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The Art: 2016 Winner and Finalists

From a competitive, global application pool of artists, Toby Fraley was selected as the 2016 winner for his mixed media entry "The Archivist." Fraley received $10,000 and a jury-exempt invitation to exhibit at the 2017 Cherry Creek Arts Festival.

The 2016 Winner

Toby Fraley, The Archivist: I will not let you fade away

Mixed media/electronic sculpture | Bridgeville, PA

The idea behind The Archivist is that five years from now we will have technology to affordably build these reliable robots. Hundreds of these units would be assigned a human counterpart. For a year they shadow their subjects as unobtrusively as possible and record their daily activities. A complete audio and visual record would be taken. Aspects would include work life, religious and political views, interactions with friends, families and colleagues, sleep schedules, meals eaten, movies cried through, sunsets watched, everything.

The Archivist in essence forms a short documentary or time capsule of that person and the time they lived in. These detailed records would be compiled into a searchable database. Once that person has passed away, their story is uploaded to a cloud server for the world to have access to for eons.

Researchers in the future may stumble upon a person's story decades from now through simple keyword searches that overlap a segment of that person's recorded life. No person is too mundane not to be remembered. No one should be forgotten.

The 2016 Finalists

Finalist Anne Bossert
Anne Bossert, Reliquary for the Future
Wood sculpture | Fort Collins, CO

The word, “relic” refers to something from the past. But in this case, the relic is the future, or more precisely, the promise of a future represented by a maple tree seed. The reliquary that houses this future maple tree is made from maple plywood, which are maple trees from the past. While mankind appears to be increasingly functioning within the ether, it is the earth, where we and the trees live, that anchors us all in the present.

Finalist Mark Aspinall
Mark Aspinall, Platonic Challenge
Mixed media acrylic | Crontone, Italy

In this work, I have intended to symbolically encapsulate man’s search from the earliest times of civilization to the present day to understand the very nature of the savage universe in which we exist and mankind’s attempts using mental tools of mathematics, science and philosophy to define and codify the cosmos.

finalist Bryan David Griffith
Bryan David Griffith, Seamless
Mixed media painting & wood | Flagstaff, AZ

I believe innovation is more about ideas than hardware. I’ve tried to embody my vision in a timeless work of art: a work that is more about a way of seeing than about a particular technology of our time, which may seem futuristic today but will likely appear as a dated novelty to future generations. Each panel will appear black or white when viewed simultaneously with its neighbor. But when viewed individually over a period of minutes, colors will begin to emerge, and the viewer will see that the apparent black or white field is really much more complex, bringing a temporal dimension to the viewing experience.

Finalist Jennifer McCurdy
Jennifer McCurdy, Arrow’s Philosopher’s Stone
Porcelain sculpture | Vineyard Haven, MA

Arrow’s Philosopher’s Stone represents a beacon for innovation. Encircling and nesting arrow forms cradle an egg, which is the philosopher’s stone of perpetual creation. As the form grows and opens, the new egg is revealed inside, in continuous progression. The beacon seems to pulse, as waves from the universe are transmitted and received. The arrows point out to all directions.

Finalist Steven Gutierrez
Steven Gutierrez, Aesthetica Sculptura
Crowd sourced, 3D printed resin sculpture | Chardon, OH

The sculpture uses the concept of “survival of the fittest” to morph into a sculpture that is more likely to succeed. A website was created to allow visitors to help define the physical parameters of this interactive sculpture. Unlike many crowd-sourced websites, this website is free to use and allows the user to modify some basic elements of the circular-like sculpture. As more users interacted with the website, the art became more sophisticated and “beautiful”. The final piece is displayed in the case shown. The process itself is part of the artwork, and the early iteration versions are also displayed.

Finalist Jen Lewin
Jen Lewin, Nova
Electronic/sculpture | Boulder, OH

Imagine a future where fluid transformation is prevalent. A future where boundaries between Art, material, function, and the human form stretch, blend, and take new shape. The butterfly is a classical reference to metamorphosis. By creating something that blends humanity and art, another transformation takes shape. Nova takes art off the walls and into the world. This wearable installation speaks to light, to community, to gathering, and has an open ethereal dream like quality that gracefully dances and glows. From person to butterfly, from individual to art, this convergence is a conversation already happening in worldwide culture.