By Samantha Baker – Collegiate Staff
Art Prize takes place in Grand Rapids every year for 19 days. It is an “open, independently organized international art competition.” People from all over the world enter with a chance to present their art at different venues around Grand Rapids, from museums and bars to auto body shops and office spaces. More than a 1,000 participants are chosen to present their art, have their piece voted for, and compete for $500,000 in prize money.
“From my perspective, it’s a very high quality show,” Professor Nick Antonakis said. “The works that we have chosen are highly professional, and the artists show very good command of the materials that they use. The artworks are also thought provoking with both current and traditional themes.”
Antonakis described a few of the pieces that were being shown at the Collins Art Gallery. He mentioned that almost 500 participants had applied to have their art shown at the Gallery, but that only five pieces had been accepted.
He said there was a “beautiful drawing” called “Connections” by Madeline Kaczmarczyk.
A piece by a British couple from France, Alpha and Chris Mason, called “Virtue Virtu Vertu”.
“Their work is very intricate, beautifully layered, and beautifully detailed,” said Antonakis.
Antonakis also highlighted a piece by Patricia Constantine called “Sineater” The piece is a 3-paneled political message about a practice that ended around the 18th and 19th century. In Scotland, a sineater was a person paid by the community to eat bread off of the chest of someone who was dying to forgive them of their sins. The piece was intended to represent a freak show at a circus, the way our economy has become, and the “gaffs, fakes, and unique people,” as Constantine said on the Art Prize website.
Another piece that can be found at the Collins Art Gallery is the video called “Waiting For the Past” by Recollected. The video is about “distance, emotional isolation, and compounded loss”. The piece is about reconstituting the connection in families, and discovering who a person apart from everyone else.
The final piece being shown at the Collins Art Gallery is a two dimensional tapestry called “Intertwined Polarities #1” by Xhevehir Kolgjini. It portrays an idealized symmetrical form of the female body. It represents the two extremes between the Easterns refusal of using bodies or an individual in art, and the Westerns obsession of the oversexualized female form.
“We hope that visitors will enjoy these artworks not only visually, but also that they will enjoy the thinking process that goes into art making,” Antonakis said.
Antonakis mentioned that the video installation, “Eve- Infini des Formes”, presented by Filippo Tagliati, is a 13minute movie about the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin.
For more information about the other contestants presenting at the Collins Art Gallery visit the ArtPrize website.