The Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery is excited to introduce IRWIN 2021: Fabricating Solace, the 35th annual Irwin Scholarship exhibition, which showcases the work of a select group of UC Santa Cruz’s accomplished young artists from the Art Department.
IRWIN 2021: Fabricating Solace, a virtual exhibition, is now LIVE!
See the exhibition in our virtual gallery space HERE
Click on any artist's name below to see more of their work, full-length artist videos, biographies, and artist statements.
The 2021 Irwin Scholars are:
Following a year in isolation and combating unprecedented hardships, finding relief has become a vital part of people’s daily routines. As we all form spaces that provide us some level of solace, how do we determine what is sincere and what is not? How do we trick ourselves into feeling safe and in control?
Fabricating Solace brings together the work of 12 artists who have stitched a patchwork of their experiences of found comfort and collaboration. They create a space for conversations around the perseverance of artists in the context of our changing world. Fabricating Solace aims to explore fabric as a metaphor for connection and collectivity while also bringing to mind the often insincere implications of the word “fabricate.”
Fabricating Solace means “a break from exhaustion. It’s finding a space to disconnect from life’s ongoing stress and restore balance,” says Irwin scholar Abby McPhillips. Connor Alexander agrees: “Art has been a source of solace for all of us over the past year — hopefully this show will show that!” Chloe Calhoun says, “The past year has been very isolating, and each one of us has had to create our own comfort even just to tread water. ‘To fabricate’ can also mean to falsify, and when everything seems to be falling apart, the day-to-day rituals that are normally reassuring can seem like rather flimsy lies.” In that same vein, Lucinda Rose Gold adds that “We share a compulsion to create a swift escape from reality through our work, or to recontextualize and rewrite the past and present.”
Showcasing a variety of approaches to contemporary art practice, the exhibition includes painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, video installation, stop-motion animation, artist’s books, and performance.
[The Art of Change podcast featuring the Irwin Scholars: Listen to the Irwin Scholars talk about the personal challenges of studying and working remotely, while also trying to create work for a virtual exhibition during a pandemic.
About the Irwin Scholarship
The William Hyde and Susan Benteen Irwin Scholarship Fund was established in 1986, with a modest donation by Sue Irwin, and now generates 12 annual merit scholarships to further the education of selected UC Santa Cruz students for proven excellence in the arts. The scholars are nominated by the art department faculty to submit a portfolio of work and then are selected by an all faculty vote. This annual, professionally organized exhibition has become a tradition in the art department and for the Sesnon Gallery for 35 years. This scholarship shows the far-reaching effects of support for the arts.
The Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery encourages interdisciplinary discourse through the lens of the arts. The gallery is currently closed through Spring 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.