TSFF & SOMArts Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Exhibition


The San Francisco Foundation and SOMArts Cultural Center present a focused look at the future of the Bay Area visual and media arts landscape. The Annual Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Exhibition showcases the work of promising visual artists from regional Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs working across disciplines and identifies young artists whose work intersects with emerging trends.

Opening with a reception and awards ceremony Friday, September 5, 2014, 6:30–9pm, awards at 7pm, the exhibition surveys new work from the 24 recipients of the competitive Jack and Gertrude Murphy Fellowships and the Edwin Anthony and Adelaine Bourdeaux Cadogan Scholarships Awards, administered by The San Francisco Foundation.

The two awards, left to the Foundation as legacy gifts, provide annual tuition assistance of $5,000 to a number of Bay Area Fine Arts graduate students in support their artistic potential in digital art, film/video, hybrid practice, installation, mixed media, painting, photography and sculpture.


Brian Pittman’s mixed media pieces explore the racial tensions still prevalent in our society. His drawings incorporate symbolic materials such as charcoal ashes acquired from a Klansman’s charred crosses, flags, vintage newspaper clippings, and grape soda. The resulting multiple layers of ghostly portraits, dark colors, and vibrant lines and splashes create alluring imagery that entices the viewer, as well as reveals the hidden truths of our historical transgressions.


Paintings by Felicita Norris depict complex physical and psychological experiences in domestic settings. Luscious and dangerous, subjects, some bound in duress, loom over the viewer in large scale, vibrant color. These subjects simultaneously express a heroic and pathetic quality, evoking a number of different narrative possibilities that rest on the tension between figures enmeshed in a difficult situation.


Brian Dean’s black and white photographs are still and silent testimony to the places in the city where urban meets the natural and where the San Francisco Bay Trail intersects our daily lives. Dean’s graceful compositions depict the ways that nature and human intervention create new forms and inspiring relationships.

Malena Lopez-Maggi explores artificial nature, re-framing natural objects and phenomena through highly chromatic objects and images, such as polymer geodes and thunder eggs with bright centers and intricately patterned shells. Lopez-Maggi merges observation with imagination to produce forms that reference her immediate environment while evoking a playful otherworldliness.

Fellowship recipients were selected three esteemed jurors in the visual arts world including SOMArts Curator and Gallery Director Justin Hoover; Kira Lyons, Associate Director, Wendi Norris Gallery, San Francisco; and Monica Ramirez-Montagut, Executive Director, Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans.

After careful evaluation of the 130 applicants, the panel recommended the following outstanding MFA visual art students to receive awards:

Shannon Abac, San Francisco State University
Brittany Acocelli, San Francisco Art Institute
Kim Arteche, San Francisco State University
Ekin Balcioglu, California College of the Arts
Jesus Barraza, California College of the Arts
Nash Bellows, San Francisco State University
Brian Dean, San Francisco Art Institute
Leslie Dreyer, University of California Berkeley
Michael Garfoot, San Francisco Art Institute
Tanja Geis, University of California Berkeley
Lee Lavy, University of California Berkeley
Joshua Lee, San Francisco Art Institute
Malena Lopez-Maggi, Mills College
Cait Molloy, San Francisco Art Institute
Christopher Nickel, Stanford University
Felicita Norris, Stanford University
Brian Pittman, California College of the Arts
Emmanuel Sevilla, California College of the Arts
Brandon Shimmel, California College of the Arts
Jessica Smith, Mills College
Matt Smith Chavez, University of California Berkeley
Ileana Tejada, San Francisco Art Institute
Xiao Wang, San Francisco Art Institute
Scott Welsh, San Francisco Art Institute

The Annual Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Exhibition
September 2–20, 2014
Gallery hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12–7pm & Saturday, 12–5pm

Opening Reception & Awards Ceremony
Tuition awards will be presented by The San Francisco Foundation to all exhibiting artists.
Friday, September 5, 6:30–9pm, awards at 7pm

Makers, Music & Mimosas
An afternoon of artist-led creative workshops and live music.
Saturday, September 20, 12–3pm
Click here for more information