Francisco Ortiz, a graduate student in urban studies and planning who uses "found objects" such as abandoned umbrellas and pantyhose to create astonishing sculptures, took the top award ($1,000) in the second annual Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Prize in the Visual Arts. Mr. Ortiz, who also paints in oils, explains that he uses humor and surprise to present the "intoxicating dark beauty of strangeness."
Twenty-seven student artists vied for the three prizes, in media ranging from Mr. Ortiz' umbrellas and oils, to videos and comic strips, to more conventional drawings, photographs and paintings. To honor the winning artists and celebrate the opening of an exhibition of their works, the Student Art Association (SAA) will hold a public reception on Thursday, May 15 from 3-6pm in the Wiesner Student Art Gallery on the second floor of the Stratton Student Center.
Second place ($600) went to Benjamin Matteo, a senior in mechanical engineering, who casts bronze and other metals and carves and sculpts in stone. Xingheng Wang, a sophomore in EECS, won third prize ($400) for works in two-dimensional media. He will display drawings and paintings on paper.
The SAA established the awards, designed to recognize artistic talent and creative concept through a body of work and written personal statements, through an endowment from Harold and Arlene Schnitzer of Portland, OR. Mr. Schnitzer, a real estate investor, graduated from MIT in 1944 with a degree in metallurgy. In addition to monetary prizes, a plaque inscribed with the names of each year's winning artists is permanently installed on the wall of the Wiesner Gallery.
The exhibition will run through June 14. For more information, call x3-7019.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 14, 1997.