Celebrate Women’s History Month With Five Artworks by Women Artists on View at SAM

Every March, the United States recognizes women’s past and present contributions to society with Women’s History Month. On International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8, we took to social media to highlight the five ongoing and upcoming solo SAM exhibitions by remarkable contemporary women artists. They include:

Now, our celebration of Women’s History Month continues with this round-up of five artworks by women artists you can currently see on view in SAM’s galleries. The five artworks discussed below represent only a few of the many works by women artists in SAM’s collection, but show the range of different techniques, subject matter, and ideas they bring to their art. Women have always been artists and craftspeople, but they have not always been celebrated or acknowledged for their contributions. Plan your next visit to the Seattle Art Museum to appreciate these artworks in person and learn more about the historical and contemporary artists who made them.


Yunarla, 2010
Yukultji Napangati

The precisely painted dots of Yunarla form patterns and undulations that take on a meditative, entrancing quality. Curving lines radiate out from the central knot, suggestive of a topographic map in some ways, but also referring to the vines of the bush banana. Also called the silky pear vine, the bush banana (marsdenia australis) only grows in Australia and serves as food with edible fruit, roots, leaves, seeds and flowers. The name Yunarla also signifies a particular rockhole and soakage site where ancestral women camped to replenish their energy near these places in the desert where water is stored beneath the surface of the sand. 

Yukultji Napangati (born ca. 1970) lived with her family in the Gibson Desert until 1984, when she and several others from her Pintupi tribe made contact with non-Indigenous Australians for the first time. The “Pintupi Nine” became a media sensation as a “lost tribe,” while they insisted they were not lost, as they were living as their ancestors had for millennia. While adjusting to culture shock, Napangati became aware of the Papunya Tula’s community art center, which established a thriving business for Australian Aboriginal people to create and sell their art in 1972. Women began painting in the mid-1990s, and Napangati quickly adopted the ethos of educating outsiders by conveying extensive knowledge about her community and culture through this restrained mark making. Don’t miss your chance to see this work in Honoring 50 Years of Papunya Tula Painting, which closes after April 14.

The First People, 2008
Susan Point

The First People was commissioned for the Seattle Art Museum and stands twelve feet tall, greeting visitors to the museum’s Native American art galleries. Prominent Northwest Coast artist Susan Point (born 1951) brings traditional Salish forms and techniques to contemporary and often public settings to share the history and culture of First Nation people. Point has been credited with single-handedly reviving a unique Salish style that laid dormant for nearly 100 years; she is among only a handful of Native female artists working in the media of woodcarving.

In this work, the eight faces connecting via flowing tendrils refer to the hereditary roots and extended families of the Salish people. These root-like forms also signify the fjords and meandering pathways that punctuate the traditional homelands of her own people, the Musqueam of the Fraser Delta in present-day Vancouver. These pathways are the lifelines that yield salmon and other foods for Salish people. Looking closely at the carving, we can see the perfectly smooth surface of the faces, in contrast to the visible chisel marks of the roots, both showcasing the natural beauty of the cedar wood itself, a material highly valued by First Peoples.

Dug Up from Kitchen Weeds, 2014
Ebony Patterson

In its barrage of color, pattern, and glittering textures, Dug Up from the Kitchen Weeds, on view in Remember the Rain, hides a more somber image. The black-and-white stripes at the center clothe a figure that is lying face down. Though this form is camouflaged within the pink floral background, rhinestones, and tropical birds and plants, it is also hypervisible. Once you notice the stripes, leopard print pants, and red shirt, you can’t overlook them.

Ebony Patterson (born 1981) cites bling funerals, an increasingly popular occurrence in Kingston, Jamaica, as a source of reference, as “the glitter and bling shines light on things.” These lavish celebrations held for working class people say, “You may not have noticed me when I was alive, but you will damn well see me before I leave.” Patterson is interested in bringing people on the margins into focus in her work—first by catching the eye with striking color and imagery, and then by asking viewers to look more closely and see what they find embedded within and protruding from the surface of her collages. Her aesthetic of ornamentation and ostentation often takes on qualities of both disguise and hypervisibility to engage with issues one might rather ignore, such as wealth disparity, high murder rates, and police-related deaths in Jamaica.

Codigo Desconhecido #5, 2015 
Marilá Dardot

Marilá Dardot (born 1972) often works with text-based materials—including books, printed cards, and magazines—to explore ideas of language, communication, and memory. In Codigo Desconhecido #5 (which translates to “unknown code”), books are cut down to their spines, rendering them illegible. Instead of reading and accessing the books’ knowledge, the viewer is left to see these books as objects or artifacts. Each book is cut or ripped to reveal its unique paper and binding materials rather than its words, making its structure but not its content visible.

This work, on view in SAM’s modern and contemporary art galleries, is part of a series that Dardot began during an artist’s residency in Vienna, when she was surrounded by books in a language she could not read. Words are powerful, but here she removes them and in doing so, opens up many avenues for interpretation. Dardot’s work plays with books as our main source and conduit of knowledge—questioning which stories get told or repressed, how translation and language can limit our understanding of others, and possibilities for political resistance on the page and outside of it.

The Sink, 1956
Joan Mitchell

The Sink (1956) is nearly ten feet in length; its size engulfs the viewer in a range of colors, textures, and feelings. Joan Mitchell (1925–1992) was an artist who used her memories, experiences, and environment as inspiration for her abstract works, seeking, in her own words, “to define a feeling.” The Sink, also on view in SAM’s modern and contemporary art galleries, is an abstracted landscape of sorts, with its pools of green and blue interrupted by swirls, drips, and jagged lines in yellow and red and interspersed with thick applications of white paint. Rather than capturing a strictly realistic image of nature, this painting seems more like a memory or impression of a place built up with emotive brushstrokes and applications of paint.

Mitchell grew up in Chicago with strong interests in athletics, art, and literature, thanks to her mother, the poet Marion Strobel Mitchell. She studied art at the School of the Art Institute and then in France on a fellowship. She moved to New York in 1949 and joined the artistic scene there, becoming one of the few female Abstract Expressionists celebrated in her own time. About a decade later, she settled in France where she found artistic inspiration in Impressionists like Paul Cézanne and Claude Monet, continuing a long tradition of artists observing nature and finding her own unique visual language.

– Compiled by Nicole Block, SAM Collections Associate

Photos: Jo Cosme, Chloe Collyer, and Alborz Kamalizad.

Muse/News: Interesting Pictures, Ritual Objects, and Girls in Windows

SAM News

Here’s Margo Vansynghel of the Seattle Times with arts recommendations for December, including Elizabeth Malaska: All Be Your Mirror. The solo show features tour-de-force paintings by the 2022 winner of SAM’s annual prize for Northwest artists, the Betty Bowen Award.

“Malaska’s brushwork is at once vigorous, detailed and patterned, then loose and almost abstract or even droopy and distorted. The result is beautiful, unsettling and varied — and paints a much more interesting picture.”

“A theatrical new Calder exhibition staged in Seattle”: Don’t miss Elena Goukassian’s take for The Art Newspaper on Calder: In Motion, The Shirley Family Collection. She highlights the thoughtful curatorial choice to “frame his works as a delightfully subtle kind of performance.” ) She also mentions the playlist drawn from Calder’s own record collection.)

“These are all displayed in a newly configured gallery that features individual “stages” for the larger works, vitrines for the smaller ones and “overlook” balcony views—all with an eye towards spotlighting their theatrical nature.”

For the subscriber-only Airmail, Osman Can Yerebakan interviews the Shirleys and relays the story of the first time they heard Dispersed Objects with Brass Gong make a sound. (Are you patient enough to wait to hear it in the galleries?)

ICYMI! “Legendary Children Brought the House Down”: Jas Keimig and Susan Fried capture the magic for South Seattle Emerald.

Local News

It’s dark. Seattle Met helps with “Where to See Holiday Lights in Seattle.”

For her weekly ArtSEA post, Crosscut Brangien Davis features “art, film, and food to honor Native American Heritage Month.”

“Chehalis artist explores cultural appropriation of Native regalia”: Gayle Clemans for The Seattle Times on Selena Kearney: object/ritual, now on view at Solas Gallery.

“After shifting to a more conceptual art practice, Kearney has thought carefully about how much information to reveal in an image and how much to conceal. In this series, all of the photographs are taken in crisp detail with vivid color, as if they are beautiful documents of cheap, often offensive cultural relics.”

Inter/National News

Via Artnet: “5 Massive Pop Culture Moments From 2023 That Remind Us of Renaissance Paintings.”

Via Artdaily: The first New York solo exhibition for Natalie Ball—featuring never-before-seen works—just opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Ball was the winner of SAM’s 2018 Betty Bowen Award and her work is now on view at SAM. 

David Segal for The New York Times on Girls in the Windows (1960) by Ormond Gigli, a photograph that people keep buying and buying.

“He’s working without an assignment because he wants to memorialize those buildings, which stand directly across the street from his home studio. What he doesn’t know is that the image will become one of the most collected photographs in the history of the medium.”

And Finally

Another video from the Calder Foundation archives: The first performance of Work in Progress at Teatro dell’Opera, 1967–68.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

Meet the 2023 Betty Bowen Award Winner: Tariqa Waters

The Seattle Art Museum and the Betty Bowen Committee are proud to announce Seattle artist Tariqa Waters as the winner of the 2023 Betty Bowen Award! The juried award comes with an unrestricted cash award of $15,000 and a solo exhibition at SAM. This year’s committee included Gary Glant (Chair), Mike Hess, Mark Levine, Sangram Majumdar, Catharina Manchanda, Llewelyn Pritchard, Greg Robinson, Norie Sato, Anthony White, and Merrill Wright.

Tariqa Waters’s innovative practice encompasses mixed-media tableaus, paintings, photographs, film, and immersive installations that push the aesthetics of commercial advertising into surreal, otherworldly territory. It is at the juncture with product advertising that Waters interrogates the importance of styling and beauty, especially its significance for Black women. Her work will be featured at the Seattle Art Museum in a solo exhibition in 2025, with dates to be announced.

Solo exhibitions of Waters’s work have been shown in Seattle at the Hedreen Gallery, the Northwest African American Museum, and the Museum of Museums (MoM). She has been awarded multiple prizes and grants, including the Conductive Garboil Grant, the Artist Trust Fellowship Award, the Neddy Artist Award, and the Artist Trust Arts Innovator Award. Waters is a two-time finalist for the Betty Bowen Award, winning the Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award in 2020 and the Gary Glant Special Recognition Award in 2021. She was named one of Seattle’s Most Influential People in 2023 by Seattle Magazine.

Samantha Wall won the Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award and Mary Ann Peters won the Gary Glant Special Recognition Award, in the amount of $2,500 each. Finalists Derek Franklin, Lisa Liedgren Alexandersson, and Ido (Lisa) Radon will each receive Special Commendation Awards in the amount of $1,250, awarded annually since 2020. The six finalists were chosen from a pool of 414 applicants from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to compete for the $23,750 in awards.

Founded in 1977 to continue the legacy of local arts advocate and supporter Betty Bowen, the annual award honors a Northwest artist for their original, exceptional, and compelling work. Betty Bowen (1918–1977) was a Washington native and enthusiastic supporter of Northwest artists. Her friends established the annual Betty Bowen Award as a celebration of her life and to honor and continue her efforts to provide financial support to the artists of the region. Since 1977, SAM has hosted the yearly grant application process by which the selection committee chooses one artist from the Northwest to receive an unrestricted cash award, eligible to visual artists living and working in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

“This award serves as a testament to the countless hours, sleepless nights, and relentless dedication that I have poured into my craft,” says Waters. “It is a validation of the risks I have taken, the boundaries I have pushed, and the artistic growth I have experienced along the way. As an artist, it is not always easy to navigate the complexities of the creative process, but this recognition affirms that my work has resonated with others and has made a meaningful impact.”

The 2022 winner was Portland artist Elizabeth Malaska. Her solo exhibition, All Be Your Mirror, debuts at the Seattle Art Museum November 17, 2023–June 16, 2024. Learn more about Waters and all of the 2023 Betty Bowen finalists here.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Images: Tariqa Waters by Alex Cayley. Samantha Wall by Stephen Slappe. Mary Ann Peters by Amanda Smart.

Meet the 2023 Betty Bowen Award Finalists

Every year, SAM and the Betty Bowen Committee, chaired by Gary Glant, give the Betty Bowen Award, a juried award that comes with an unrestricted cash award of $15,000 and a solo exhibition at SAM. The award was founded in 1977 to continue the legacy of local arts advocate and supporter Betty Bowen and honors a Northwest artist (from Washington, Oregon, or Idaho) for their original, exceptional, and compelling work. In addition, two Special Recognition Awards in the amount of $2,500 and three Special Commendation Awards in the amount of $1,250 will be awarded by the Betty Bowen Committee.

Recent winners include Elizabeth Malaska (2022; her solo show All Be Your Mirror is on view November 17, 2023–June 16, 2024),  Anthony White (2021), and Dawn Cerny (2020). On view in SAM’s galleries right now are works by past winners Natalie Ball (2018), Jack Daws (2015), and Marie Watt (2005). The connections between SAM and these exceptional artists from our region continue over the years. 

Today, we are announcing the six finalists of the 2023 award who were selected from a pool of 414 applicants. Stay tuned for the announcement of the winner on October 23!

Derek Franklin – Portland, Oregon

Derek Franklin is an artist, curator, and artistic director who utilizes painting and sculpture to investigate the ways in which one responds to violence inextricably woven into societal structures. Drawing from constructivist theatre design, Franklin conceptualizes the home as a kind of stage and centers his inquiry on the objects that bear witness to daily domestic rituals, such as eating or drinking. Activated by the audience’s presence, Franklin’s work asks viewers to engage in communal experiences of sadness, awkwardness, and humor.


Lisa Liedgren Alexandersson – Seattle, Washington

Lisa Liedgren Alexandersson’s current project explores the intersections of artistic hierarchy, labor, and skill through the process of creating cotton and linen woven works. These materials evoke the history of painting through both material and the notion of the grid, a key point of investigation for their work. Adapting 1960’s Swedish kitchen towel weaving instructions into new artistic works, Liedgren Alexandersson prods the dual status of textiles as domestic, utilitarian objects, and as demonstrations of skillful aesthetic exploration.


Mary Ann Peters – Seattle, Washington

As a second generation Arab-American, Mary Ann Peters’s work constructs an outline for cultural inquiry that employs history, architecture, science, and heritage to respond to undermined diasporic narratives. Peters filters a personal exploration of these themes through the concept of audience perception and the ethical considerations of artistic discourse. Peters challenges the concept of an image being neutral, instead focusing on visuals that coalesce and redefine contemporary topics.


Ido (Lisa) Radon – Portland, Oregon

Ido Radon’s mixed media and multi-sensorial work is guided by long-term interests in the ideological and material structures and processes that produce reality under the conditions of advanced capitalism. Radon interrogates the use of various technologies to mediate the abstractions of capitalism and counter-histories of revolutionary impulses. The rise of the personal computer and community computing provide a historical and cultural grounding through which Radon incarnates feminist theory and critical discourses in complex aestheticized forms. 


Samantha Wall – Portland, Oregon

Samantha Wall’s recent series, Beyond Bloodlines, pulls from Korean folklore and Euro-centric mythologies to expose the effects of alienation and exile within the diaspora. Delicately layered on Dura-lar, the symbolic form of the serpent woman represents the status of Otherness applied to women who deviate from narrow margins of social acceptance. Wall’s drawings navigate the artist’s identity as a Black Korean immigrant, and remodel pathways for Black American narratives of existence within the US. 


Tariqa Waters – Seattle, Washington

Tariqa Waters is a multimedia artist who invokes traditional pop aesthetics to mediate the co-opting of Black culture, and consumerism. Her immersive installations, video works, large-scale sculptures, and photographs utilize humor, satire, and spectacle to critique and defy expectations, incorporating intentional anachronisms that navigate ideas of femininity, gender, race, and beauty. By recalling memory, myth, and tall-tales, Waters lays bare the contradictions and dualities rooted in Americana aesthetics.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Images: Installation view of Grief is On My Calendar Everyday at 2:00 PM, 2023, Derek Franklin, mixed media, 110 x 216 x 192 in. © Derek Franklin. B-cognition, 2023, Lisa Liedgren Alexandersson, linen, cotton, and wood, 63 x 30 x 240 in. Photo: Musse Barclay, © Lisa Liedgren Alexandersson. impossible monument (the threads that bind), 2023, Mary Ann Peters, silk, silk thread, silk waste, silk pods, glycerin, wood, and water, 84 x 60 x 144 in., © Mary Ann Peters. Sail or Temporary composition of a specter of a world, 2023, Ido Radon,, mixed media, 138 x 47 x 2 in. © Ido Radon. Becoming, 2023, Samantha Wall, conté crayon and ink on Dura-Lar, 80 x 80 in., © Samantha Wall. Pink Ball Barrette, 2022, Tariqa Waters, blown glass, 9 x 9 x 9 in. © Tariqa Waters.

Hello, 2023! A Sneak Peek at SAM’s Exciting Year Ahead

The new year brings new art… and lots of it! We’re so looking forward to an entire calendar’s worth of must-see exhibitions across all three of our dynamic locations and can’t keep it to ourselves any longer. Read below for a sneak preview of what’s to come at SAM over the next twelve months!

“There will be something for everyone at SAM in 2023,” says José Carlos Diaz, SAM Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art. “The exhibition schedule includes rich displays from the museum’s collection as well as a global array of dynamic art and programming from places such as Indonesia, Ghana, Japan, and right here in the Pacific Northwest region. 2023 welcomes not only a new year but also the 90th anniversary of SAM, which first opened to the public in June 1933.”

Kicking off the year, SAM’s modern and contemporary galleries now play host to Reverberations: Contemporary Art and Modern Classics. This array of art spotlights recent acquisitions and includes many works going on view for the first time. With works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Joan Mitchell, Mark Rothko, and Ruth Asawa, contemporary artists Senga Nengudi, Laura Aguilar, and Mickalene Thomas, and emerging artists Dana Claxton, Woody de Othello, Naama Tsabar, and Rashid Johnson, this collection installation explores the idea of ongoing artistic exchange. Many of the works on view are by artists of color and many are by women artists, reflecting the museum’s ongoing commitment to diversifying the collection and the perspectives we present.

On March 9, SAM will open Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth, presenting an immersive exploration of the complex textile created in regions around the globe. The exhibition will feature over 100 textiles made from the 12th century to the present including kimonos, furnishings, robes, and other cloths from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. A large-scale installation by contemporary artists Roland and Chinami Ricketts that offers the experience of walking into an ikat will also be on view.

Summer brings Soul of Black Folks, an exciting touring exhibition and the Seattle debut of Ghanian artist Amoako Boafo (b. 1984). One of the most influential artistic voices of his generation, Boafo is known for vibrant portraits that center on Black subjectivity, Black joy, the Black gaze, and radical care. Co-organized by the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Soul of Black Folks will present over 30 works created between 2016 and 2022.

Later in July, the Seattle Asian Art Museum will debut Renegade Edo and Paris: Japanese Prints and Toulouse-Lautrec, exploring the cities’ early 20th century artistic and social transformations. Through nearly 90 prints drawn from SAM’s Japanese prints collection as well as private holdings of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s artwork, this exhibition offers a critical look at the renegade spirit in the graphic arts in both Edo and Paris, highlighting the social impulses—pleasure seeking and theatergoing—behind the burgeoning art production.

Finally, the fall will see SAM celebrate the works of Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) with Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence, from the Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opening October 19 at SAM’s downtown location. Thanks to the popularity of the instantly recognizable Great Wave—cited everywhere from book covers and Lego sets to anime and emoji—Hokusai has become one of the most famous and influential artists in the world. This touring exhibition organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), takes a new approach to the work of the versatile master, pairing more than 100 of his woodblock prints, paintings, and illustrated books from the MFA’s collection with more than 200 works by his teachers, students, rivals, and admirers.

Other 2023 highlights at SAM include the solo exhibition of 2022 Betty Bowen Award winner Elizabeth Malaska; the SAM debut of artist, director, and writer Howard L. Mitchell—also known as GATO—whose 2019 film, Forgive Us Our Debts, tells the fictional story of Trey, a terrified 13-year-old Black boy who lives with his family in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood; large-scale sculptural works at the Olympic Sculpture Park 365 days a year; and so much more.

With so much in store for 2023, we can’t wait to welcome you back to SAM soon!

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations & Lily Hansen, SAM Marketing Content Creator

Photo Credits: Headdress–Shadae, 2019, Dana Claxton (Hunkpapa Lakota (Sioux), born 1959), LED firebox with transmounted chromogenic transparency. 60 1/2 x 40 1/2 x 7 in. (153.7 x 102.9 x 17.8 cm.), Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis Acquisition Fund for Global and Contemporary Art, 2022.2, © Dana Claxton. Image courtesy of the artist. Pardah hanging, late 19th century, Silk Road (Uzbekistan), silk, warp ikat, cotton weft, 90 x 65 in., Collection of David and Marita Paly. Black and White, 2018, Amoako Boafo, oil on paper, 39 3/8 x 27 1/2 in., Image and work courtesy private collection and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California, photo: Robert Wedemeyer. Tagasode of the Tamayo House, 1800-02, Kitagawa Utamaro, Japanese, 1754-1806, woodblock print: ink and color on paper, 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 in., Gift of Mary and Allan Kollar, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2017.23.13. Photo: Colleen Kollar Zorn. Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa-oki nami-ura), also known as the Great Wave, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjûrokkei), Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760–1849) about 1830–31 (Tenpô 1–2), woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. William Sturgis Bigelow Collection, Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. We Will Remain Separate, 2019, Elizabeth Malaska, oil, Flashe, pencil on canvas wrapped panel, 72 x 120 x 2 in., Courtesy of the artist, © Elizabeth Malaska.

Meet the 2022 Betty Bowen Award Winner: Elizabeth Malaska

The Seattle Art Museum and the Betty Bowen Committee are proud to announce Portland artist Elizabeth Malaska as the winner of the 2022 Betty Bowen Award! The juried award comes with an unrestricted cash award of $15,000 and a solo exhibition at SAM. This year’s committee included chair Gary Glant, Mike Hess, Mark Levine, Catharina Manchanda, Llewelyn Pritchard, Greg Robinson, and Norie Sato.

Malaska’s grand tableaux respond to a history of Western painting and power dynamics that often assigns women the roles of submissive accessories. In search of more potent and less pleasing feminine subjects, her tour de force paintings unpack historical genres, such as the reclining nude, and offer up challenging and introspective visions. Malaska is a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow, as well as the recipient of fellowships from The Joan Mitchell and Hallie Ford Foundations. Recent group exhibitions include Time Being at Oregon Contemporary and Making a Better Painting: Thinking Through Practice at Lewis and Clark College. Her work is in the collections of The Portland Art Museum, The Hallie Ford Museum, and The Schneider Museum of Art. Her work will be featured at the Seattle Art Museum in a solo exhibition in 2023, with dates to be announced. 

Klara Glosova won the Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award and Rafael Soldi won the Gary Glant Special Recognition Award, in the amount of $2,500 each. Finalists Sam Hamilton, Tim Hutchings, and Ric’kisha Taylor will each receive Special Commendation Awards in the amount of $1,250, awarded annually since 2020. The six finalists were chosen from a pool of 532 applicants from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to compete for the $23,750 in awards.

“Selecting the Betty Bowen Award winner is always a formidable task, and this year was no exception with an extraordinary pool of applicants,” says Gary Glant. “We are thrilled to see Betty’s legacy live on with this year’s winners, who all represent the incredible artistic talent and vision to be found in the Northwest.”

Founded in 1977 to continue the legacy of local arts advocate and supporter Betty Bowen, the annual award honors a Northwest artist for their original, exceptional, and compelling work. Betty Bowen (1918–1977) was a Washington native and enthusiastic supporter of Northwest artists. Her friends established the annual Betty Bowen Award as a celebration of her life and to honor and continue her efforts to provide financial support to the artists of the region. Since 1977, SAM has hosted the yearly grant application process by which the selection committee chooses one artist from the Northwest to receive an unrestricted cash award, eligible to visual artists living and working in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

“I am profoundly honored to have been chosen by the committee as the recipient of this year’s Betty Bowen Award,” says Malaska. “This is an exceptional opportunity, and I am already exhilarated thinking about the paintings I’m going to make. I wholeheartedly believe that art has the capacity to transform our world for the better. It is extraordinary to me that Bowen’s passion and legacy continues to support Northwest artists. Such a sustained reach of vision is deeply inspiring to me and something that I aspire to through my own work.”

The 2021 winner was Seattle artist Anthony White. His solo exhibition, Limited Liability, is currently on view at the Seattle Art Museum through January 29, 2023. Learn more about Malaska and all of the 2022 Betty Bowen finalists here.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Images: Photo of Elizabeth Malaska by Mario Gallucci. Photo of Klara Glosova by Jonathan Nesteruk. Photo of Rafael Soldi by Jess T. Dugan.

Meet the 2022 Betty Bowen Award Finalists

Every year, SAM and the Betty Bowen Committee give the Betty Bowen Award, a juried award that comes with an unrestricted cash award of $15,000 and a solo exhibition at SAM. The award was founded in 1977 to continue the legacy of local arts advocate and supporter Betty Bowen and honors a Northwest artist (from Washington, Oregon, or Idaho) for their original, exceptional, and compelling work. In addition, two Special Recognition Awards in the amount of $2,500 and three Special Commendation Awards in the amount of $1,250 will be awarded by the Betty Bowen Committee.

Recent winners include Anthony White (2021; his work is now on view at SAM), Dawn Cerny (2020), and Lynne Siefert (2019); the 2016 winner, Wendy Red Star, will have a new commission debut on October 20, 2022 as part of SAM’s exhibition, American Art: The Stories We Carry. The connections between SAM and these exceptional artists from our region continue over the years. 

Today, we are announcing the six finalists of the 2022 award who were selected from a pool of 532 applicants. Stay tuned for the announcement of the winner on November 1!

Klara Glosova – Seattle, WA

Made during the pandemic, Glosova’s recent body of work—one example is featured above—comprises introspective paintings that reflect a sense of loneliness, isolation, and a turn inward. Focusing on members of her family who had to cope with the loss of loved ones, her portraits capture a collective sadness, anxiety, and feeling of disconnect. Windows, mirrors, and screens of various kinds demarcate the threshold between the domestic interior and the world at large, while the architectural interiors stand in for the inner lives of those portrayed. 

Sam Hamilton – Portland, OR

Hamilton’s current project, Te Moana Meridian, is an experimental opera that doubles as a genuine proposal to the general assembly of the United Nations: to relocate the Prime Meridian from its current location outside Greenwich, England, to its antipodean coordinates in the South Pacific Ocean. The work is conceived as a five-channel video installation with singers performing the proposed text in English and Māori. If realized, the changes proposed by this work would replace the vestiges of colonial supremacy that marked the United Kingdom as the universal center of time and space, with a new measure for global equity.

Tim Hutchings – Beaverton, OR

In Hutchings work, play and poetry are actualized through systems of gameplay. Hutchings creates intricate and imaginative games and exercises that exist at the intersection of visual art and game-centric dynamism, often disguised as something else entirely, such as a book or a journal. The resulting installations command engagement and interaction, prompting the viewer-turned-participant to reflect on collective memory, loss, and shared emotional experiences. 

Elizabeth Malaska – Portland, OR

Malaska’s psychologically probing paintings explore and rupture the traditional gender hierarchies in Western art. In her revisionist undertaking, she cites visual elements from depictions of women in past and more recent painting, assembling them in new ways. In doing so, Malaska activates these histories and implied patriarchal hierarchies, to question their validity and propose more complex and potent feminine subjects.

Rafael Soldi – Seattle, WA

Soldi uncovers the ways in which aspects of identity, particularly queerness and masculinity, interact with normative sociopolitical structures and adolescent rituals, particularly in Latin American societies. Soldi’s most recent work, CARGAMONTÓN, is a series of photogravures depicting the adolescent roughhousing that is at once violent and homoerotic, reflecting on his own experiences as a youth growing up in Peru.

Ric’kisha Taylor – Seattle, WA

Taylor’s rich assemblage works draw on music videos, history, performance, fashion, and news articles as well as adult magazines. Rich and seductive in color, pattern, and materials, with a particular interest in textiles, her work draws the viewer close. Her subjects vogue and vamp, but grotesque distortions disrupt their easy consumption. The resulting collage works expose and challenge the sexualized stereotypes of Black bodies in popular culture and the media.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image credits: Scott in Armchair, 2021, Klara Glosova, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 x 2 in., Courtesy of the artist, © Klara Glosova. Te Moana Meridian performance still, 2021, Sam Hamilton, video, Courtesy of the artist, © Sam Hamilton. Thousand Year Old Campfire excerpt, 2023, Tim Hutchings, flowcharts, game book, 8 ½ x 5 ½ x ¼ in., Courtesy of the artist, © Tim Hutchings. We Will Remain Separate, 2019, Elizabeth Malaska, oil, Flashe, pencil on canvas wrapped panel, 72 x 120 x 2 in., Courtesy of the artist, © Elizabeth Malaska. CARGAMONTÓN (CM02), 2022, Rafael Soldi, aquatint photogravure, 27 ½ x 34 in., Courtesy of the artist, © Rafael Soldi. Pounce, 2022, Ric’kisha Taylor, acrylic, fabric, glitter, gems, chain, paper, pearls, sequins, 40 x 36 in., Courtesy of the artist, © Ric’kisha Taylor.

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