2023 Student Award Winners

Beyond the Gallery
The PL130 Gallery puts on a University Student Show every year to highlight the work students have been creating. To encourage their interest and dedication to the medium, we offer a Student Award worth $1200 in memory of Jerry Brown that is divided between three winners. This year the Student Award was judged by Christy Karpinski of F-Stop Magazine. Below are the winners of the 2023 University Student Show Emerging Perspectives!
Photograph of collage titled Heavenly Clouds

1st Place: Heavenly Clouds, Sabine Harvey 

"This image evokes a constellation and a sort of sky goddess. The face obscured by clouds make her seem anonymous or maybe universal. The placement of legs and arms keeps my eye moving around the image and noticing the details like gold embroidery and the fingers on the upraised hand just touching the edge of a cloud. The curves of the clouds reflect the curves of the body in a way that creates a sense of containment at the same time the over image implies expansiveness an awe." - Christy Karpinski

From the Artist: Heavenly Clouds is a photo piece about the creation and the celebration of transgender bodies. As a non-binary artist, I rarely, if at all, see transgender bodies being celebrated, something to be in awe of or to behold, I thought it was important for my fellow transgender siblings to see ourselves not only being celebrated but worshipped. There is something almost god-like through the self-creation of one’s body in the transgender experience and I wanted to depict the joy that comes with it. I took heavy inspiration from the pristine and carefully posed Greco-Roman statues of men, and I posed my body to perform a regal posture while in my binder. I then surrounded myself with torn photographs of cloud forms and sewed golden constellations and stars into places where I have moles and scars on my body. When I was younger, I had always thought of these marks on my skin as constellations, and I wanted to pay homage to my younger self. The sewn-in golden threads also represent self-made light similar to Apollo, a god with his own queer mythology. Transgender bodies belong at the forefront, and our bodies should be celebrated and loved as opposed to hidden away.

Photograph of a person's back illuminated by sun coming through a window2nd Place: Inside, Jenna Morelli

"The shapes created by the light and shadow and the sparkly rainbow bits move my eye around this image, while the human presence softens and grounds it. I enjoy the contrast between the sharp edges of the shapes on the wall and the same shapes  being curved across the back. I think it is an interesting and creative approach to an abstract photograph." - Christy Karpinski

From the Artist: Inside (2020) was a photograph that I took during quarantine, however, it was not originally meant to be an expression of isolation during that time. I was, and continue to be, extremely inspired by the Swiss photographer Chantal Convertini (a.k.a. "Paeulini") as her photographs exhibit a mastery of self expression, light, composition, and a connection with being feminine that feels almost otherworldly. Fascinated by the afternoon light through my window and the rainbows created by my pandemic-purchased prism, I wanted to channel a bit of her into my own self expressive work. Quarantine was a transformational period for us all, and being that I had no other models to collaborate with, I became my own muse of sorts. Self portraiture has since become something that I love as it allows me to create without hesitation and I treat it almost like a performance. When later revisiting the photographs, I felt that this one was actually a subconscious expression of the frustrations felt not only by me but all of us as a whole. The contrast of the harsh light projected across my bare back with the shadows of the window panes express a sort of trapped helplessness and defeat. The room in shadow conveys a fear of the unknown while the prism rainbows sprinkled across the wall offer a glimmer of hope for a brighter and healthier future. 

Photograph taken from above looking down at person3rd Place: Things I See In My Dreams, MeiXing Hunt-Babcock

"This photograph comes across as somewhat abstract at first because of the upside down / looking down point of view. The strong light and dark shapes that split it in two along with the interesting shapes that the person’s arms and legs make are very engaging even before you know what you are looking at. Then, the light on the face helps orient your view and the person’s gaze back at the viewer really solidifies the composition." - Christy Karpinski

From the Artist: This photograph is part of a series I made in my first exploration of the large format view camera. The very intricate process of shooting 4x5 sheet film really forced me to drastically slow down and carefully think about all the aspects of an image in a way I realized I never had before. Given the luxury of chances in a digital world and even on roll film, I really had to learn to trust myself. In this image specifically, I relied on that deja-vu gut instinct feeling while looking through the ground glass that this was the image I was going to create. 

Photograph of person sitting with fried eggs on a grillHonorable Mention: Sunny Side Up, Ana Triantafilou

"The first thing that captures my attention about this photograph is the bright analogous colors and the sort of triangle shapes that start in the lower left corner and expand out to the right. Then I see all the repeating circles that connect things in the image. And then it makes me laugh at the juxtaposition of the circles of the eggs and the woman’s chest." - Christy Karpinski

Photograph of dense bushesHonorable Mention: Untitled, Javier Espinal-Katz

"The darkness in this photograph draws me in. It evokes a mix of feelings from sadness, loss, quiet-solitude, and/or calm to potential danger hiding in the shadows. There is mystery in those dark spaces. The darker outer edge frames the more brightly lit foreground and center of the image creating an empty space where your imagination can insert the possibilities." - Christy Karpinski

From the Artist: The Untitled image was taken during a photo walk late spring to early summer of 2022. The walk was used to practice shooting landscapes and in the midst of it, I found this overly populated area of trees and bushes. I remember feeling connected to it through the naturally lit composition. I took a digital colored image of it but converted it to black and white to focus more on the abstract connection that I had to it.


Visit the PL130 Gallery to see these images in person! The show is on view through April 29th. You can also purchase a print of one of these images on our website. 


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