Thanks, Manifest

Anamorph, Jason Ferguson

I’m pleased to be able to point to a couple fine honors that Manifest Gallery bestowed on me late last year. I haven’t gotten to posting about this yet in detail because I’ve been immersed in the tunnel of labor required for the paintings I’m going to show in March at Oxford Gallery. Even with marathon painting sessions, the crop of new paintings looks very thin indeed for the sum total of new work since my show in 2015. (A couple non-painting projects stole probably a third of my time in that period, which hopefully is the last time I’ll need to pull myself away from painting to that degree.) But I think my efforts were rewarded well in at least some of these pieces. One of them in particular is the most successful painting I’ve ever done, in terms of exhibition history, awards and now a sale, prior to the show: Breakfast with Golden Raspberries.  It’s the reason for one of the honors Manifest sent my way.

First of all, my work was included in Manifest Gallery’s 8th International Painting Annual.  For fourteen years, this non-profit in Cincinnati has operated as a hub for artists around the world, enabling them to exhibit without regard for the vagaries of the art market and trends in critical theory about what’s worthy in art. Its jurors are volunteer experts in art and design from across the United States, including professors, working artists, curators, gallery directors, and others qualified and trusted to provide sound objective judgment of the works provided. They cull through a flood of entries for each show and publication the gallery sponsors, winnowing entries down to the fraction it will include—the process is tough, meaning for even very good artists the opportunities are narrow. There’s a wealth of masterful work being done, and too few ways to get it seen and purchased, at least until the Internet eventually lives up to his promise. In the meantime, Manifest serves an almost unique function, and is held in high regard by nearly everyone I know in the art community.

Its 8th annual received 1301 entries, from nearly 400 artists, working in eight countries. The book will include 101 works by 59 of those artists. I haven’t been alerted yet about which of my entries, or which one, was picked.

The second honor was more unusual and represents a new prize offered by the gallery: being selected as a finalist for The Annual Manifest Grand Jury Prize. Jason Ferguson’s Anamorph won the $2,500 prize, a self-portrait of sorts, a 3D printed plastic sculpture derived from  CT scans of the artist’s own skull,  originally featured in Manifest’s exhibition SCHEMA. My painting was among 40 works by 38 artists chosen as a finalist from a pool of 8,453 separate works submitted for consideration to be included in 20 group and 10 solo exhibitions during the gallery’s 13th season. For this prize, the Manifest organization created a competitive winnowing process to select the best single work out of everything exhibited at the gallery throughout the previous year.  Here’s what Manifest announced:

Starting with our 13th season, Manifest has launched a new annual cash award of $2500. The Annual Manifest Grand Jury Prize is a seasonal capstone recognition awarded to one work from among all those exhibited on-site at the gallery across the season. The first Grand Jury Prize is currently considering works exhibited at Manifest from late September 2016 through mid-September 2017.

The jurying process was conducted ‘blind’ without reference to the artist’s personal info, location, or background. Each jury usually consists of at least 5 jurors, and sometimes more than 10. Jury groups are shuffled and changed from exhibit to exhibit, so a pattern does not result. (Learn more about the Manifest jury process here.)

The Manifest Grand Jury Prize will be re-juried by the same advisors who served across the season, excluding any who may have a conflict of interest. When concluded we anticipate that this will result in 20-30 individuals having scored the works shown below in an effort to determine the winner. Learn more about the Manifest Grand Jury Prize here.

At least one work per exhibition is included for consideration. Solo exhibitors are invited to select their preferred work from their exhibition for jury, or may defer to the Director’s choice.

All told, season 13 presented 469 works by 279 artists in 41 states and 10 countries. Details on the exhibitions, and all of season 13, can found at this link. The entire season, and all works shown, will be documented in the forthcoming Manifest Exhibition Annual publication by around spring of 2019.

Thumbnails here may be clicked to see the full image.

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