UCSC showcases most promising artists in 2010 Irwin Scholar exhibition

Martha Rodriguez-- Fertilization, 2009 ink on Yupo (synthetic paper)
Cahill Wessel-- Football lovin, 2010 pen, ink and gouache on wood panel
Nathan Dickersin-Prokopp-- Crow and Wenda, 2010 oil on wood panel 4 x 5 feet

"Angry turkeys, space boats, floating pigs, and stoic football players are examples of objects that are violently mixed together in a splattered haze of bright colors and layered patterns."

So notes UC Santa Cruz art student and 2010 Irwin scholar Cahill Wessel in his artist statement describing "Football lovin"--his 2 x 2 foot creation of pen, ink and paint on wood panel.

"I create scenes of chaos in which humans, animals and objects interact with compositions inspired by pop culture magazine advertisements and television commercials," Wessel explains.

"I dissect commonly known media stimuli--borrowing imagery, compositional aspects, and shock-value tactics."

Wessel's provocative piece is just one of many works of photography, painting, sculpture, printmaking, installation, and digital media that will be on display May 27-June 12 at the "2010 Irwin Scholars" exhibition at UCSC's Sesnon Gallery.

"Irwin Scholars are graduating students of creative potential and academic achievement," notes UCSC professor of art Frank Galuszka. "They are selected by the Art Department faculty each year from the many excellent students in the areas of visual art study."

As Leonel Diaz, one of this year's 12 Irwin Scholarship recipients observes: "Our work begins with a dream, a memory, an idea, a thought, a question, and even a mistake that transforms into a work of art."

With a background in photography, drawing, computer art, and electronics, Diaz merges ideas from each art form to create interactive animation.

"My work is inspired by my dreams in which accidents occur," says Diaz in his artist statement. "I want the audience to think about how dreams make you feel like you are truly experiencing that one specific moment. I want my audience to experience a dream I had in such a tangible and visceral way."

The William Hyde and Susan Benteen Irwin Scholarship Fund was established in 1986, generating annual merit scholarships to further the education of selected UC Santa Cruz arts students.

The 2010 recipients are Calen Barca Hall, JJ Campanaro, Amy Boewer, Rosie Chesney, Leonel Diaz, Nathan Dickersin-Prokopp, Carrie Ferguson, Bridget Ho, Laurel Maha, Martha Rodriguez, Kenny Srivijittakar, and Cahill Wessel.

The 2010 Irwin Scholars Exhbition runs from May 27 through June 12 at the Mary Porter Sesnon Gallery on the UCSC campus. An opening reception will take place on Thursday, May 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. For more information, go to Sesnon Gallery or call (831) 459-5667.