And the 2017 San Diego Art Prize Goes To…
The San Diego Visual Arts Network announced the winners of the highly acclaimed San Diego Art Prize: Rizzhel Javier and Alexander Kohnke. Dedicated to the idea that the visual arts are a necessary and rewarding ingredient of any world-class city and a building block of the lifestyle of its residents, the San Diego Art Prize promotes and encourages dialogue, reflection, and social interaction about San Diego’s artistic and cultural life.
Rizzhel Javier is an artist, an educator, and the founder of BRIDGE, a vehicle for emerging artists and art educators to learn through a variety of workshops, seminars, and events. Formally trained in darkroom black-and-white photography, Javier uses photography to make objects that explore memory, human interaction, and relationships. Her “Unmentionables” project features a collection of images and letters from people who don’t talk to each other anymore.
“It’s in my nature to obsess over the important things in my life,” Javier writes on her website. “I never do anything halfway. In my room, boxes of memories flood my closet. Inside, the containers are filled with photos and letters that stitch together my past, together revealing the framework of the person I am today and my keen sensibility to understand and (more frequently) misunderstand relationships.”
An advocate for arts education, Javier works with a variety of nonprofits in the San Diego area, including the AjA Project, which offers photography-based programming to displaced children and incarcerated youth. She also works with Pacific Arts Movement as an instructor for their documentary short film class Reel Voices.
Nominated by Melinda Chiment, executive director of the AjA Project, Javier will exhibit at Art San Diego 2017 as part of the San Diego Art Prize exhibition.
Alexander Kohnke was born in Germany and lived in Belgium and Switzerland before moving to Los Angeles in 1994 and San Diego in 2014. An artist and graphic designer, Kohnke works in drawing, photography, printmaking, and video to create work that is both personal and universal.”I tend to work with contrast,” Kohnke said in a recent interview with Keep the Channel Open.
“I think it’s a very useful tool to achieve a certain tension and achieve meaning and interest in a piece. If you take two things and let them fight it out, if you take something that’s very different from another thing and you mix them, you get this unrest and tension that gets really interesting.”
His recent work includes Tooth and Nail, roll print on paper and oil on acrylic, and Space Invaders, wax covered c-print and paper.
Kohnke’s works are held in private collections in La Jolla, California; Tucson, Arizona; Los Angeles, and Cologne, Germany. Nominated by collector Debra Poteet, Kohnke will exhibit at Art San Diego 2017 as part of the San Diego Art Prize exhibition.
In addition to the two winners, three artists who were nominated for the San Diego Art Prize will be featured as the 2017 New Contemporaries at Art San Diego. They include Michelle Montjoy, Cathy Breslaw, and Miriam Gabriela Garcia Aguirre. The exhibition is being curated by Patric Stillman, director of the Studio Door in San Diego.