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Irwin 2019: Present/Tense

Opening Reception
Wed, May 29, 2019, 5:00 pm to Thu, May 30, 2019, 4:59 pm
Sesnon Gallery

Come and celebrate with this years Irwin Scholarship Award recipiants! Enjoy refreshments and live music while viewing the exhibition and getting a chance to talk to the students about their work.

Reception 5-7pm; Awards Ceremony and Remarks 6pm

The Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery is excited to introduce IRWIN 2019: Present/Tense, the 33rd annual Irwin Scholarship Award exhibition, which showcases the work of a select group of UC Santa Cruz’s most promising young artists: Ella Boker, Lizzy Choi, Jesse Collins, John Contreras, Marcus Cota, Kaleigh Fleischmann, Jamie Franks, Sophie Lev, d Lynch, Gregory Shilling, Oliver Stoops, Ashley Rose Tacheira, and Yu Zheng.

In this present age, information is distributed virally through online digital platforms. As emerging artists, “How do we anchor ourselves to our personal understanding of the world when we are constantly being bombarded with images of false advertising and propaganda?” The Irwin scholars ask, "How does the role of the artist evolve in a generation where content creation and self-publishing have become increasingly accessible?”

Present/Tense features thirteen artists whose works both process and challenge these questions and the insecurities of a constantly shifting socio-cultural landscape.  Examining the personal impact of structural inequality, environmental destruction, technological anxiety, globalized alienation, and the commodification of the self, Present/Tense explores the position of the artist in an unsustainable world. It is an attempt to navigate the 21st century maze of institutional boundaries, powerful corporations and exponentially-progressing technologies with candid self-expression and humor.

Showcasing a variety of approaches to contemporary art practice, the exhibition includes drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, stop-motion animation, artists’ books, performance, and video installation.

In the face of blatant structural corruption, an increased need for honesty is placed upon the voices of the next generation. “I look forward to the Irwin scholar exhibit each year,” says 2012 Irwin scholar and local Santa Cruz artist Louise Leong. “It’s interesting to see the work of these emerging artists’ transform or conform to a formal art space and hear the student perspectives of if and how a space influences their practice.”

About the Irwin Scholarship and the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery

As a way of ensuring that others would have the kind of art education that allowed her to flourish in the art community, the late Sue Irwin established the William Hyde And Susan Benteen Irwin Scholarship Fund in 1986 in honor of her husband. The Irwin Scholarship and group show is granted annually to undergraduate UCSC students for proven excellence in the arts.

The Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery encourages interdisciplinary discourse through the lens of the arts. The gallery is located at Porter College above the koi pond at UC Santa Cruz, and is wheelchair accessible. Admission is free and metered parking is available at Porter College.  Gallery hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 12–5:00 p.m. and Wednesday, 12–8:00 p.m. The gallery is a short walk from the bus stop at Porter College. Group tours are available by appointment at 831-459-3606, or via email



Instagram: @sesnon.ucsc