12/18/2015
Five Finalists Shortlisted for International Prize
 
Mill Valley, California, USA--Art Jewelry Forum (AJF) is pleased to announce the five finalists for its 2016 Artist Award. The finalists will exhibit their work with Sofia Björkman, from Platina, during the international art jewelry fair Schmuck, in Munich, Germany, from February 24 through March 1, 2016. The five finalists for AJF's 2016 Artist Award are: Lynn Batchelder, Carina Shoshtary, Seth Papac, Aric Verrastro, and Timothy Veske-McMahon.
 
Finalists were chosen from the largest group of Artist Award applicants to date--151 artists representing 35 countries--and judged on originality, depth of concept, continuity of design, and quality of craftsmanship. This year's jurors were Philip Clarke of New Zealand, inaugural director of Objectspace; 2014 Artist Award winner Seulgi Kwon, from South Korea; and AJF board member and collector Susan Kempin, who is from the United States. 
 
The unrestricted cash prize of $7500, generously funded by Susan Beech and Karen and Michael Rotenberg, will be awarded to one of the five finalists. AJF would like to thank Sofia Björkman and PLATINA for providing a showcase for the winner and finalist during Schmuck and donating the gallery's profits to AJF. The winner will be announced in February 2016. 
 
 
Finalist Credentials, Artist Statement Excerpts, and Juror Statements
 
Lynn Batchelder
 
MFA, Metal, State University of New York at New Paltz, New York, USA, 2013
 
"My studio practice relies on a drawing process where forms and ideas develop intuitively through the initial exploration of a line on paper. In these works industrial steel becomes transparent and delicate as cuts made with the jeweler's saw reflect the quality of a line drawn by hand ... I am constantly trying to capture small moments of contrast where control and imperfection collide."
--Lynn Batchelder
 
"The artist's jewelry pieces, which have a unique shape, are works with exceptional structural and sculptural beauty. They are designed to deliver strong feeling and a simple message through the natural color of the metal itself."
--Seulgi Kwon
 
Lynn BatchelderLynn BatchelderLynn Batchelder
 
Carina Shoshtary
 
MA, Academy of Fine Arts Munich, Germany, 2012
 
"My work starts with an intuitive experimental play with found materials, which usually come from my immediate surroundings. In the process of experimenting, the materials are being thoroughly transformed; the original source cannot be identified anymore ... My jewelry pieces may appear like artifacts of a past civilization, fossils from another planet, or the ornaments of fabled beings."
--Carina Shoshtary
 
"The concept of layering, in a variety of senses, works very well with the organic forms employed. These works convey a sense of growth, nurturing, and preciousness."
--Philip Clarke
 
Carina Chitsaz-ShoshtrayCarina Chitsaz-ShoshtrayCarina Chitsaz-Shoshtray
 
Seth Papac
 
MFA, Metals/Jewelry, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA, 2009
 
"Life in Southern California, with its unreal sunsets, light-bleached buildings, and vestiges of 70s style, brought my memory to a saturation point, forming crystals of experience ... These merged into objects with varying physical relationships to the body--at the scale of architecture, at the scale of jewelry, and in between. Utilizing the vocabulary of jewelry and architecture, space and place are explored--from the past to the present, from the personal to the cliché, from the obvious to the mysterious."
--Seth Papac
 
"The artist's experience in Southern California becomes the motif for his object. The work has an unrivaled force to it that creates a strong bond between the artist and the audience, and delivers a unique presence."
--Seulgi Kwon
 
Seth PapecSeth PapecSeth Papec
 
Aric Verrastro
 
MFA, Metalsmithing/Jewelry, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA, 2015
 
"I have recently been displaced from living in a city, which has left an emptiness in my life. The creation of each piece has become a method to fill the void. The forms are architectural, modular, constructed from steel, becoming allegorical representations of the energy of a thriving, vibrant environment ... As jewelry, the body completes the piece as people fill and give life to architectural spaces, expressing the vitality and connection I feel toward the urban human experience."
--Aric Verrastro
 
"I like the contrast of materials, steel and thread, and that the thread represents people wandering through the city. One normally thinks of city colors as dark or metallic, but I love the use of color to represent the vibrancy of the city."
--Susan Kempin
 
Aric VerrastroAric VerrastroAric Verrastro
 
Timothy Veske-McMahon
 
MFA, Metalsmithing, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, USA, 2013
 
"We seek out and delve into mirrors for clarifying affirmation but, in truth, are met with a foreign body ... This perceived closeness of similarity and familiarity is a deception--fictitious shorthand we use in identifying within society and relationships. If the act of definition is a loss of information, is it possible to create a loss-less object?"
--Timothy Veske-McMahon
 
"I'm always looking for work that looks like nothing I have seen before. These works offer some complex social observations from the maker but at the same time are visually arresting, surprising, and very wearable. This is a rare achievement."
--Philip Clarke
 
Timothy Veske-McMahonTimothy Veske-McMahonTimothy Veske-McMahon
 
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About the Award
The goal of AJF's Artist Award is to acknowledge promise, innovation, and individuality in developing jewelers. The 2016 competition was open to art jewelry makers who make wearable art jewelry, are less than 35 years of age, and are not currently enrolled in a professional training program. Work submitted must have been unsupervised and not submitted for a BFA or MFA show. This year, applications were accepted from individuals who have had a solo exhibition. 
 
About AJF
Art Jewelry Forum is a nonprofit organization spreading awareness and increasing appreciation of art jewelry worldwide since 1997. Its diverse community of artists, collectors, critics, educators, galleries, historians, makers, and writers is united by a passion for art jewelry. AJF advocates for art jewelry through an ambitious agenda of education, conversation, and financial support. It commissions critical writing that sets the standard for excellence in the field and publishes artjewelryforum.org, an Internet resource for original content on art jewelry.

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