cornish College of the Arts has stewarded the Neddy Artist Awards since 2011.

Neddy Artists Awards Selection

The eight finalists are selected from the total pool of applicants by a group of three regional jurors, Northwest arts professionals, who bring their perspectives and expertise to the process. From this group of finalists, a national juror from outside the Puget Sound region selects the two Neddy Artist Awards recipients, after reviewing submission materials, and conducting studio visits with each artist.

The 2015 Neddy Artist Awards Finalists were selected by Negarra Kudumu, Kolya Rice, and Storm Tharp.

Negarra A. Kudumu is a Seattle based writer, researcher, and professional active in the arts and culture sectors. Her intellectual interests lie in the fields of cultural production and consumption, postcolonial studies, third space theory, and contemporary African and diasporic art. Professionally Negarra focuses on the development and execution of arts education and public programs, as well as community engagement strategies for arts and culture organizations. She has most recently served as the 2014 Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute Artist-in-Residence, is a contributing writer and editor to The Postcolonialist and is currently the Educator at the Frye Art Museum.

Kolya Rice is a professor and independent critic/curator whose work focuses on modern and contemporary art history. He is currently a PhD candidate in contemporary art history and criticism at the University of Washington (UW), and received his M.A from Rice University. He has taught a wide range of courses on western art, theory and criticism at the University of Washington, Seattle University and the University of Puget Sound over the last decade, and lectures frequently at Frye Art Museum, and Tacoma Art Museum. He is currently a Visiting Lecturer at the UW and an Associate Professor at Cascadia College.

Storm Tharp received a BFA from Cornell University. Following the selection of his work for the 2010 Whitney Biennial, he has become widely known for enigmatic portraits that investigate the performance of identity and abstraction. Recent exhibitions include the Miami Project 2014,Tiger, PDX Contemporary and Turn, Feldbuschwiesner Galerie, Berlin. Tharp lives and works in Portland, Oregon and is represented by PDX Contemporary.

Neddy Artist Awards Honor the Legacy of Ned Behnke

The Neddy Artist Awards honor the art, accomplishments, and community involvement of Seattle painter Ned Behnke (1948-1989). Ned was the son of Robert and Sally Behnke. Deaf from birth, Ned Behnke expressed himself in the visual arts from an early age. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Central Washington University, and then graduated with a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, Painting, from the Rochester Institute of Technology, New York. He went on to teach hearing-impaired students at Cornish College of the Arts. During his life, Ned Behnke received many national arts awards; among them, a major public art commission by the King County Arts Commission, for the Seattle Hearing and Deafness Center. He exhibited his art widely, with gallery representation, by Foster/White Gallery, Seattle. Ned Behnke died in 1989.

When stewardship of the Neddy Awards moved to Cornish College of the Arts in 2011, the impact of the award program was expanded and deepened—for Cornish students, the artist community and the general public—by the addition of an accompanying series of events and activities. This series honors and supports the art and ideas of the Awardees. The Neddy Artist Awards are unrestricted cash gifts. Awardee participation in these programs and activities is optional.

Cornish College of the Arts

Established in 1914, Cornish College of the Arts awards Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Art, Dance, Design, Film+Media, Performance Production, and Theater, a Bachelor of Music, and a post-graduate Artist Diploma in Early Music.

Founder Nellie Cornish believed in the importance of an interdisciplinary framing of the arts. This early understanding of the potential for the arts to create new material forms and relational practices has continually informed and infused the curriculum at Cornish. While students learn the rigors of their major, and are steeped in the learning of the cannons of knowledge, it is the students’ potential for innovation that has become the hallmark of Cornish. Cornish College of the Arts is accredited by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.