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ASU artists earn state arts commission grants

March 21, 2008

The Arizona Commission on the Arts has awarded 10 out of 17 Artist Projects grants to ASU artists. Seven award winners are ASU professors, one is a university employee, and three are alumni.

The ASU grant awardees are Julie Anand, Jose Benavides, Eliza N. Gregory, Hilary Harp, Cynthia Hogue, Zachary C. Jones, Jeff McMahon, Dominic Miller, Patricia Murphy and Chris Pexa.

Offered yearly, each Artist Projects grant awards up to $5,000 to artists to help them build their careers through artistic projects. The commission received 134 applications in many artistic disciplines from across the state for the 2008 Artist Projects grants.

The artist projects and grant descriptions include:

• “Between” by Julie Anand. The artist, along with her collaborator, photographer Damon Sauer, will create composite pictures by weaving together strips from two large, original photographs. The weaving will create a series of thousands of tiny intersections that echo the larger intersection of the images seen at a distance. Anand is an assistant professor of photography at ASU, and Sauer is an adjunct professor of photography at Glendale Community College. Both artists live in Phoenix.

• “Lupita” by Jose A. Benavides. The artist will build a 17-foot-long statue-automobile of the Virgen de Guadalupe, called the Lupita Car. The statue will be formed from automotive license plates-mostly from the United States and Mexico. Benavides earned a master’s degree in fine arts from ASU in 1996. Benavides lives in Chandler.

• “Fuse: Portraits of Refugee Households in Metropolitan Phoenix” by Eliza N. Gregory. The photographer will be making portraits of three Liberian refugee families that have been resettled in the Phoenix area. Gregory works for ASU’s University Student Initiatives as a project specialist and photographer. She lives in Tempe.

• “El Dorado” by Hilary Harp. The artist, with collaborator Suzie Silver, will create a 20-minute non-narrative video about a space station where aliens meet in a nightclub. Funding will go toward producing a series of five one-minute, stop-motion sequences. This project is an extension of feminist science fiction, in which criticism of gendered subjectivity leads to the invention of more plural and heterogeneous social relations. Harp is an assistant professor of sculpture at ASU, while Silver is an associate professor in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. Harp lives in Tempe.

• “Voice-Prints: A Katrina Elegy” by Cynthia Hogue. The poet and her collaborator, photographer Rebecca Ross, will do an exploration in words and images of the journey from New Orleans to Phoenix of 12 Katrina evacuees, documenting their individual stories of grief and hope. Hogue is the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry in the Department of English at ASU. Ross is an award-winning photographer whose work has been exhibited nationally and abroad. Hogue lives in Phoenix; Ross lives in Tempe.

• “The Inner Nature of Water: Rendering the Pulse of the Environment” by Zachary C. Jones. The artist and collaborator, Jeannine Davies, will produce sculptural forms, evocative of whirlpools and hurricanes, with electronically mediated controls to guide flows of water. Jones received an M.F.A. degree from ASU’s Arts, Media and Engineering Program in 2007. Both artists live in Tempe.

• “Counter-Indications” by Jeff McMahon. The artist, with collaborator Jacob Pinholster, a media designer, will create an installation-based performance using live and virtual actors to explore the nature of interrogation and disorientation. Through a “fake” intervention-exploration, the artists will investigate how a person can be guided, even coerced, into saying things he or she does not believe, seeing things he or she has not seen, and confessing when no confession is justified. McMahon is an assistant professor in the School of Theatre and Film at ASU, and Pinholster is an assistant professor of media design at ASU. McMahon lives in Tempe.

• “Teeth as White as Bone (Chemotherapeutical Turbine Songs)” by Dominic Miller. The artist, along with collaborator Adrianna Delgadillo, will record the experiences of Navajo uranium miners living on the Navajo Nation that later will be joined with sculptural and installation-based artworks. The artists also will create a Web site where they will make available their research. Miller graduated from the Herberger College of the Arts in 2005 with an emphasis in printmaking. Both artists live in Phoenix.

• “My Brother’s Genius” by Patricia Murphy. The writer will write a memoir about her brother, describing the dynamics of a family of four who survive the implosion of mental illness, addiction and self-destructive behavior. The story will explore how the writer, a socially more compliant student, survived and thrived in school, while her brother, a musical genius, floundered – prescribing their different paths into adulthood. Murphy is a lecturer at the ASU Polytechnic campus where she teaches poetry, fiction and nonfiction. She lives in Phoenix.

• “A Throne of Horses” by Chris Pexa. The poet will produce a book-length collection of prose poems exploring the intersections of family stories and official histories of the Spirit Lake Sioux reservation by imaging the afterlife of a recently deceased tribal elder – the poet’s grandmother – as an escape narrative. As an ASU Department of English alumnus, Pexa received a master’s degree in creative writing in 2003. Pexa teaches English and creative writing at Pima Community College. He lives in Tucson.