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MFA Prize Exhibition ‘I Left My Heart…’ Now Open

Kayla Bauer is Chazen Museum of Art’s 2022 Panczenko MFA Prize Winner

MFA candidate Kayla Bauer has been named the 2022 Russell and Paula Panczenko MFA Prize winner. The exhibition will be on view in the Garfield Galleries April 25-July 17, 2022.

I Left My Heart… is a love letter to San Francisco. In the exhibition, the relationship unfolds through dozens of photographs and collected objects. The beauty of kitsch, camp and icons appear throughout the images and are represented through mid-century souvenir plates and tiny figurines. Bauer sees San Francisco as a single city where one can experience the illusion of global travel. It took very little time for the artist to fall in love with the destination.

Bauer’s work focuses on a variety of research points from childhood nostalgia to Americana to the act of wandering. Photography was the start of her creative practice which now has evolved to include assemblages, installations, paintings and text. She uses archiving and organizing collections along with shopping at thrift and discount stores to provide inspiration and materials for her creative process. Photography is the main focus and is combined with drawings, textile pieces and found-object sculptures.

“I am honored to have been chosen as the 2022 Russell and Paula Panczenko MFA Prize winner,” said Bauer. “When the Covid-19 pandemic prevented my planned travel to Japan, I turned my attention to particular neighborhoods in San Francisco for my exploration. I hope viewers are able to appreciate the different shapes, colors and shades of the city and seek out the subtle differences.”

“As a university museum, the Chazen is able to support the work of emerging artists and present a diverse collection of art,” said Amy Gilman, director of the Chazen Museum of Art. “Bauer’s outstanding work was chosen for her unique way of storytelling and her innovative approach.”

The Russell and Paula Panczenko MFA Prize is offered annually by the museum in collaboration with the UW–Madison Art Department. The winner, who receives an honorarium, along with an exhibition at the Chazen, is selected by an outside juror. This year’s juror was Janet Dees, the Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum curator of modern and contemporary art at The Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University.

“Kayla Bauer’s artistic practice is infused with the sensibility of a collector,” said Dees. “The collection of photographs assembled for her thesis exhibition are drawn from the results of this programmed wandering in San Francisco and reflect Bauer’s idiosyncratic attention to detail.”

The Russell and Paula Panczenko MFA Prize is supported by funds from the Russell and Paula Panczenko Fund for an Outstanding MFA Student.

Kayla Bauer (American, b. 1987), Flowers on Pink, archival pigment print, 2022

Kayla Bauer (American, b. 1987), Beetle, archival pigment print, 2021

Kayla Bauer (American, b. 1987), Chinatown Window, archival pigment print, 2021