The 2019 Russell and Paula Panczenko MFA Prize has been awarded to Chloe Darke. Darke’s work suggests historic or perhaps futuristic medical apparatus: a row of simple, linear tweezer-like silver implements could be jewelry; a series of slightly smaller items presented on a tray; tubes with small containers attached. Are these vehicles for fluids to enter or leave the human body? Visceral images of corporeality are conjured by Darke’s work and the inability to clearly identify her instruments makes them uncanny and disturbing.
At a time when technology is being created to enhance our bodies and minds, when attempts are being made by to legislate women’s bodies, a young female artist conjures up a visual language where she writes the rules and creates the tools. Darke’s aesthetic is rooted in power, discomfort, and mystery.
The juror for this year’s Chazen Prize is Alison Ferris, Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Des Moines Art Center.
Featured artwork: Chloe Darke, Cordyceps Extraction Kit, 2017, red brass, sterling silver, steel, cherry, magnifying lens, courtesy of the artist, photo by Jim Escalante.