Conor G. Bloomer, studio art major from Watertown, Massachusetts, is the 2017 recipient of the Department of Art’s prestigious Margaret Stonewall Wooldridge Hamblet Award. As the Hamblet winner, he will receive a $25,000 prize that provides funds for a year of art research and travel. A year and a half after graduation, Bloomer will return to Space 204 to mount a solo exhibition of the work completed during the award year.
His installation, Pozo (with excerpts from Proteus Resurrectum, a novel about friendship) was selected for the award following a juried competition involving exhibition, interviews, and a written proposal. Pozo is a collaborative project with his peer, James A. Mentz, an introspective project focused on love, friendship and union and their inherent shortcomings. It is composed of three distinct parts: a novel, Proteus Resurrectum, an installation in Space 204 Gallery, Pozo, and a short film, Rio. Both the novel and the film can be found at the website PozoDeLosGigantes.com, which is also provided on the back of the postcards at the entrance to the installation.
“Collaboration has allowed me to work in varied and unexpected material ways: from poetry to painting; printmaking to video; and fashion to performance and installation,” according to Bloomer’s artist’s statement. “Additionally, it has allowed me to gain richer and deeper perspectives on a wide variety of topics, such as neocolonialism, toxic masculinity, erasure and nihilistic dread.”
The $10,000 Merit Award was presented to Tongqi Wang from Beijing, China. “I work in photography, video art, installation art, and performance art to explore my identity formed under a different cultural background,” Wang wrote. “My works are to challenge the boundary of cultures, exploring universal connections between them and discover things that are more tied to our human nature.”
Their art can be viewed as part of the 2017 Senior Show now on display through May 12 in Space 204, second floor gallery of the Department of Art. Other graduating art majors exhibiting their work include Alison Chen, Marcelle A. Coronel, Sophia M. Day, Ashlin Dolan, Lee Setili, Qinyuan Sun, and Marguerite Poitevent Zabriskie.
Senior Show 2017 is on display Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm. The gallery is located in the E. Bronson Ingram Studio Arts Center, 25th and Garland on the Vanderbilt campus.
Distinguished artists and educators selected as Hamblet jurors this year were Dalida Maria Benfield from Vermont College of Fine Arts, Christopher (Kit) White from Pratt Institute, and Phillip Andrew Lewis from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
The Allan P. DeLoach Memorial Prize in Photography was awarded to Khairunnisa Aqilah Md Ridzuan ($150), with runners-up Sam Kaplan ($100); Anza Binti Zulfaka ($50); and Landon Foster Stokes, honorable mention.
Recipients of Mid-South Ceramics awards were Annie Pan, first place ($50); Harrison Thomas, second place ($50); and Hannah Albers and Emily Flatt, honorable mention. Students receiving Plaza awards were Joshua Forges, first place ($50); Lauren Ballejos, second place ($50); Fatumata Fofana, third place ($50); Yanking Chen, fourth place ($50); and Ernest Gustave, honorable mention.
**Conor G. Bloomer with James A. Mentz. Pozo, ink on paper, 2017; and Tongqi Wang, Baptism (still), 2016.