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Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation Art Prizes 2021

(Left) Porfirio Gutiérrez, by Joe Coca (Right) Jovan C. Speller

Ojai, California – The Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 awards. The Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation Art Prize will be awarded to Porfirio Gutiérrez, Mexican American, Zapotec textile artist, based in Ventura, California. The Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation Minnesota Art Prize will be awarded to Jovan C. Speller, Minneapolis based artist. Both prizes include exhibition projects at the Ojai Institute in Ojai, the artist centric initiative of the Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation. “Porfirio and Jovan have both taken deep dives into their ancestral land and cosmologies in their respective practices and it is an honor to celebrate them and the dynamic legacies they have inherited.” Frederick Janka, Executive Director, Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation.

The Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation Art Prize consists of an unrestricted gift of $10,000. Previous prize recipients include Tanya Aguiñiga (2020), Kelly Akashi (2019), Ry Rocklen (2018), and Rob Fischer (2017). The prize is awarded on an annual basis and the current focus is on supporting artists living in Southern California.

The Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation Minnesota Art Prize consists of an unrestricted gift of $5,000. Previous prize recipients include Dyani White Hawk (2020), David Rathman (2019). The prize is awarded on an annual basis and the current focus is on supporting artists living in Minnesota.

Artist Biographies:

Mexican American, Zapotec textile artist Porfirio Gutiérrez was born and raised in the richly historic Zapotec textile community of Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, Mexico. His life’s work has been reviving and preserving traditional Zapotec natural dyeing techniques, with a focus on reinterpreting traditional textiles and materials. 

Living and working in both Southern California, United States, and Oaxaca, Mexico, Gutiérrez’s practice brings awareness to a profound spiritual belief that nature is a living being, sacred, and divine. His expression in the arts resolves the apparent conflict between ancient and modern – between a hands-on life where one creates everything from the food one eats to the clothes one wears, versus an urban life where needs are met through complex systems of interacting mechanisms. He resolves the apparent dichotomy by integrating, reinterpreting, and incorporating the symbols and natural materials that have held meaning for thousands of years.  

The story of his art has been told in The New York Times and on PBS. He has been featured in Vogue Australia and American Indian Magazine of Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. In 2015, Porfirio received the Smithsonian Institute Artist in Leadership fellowship award, his work is in the collection of the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares, Fomento Cultural Banamex, and the National Museum of American Indian Smithsonian Institution. A selection of the Gutiérrez dye materials was documented and added to Harvard Art Museums’ Forbes Pigment Collection, the world-renowned archive of artist materials.

Artist website: www.porfiriogutierrez.com

Jovan C. Speller is a multidisciplinary artist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Her work – visual, textual and performative – interprets historic narratives through contemporary discourse. Her research based practice is centered around elevating, complicating and inventing stories that explore ancestry, identity, and spatial memory – making the intangible tangible and the invisible visible.

Jovan holds a BFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago, and studied art at Maryland Institute College of Art. She is a recipient of a 2018 McKnight Visual Artist Fellowship, a 2018 Next Step Fund Grant, and a 2016 Jerome Emerging Artist Fellowship. She recently completed an artist residency at Second Shift Studio Space in St. Paul. Jovan is represented by Aspect/Ratio Projects in Chicago, IL. Her work has been published and is privately collected. Her artwork, I Just Came Across the River, 2017, (2020.57) was acquired by the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) in 2020.

Artist website: www.jovanspeller.com

Contact: Frederick Janka, Executive Director, fjanka@cgbfoundation.org or 646.334.1006