MFA Student Emily Belknap Receives 2013 Chazen Prize

March 19, 2013

Photo: artwork "Vacant Lot"

Emily Belknap’s “Vacant Lot” will be on display during an exhibition of her works as part of the Chazen Prize to an outstanding MFA Student.

Photo courtesy of the artist

Painter and sculptor Emily Belknap has been named the winner of the 2013 Chazen Prize to an Outstanding MFA Student.

Instituted in 2012 to be given annually for five years, the Chazen Prize recognizes the creative excellence of a third-year MFA student in the UW–Madison Art Department. The award includes a museum exhibition and a monetary contribution intended to help the student further his or her artistic career.

“Backyard Dilemmas: Constructed Landscapes by Emily Belknap” will be on view at the Chazen Museum of Art from March 30-May 12 in the Oscar F. and Louise Greiner Mayer Gallery of the Elvehjem Building. There will be a reception on Thursday, April 4 from 5:30-7 p.m. in Paige Court.

The Chazen Prize is coordinated in collaboration with the Art Department and the selection is made by an outside curator. This year’s curator is Bartholomew Ryan, assistant curator in the visual arts department at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. He says he selected Belknap “because of the strong impression [her artworks made on him] and also the sense that they are connected to a wider philosophy of practice that the artist is developing both materially and conceptually.”

Belknap, in her artist’s statement, says: “From green lawns maintained with sprinklers to monoculture cornfields, . . . I explore the relationship between town margins and backyards. . . . We try to isolate nature into parks, fields and lawns, but natural processes are integral to all places. A landscape can be made simple, yet it will reach again toward complexity. The issue of maintenance is an underlying theme of this work.”

Support for the exhibition has been provided by the Chazen Museum of Art Council and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.