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Cynthia Lahti: Bonnie Bronson Fellowship Award

Mon, 03/02/2015

Cynthia Lahti receives Twenty-fourth Annual Bonnie Bronson Fellowship Award

Portland Ore (March 2)--Cynthia Lahti to receive the 24th annual Bonnie Bronson Fellowship Award. A free, public reception for the artist will be held at Reed College on Wednesday, April 15, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., in the Reed College Performing Arts Building, 3RD Floor Atrium, 3203 SE Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202.

Since its formal inception in 1992, the Bronson Fund has annually awarded a no-strings-attached cash prize to an artist of outstanding merit who lives and works in the Pacific Northwest. In addition, the Bronson Fund purchases artwork by each new Bronson Fellow, adding it to the Bronson Collection of works by Bronson Fellowship recipients. The collection is on long-term loan to Reed College, where it is exhibited throughout campus, and is professionally curated, maintained, and overseen by the director of the Cooley Gallery of Art.

Cynthia Lahti is a native of Portland, Oregon. She left Oregon to attend the Rhode Island School of Design, and returned after graduating in 1985. Lahti makes intimately-scaled figurative sculptures out of various materials and combinations of materials, including ceramics, glass, and paper. She also works in drawing and collage. She states, “Currently I am focusing on ceramic and paper sculpture based on expressive images of the figure I find in a variety of source materials. There are so many figures out there in the world, wearing so many poses and costumes; I find those that resonate and interpret them in clay. Each sculpture expresses an intense inner psychological state, its surface effecting a fluctuating quality, part beautiful, part grotesque.”

Cynthia Lahti is a highly respected artist whose recent awards include the Hallie Ford Fellowship (2013) and Oregon Arts Commission Artist Fellowship (2006). Selected exhibitions include Disjecta’s Portland2012, Zentrum für Ceramic 2012 (Berlin, Germany), and the Bellevue Art Museum Biennial 2010. Her work is in the collections of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene, Oregon; Reed College, Portland, Oregon; Boise Art Museum, Boise, Idaho, among others. Lahti is represented by PDX Contemporary Art, Portland, Oregon, where she will be exhibiting new works March 2-28, 2015.

THE BONNIE BRONSON FUND was established in 1991 under the aegis of the Oregon Community Foundation to award an annual fellowship to an artist living and working in the Pacific Northwest. The fund was inspired by the memory of Oregon artist Bonnie Bronson who died in a climbing accident in August of 1990. Bonnie's art works included enamel on steel sculpture, welded and painted steel collages, painting and carpet design, and were considered a powerful force in the Pacific Northwest art community in her lifetime.

Since 1992, the BONNIE BRONSON FUND has selected twenty-four fellows through a confidential nomination process. The guiding principles are to advance and encourage creative and intellectual growth in a working artist of the Pacific Northwest region, specifically Oregon and Washington. The award is a cash prize and purchase of a work of art for the Bonnie Bronson Collection, which is housed at Reed College and displayed prominently throughout campus. Artists may not apply for this award and the new Fellow is informed with a simple phone call.

Past recipients include: Christine Bourdette, Judy Cooke, Ronna Neuenschwander, Fernanda D’Agostino, Carolyn King, Lucinda Parker, Judy Hill, Adriene Cruz, Helen Lessick, Ann Hughes, Malia Jensen, Christopher Rauschenberg, Kristy Edmunds, Paul Sutinen, Bill Will, Laura Ross-Paul, MK Guth, Marie Watt, David Eckard, Nan Curtis, Pat Boas, Wynne Greenwood and Vanessa Renwick.

Family and friends established the Bonnie Bronson Fund in her memory in 1991 as a special interest fund under the aegis of the Oregon Community Foundation. The purpose of the fund was to publish a catalog documenting Bronson’s work and life, and to award an annual fellowship. Publication of the catalog coincided with the Bronson retrospective exhibition mounted by the Portland Art Museum in 1993.