← Exhibitions

James D. Phelan Art Award in Printmaking

Sponsored by
The San Francisco Foundation

The James D. Phelan Art Awards were established by the trust of James D. Phelan (1861-1930), former San Francisco Mayor, United States Senator, and arts supporter, to recognize the achievements of California-born artists in a variety of disciplines. The Phelan Art Awards are also given in photography, film and video and are part of the Art Awards Program of The San Francisco Foundation. The James D. Phelan Art Award in Printmaking honors two California-born artists with a $5000 cash prize and an exhibition at the Kala Gallery. This year’s esteemed juror, Larry Rinder, Director of Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives, selected Harry Clewans and Maizie Gilbert from a competitive field of artists working in a wide array of print processes. Larry Rinder also acknowledged Sarah Newton with an Honorable Mention for her high quality work in printmaking.

Berkeley-based artist Harry Clewans studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute, although he is essentially self-taught. In the 1980’s Harry began an exploration of the woodcut process and has gone on to develop a unique print-collage process. Harry creates drawings of simple random objects based on the graphic style of both scientific illustrations and historical medical prints. He draws directly onto wooden blocks, then hand-carves and prints the woodcut images. His studio process involves intricately cutting and collaging his prints into large and fantastically complex compositions that are comprised of a multitude of obsessive details. His initial drawing of a seedpod can evolve into the mottled and puckered skin of an octopus through the collage process. Layered meanings and visual associations are created between the image in its entirety and the individual components that comprise these complex collaged images.

San Francisco artist Maizie Gilbert is a photographer and print maker. Working with a 1970’s Polaroid camera, Gilbert shoots in low light situations, creating soft images of landscapes and people. The images are non-specific, referencing images as recalled in memories. Her studio process involves scanning her original Polaroid images and making large archival pigment prints on paper.

San Francisco artist Sarah Newton received an Honorable Mention acknowledgement from juror Larry Rinder. Sarah’s etchings and woodcut prints depict desolate urban scenes filled with liquor stores, fenced-off lots and abandoned buildings. Her meticulous depiction of such subjects is a form of contemplation on the commonplace and the value in the ordinary that is so often overlooked.

The public is invited to join us in an awards reception at the Kala Gallery on Thursday,
October 15 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.

New Kala Gallery location:
2990 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

Gallery Hours:
Tuesday – Friday, Noon – 5:30pm; Saturday, Noon – 4:30pm

Exhibitions are free and open to the public.

Kala gratefully acknowledges support from Alameda County Arts Commission, Alliance of Artists Communities, Berkeley Civic Arts Commission, California Arts Council, CEC ArtsLink, City of Emeryville, Crescent Porter Hale Foundation, Francis Collins & Dream Builders, City of Emeryville, Emery Ed Fund, Emery Unified School District, The Walter and Elise Haas Fund, The James Irvine Foundation, LEF Foundation, The Thomas J. Long Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The Nichols Foundation, Open Circle Foundation, The Bernard Osher Foundation, The PSB Fund, The San Francisco Foundation, The Sato Foundation, Seth Sprague Foundation, Van Loben Sels/RembeRock Foundation, Mercy and Roger Smullen Fund, The Andy Warhol Foundation, Wareham Development, West Berkeley Foundation, The Bernard E. and Alba Witkin Charitable Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and the Friends of Kala Art Institute