The San Francisco Art Dealers Association (SFADA) is pleased to announce the winner of the 2017 San Francisco Artist Award (SFAA), sculptor May Wilson. The award exhibition is hosted by Themes+Projects gallery, in atrium of the Minnesota Street Project.
Wilson is an emerging artist working in sculpture and installation with industrial materials. She describes her process as an investigation and abstraction of material that explores her interest in construction and the innate tensile strength of industrial materials. The sculptures consist primarily of vinyl, industrial felt, nylon strapping, sand and concrete that have been transformed into abstract pieces of imaginary histories. According to Wilson, “they become a palette of color and textures with vague references, indicating some past function, in a scale that is not our own.” While her sculptures exude sincerity in their straightforward materials and forms, their quirky personalities are infectious.
This will be Wilson’s first solo gallery exhibition. Prior to this, she has been awarded a Graduate Fellowship at Headlands Center for the Arts and has been recognized by SFMOMA as a finalist for the SECA Award. Wilson has projects included in the library collections at The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and her work has been exhibited in numerous group shows. She holds an MFA from UC Davis and a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art.
About San Francisco Artist Award
The San Francisco Artist Award, founded by Gallery Wendi Norris in 2011, is a biennial prize aiming to support San Francisco Bay Area artists and provide greater opportunities for artists to have viable careers while living in San Francisco. The award recognizes a deserving local artist with a solo exhibition commensurate with the level and sophistication of a professional gallery show, including close collaboration on the exhibition planning, curating, and layout; press outreach; an official opening; a presence on the SFADA website for the duration of the exhibition; and a dedicated team working on collections – public and private alike.
“I founded the San Francisco Artist Award in 2011 because I felt there was a fundamental lack of support for the diverse artistic talent right here in the Bay Area. The intent was that by offering this platform for experience, professional support, and critical visibility, the award would serve as a catalyst for artists to remain in the Bay Area while realizing their artistic pursuits nationally and globally,” commented Wendi Norris, Owner and Managing Director at Gallery Wendi Norris and former Board President of the SFADA. Artists in the San Francisco Bay Area often migrate to cities like New York and Los Angeles because they cannot find sufficient local support for their artistic practice. With this award, galleries wish to give laudable artists the opportunity to continue their practice in the Bay Area.
In 2017, the SFADA assumed full responsibility over administration of the award, designating one of its 50 member galleries to host the exhibition and collaborate with the awarded artist. “The SFADA is the perfect home for the SFAA,” noted Mark Pinsukanjana, co-owner of Theme+Projects and current Board President. “As a group of dealers promoting connoisseurship in our field, fostering support for the important artists working right under our noses is critical to our mission.”
More than 30 artists were nominated for the 2017 award by art professionals, collectors and artists. This year, the competition was judged by a jury comprised of Rena Bransten of Rena Bransten Gallery; Hesse McGraw, Vice President for Exhibitions & Public Programs at the San Francisco Art Institute; and Ala Ebtekar, an accomplished local visual artist represented by Anglim Gilbert Gallery. After careful deliberation, the jurors were pleased to select May Wilson as the recipient of the 2017 San Francisco Artist Award.
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