Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize Exhibition 2015

Amanda Leigh Evans, Chris Freeman, Melodee Dudley

Autzen Gallery, Portland State University
October 6 - October 30, 2015

Portland State University’s School of Art and Design proudly presents this exhibition of work by the recipients of the 2015 Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prizes. The Schnitzer Prizes were created in 2013 with a gift from the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation to help raise awareness of the quality of art education at PSU and to honor Arlene Schnitzer, a devoted and inspired leader of art and culture in Portland. Arlene has been a dynamic advocate at the center of the Portland arts community since the 1960s. She opened one of Portland’s first art galleries and has directly supported and influenced the lives of many regional artists. PSU’s School of Art + Design is grateful to the Harold & Arlene CARE Foundation for establishing this distinctive award that recognizes talented art students and advances the quality, profile, and reputation of the School, the College of the Arts and the University. This year we are thrilled to announce that the Foundation has endowed the prizes, ensuring that future generations of excellent student artists will have the opportunity to compete for the singular recognition these awards represent.

Sixty-one students competed for this year’s prizes, which were open to current and graduating students. Winners were selected by a jury that included PSU faculty members Horia Boboia, Lisa Jarrett, and Lis Charman, and community representatives Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson (Portland Art Museum); Sarah Meigs, (founder of the Lumber Room); Duane King (Huge/KingCoyle); artist Matt McCormick; and Theo Downes-Le Guin (Upfor Gallery). We deeply appreciate the gift of time and expertise made by this distinguished panel.

Amanda Evans, MFA candidate, is the first-place winner and will receive a $5,500 cash prize. Evans’ ceramic objects and installations, often developed through an engaged practice with communities and strangers, impressed the jurors with their execution, intelligence, and clarity.

MFA 2015 alum Chris Freeman will receive the $4,000 second-place prize. Freeman’s work addresses a range of contemporary issues dealing with masculinity and self-expression that, though important, are often overlooked.

Melodee Dudley, a senior in Graphic Design, will receive the $3,000 third-place prize. Dudley’s photographic works inspired by her mother and her mother’s death were both strong and eloquent, reflecting a careful sense of self-reflection.

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of these exceptional emerging artists and the generosity of the Harold & Arlene CARE Foundation.


Amanda Leigh Evans

Amanda Leigh Evans
Objects for Digestion
Mid-Fire Terra Cotta, Glaze, Underglaze

Artist Statement
Objects for Digestion reconsiders the art object as a symbolic and functional artifact by proposing a new life for the work after it leaves exhibition. While on display in the gallery, each object presents itself as a sculpture, employing the aesthetics of digestion and of exaggerated function. When the object leaves the gallery, it is then expected to take on a living, active role by presenting itself as both a sculpture and a container.

Each sculpture is equipped with a set of ceramic weights, a hygienic water seal and capacity to produce fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, beer, etc. The work will not be considered finished until each sculpture leaves the gallery and is activated as a fermentation vessel by the person charged with its care. Once the sculpture is filled with an active culture it will become a living, breathing body.

After the exhibition the work will be distributed to range of participants including: a community CSA farm, a classroom, a nutrition activist, a beer brewer, an art collector, and more. If a gallery visitor is interested in participating in the project, they are encouraged to get in touch with the artist at


About the Artist
Amanda Leigh Evans (cover photo) was raised between a small gold rush town in Northern California and the desert of the Inland Empire. She has worked on collaborative projects with traditional potters in rural Turkey, college students, senior citizens, and with adults who have developmental disabilities. From 2010-2012 she was a contributor to the Los Angeles Urban Rangers and is a founding member of Project 51, the collective behind Play the LA River. She has presented projects and publications at major institutions including MOCA, the Portland Art Museum, the Long Beach Museum of Art, and the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art. Amanda lives and works in Los Angeles, CA and Portland, OR.

Chris Freeman

Chris Freeman
Looking For a Hook Up, U?   
3-Channel HD Video (detail)

Artist Statement
In this project, I made fake profiles of women on the dating app Tinder and attempted to engage men in conversations about gender identity. Posing as a woman offered me a new perspective in engaging men around the question of what it means to be a man, or simply seeing how men act in private. While there was some engagement, overall, even basic questions about emotions or success often went unanswered, or the conversation was steered to flirting or meeting up in person.

Two of the monitors in this 3-channel video show profiles of men on the app, obscured by common tropes they use to present themselves. These ended up being very stereotypical: the common images of beer, muscles, and sports are what many men identify with and what they think will be attractive. The third monitor shows recordings of the conversations.

Men hold many invisible powers through patriarchy that they are often not aware of. But these are being made visible as social norms change. As a larger cultural conversation is happening around the changing definition of manhood in America, I am interested in how this manifests on an individual level. The images and conversations presented here paint a portrait of a populace that has the privilege of not having to think too hard about their place in society.

About the Artist
Chris Freeman explores issues of masculinity, identity, and success through video, photography, and performance. Past works have included a birthday party, a trip to the woods, and a boxing match. He has shown at galleries and artist spaces around Portland including Place, Worksound, and Gallery Homeland; was on the staff of the Experimental Film Festival EFF Portland; and has been included in the Kinsey Institute’s Juried Art Show. He holds a BFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art and recently graduated with an MFA from Portland State University’s Studio Art program.

Melodee Dudley

Melodee Dudley
My Mother’s Daughter
Digital and Film Photography

Artist Statement
The concept behind this photography series was to explore the Self and the Other. The Self is everything I am and accept while the Other encompasses the things I am but perhaps can't see. My

Mother was a huge motivator for me to try harder, never settle, and to keep reaching for more. I think she saw something in me I could not see in myself. Her passing left me facing an overwhelming doubt in myself, which has fueled my desire to live up to her aspirations for me because I am my Mother’s Daughter. This series reminds me that I am all the things my Mother wanted me to be and she is with me through it all.

About the Artist

Melodee Dudley was born and raised in a small town in North Carolina before moving to Portland with her mother in 2002. She began studying graphic design at Portland Community College where she received an Associates Degree in 2011. She’s currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design at Portland State University. She does freelance graphic design work, has interned with IDL Worldwide, Harlo Interactive and Artslandia Magazine, and has exhibited her work at the MK Gallery and Gallery 135 in Portland, OR.


Special Jury Commendations

The jury would like to acknowledge the excellent work of these additional prize applicants:

Emily Fitzgerald
Amanda Wilson
Ryan Collard
Maggie Heath
Will Elder
Zach Gough

Artist reception and awards ceremony on October 22, 4-6 p.m. Event details

About the School of Art + Design

Driven by a belief in the power of art to shape society, Portland State University’s School of Art + Design and its dynamic faculty provide a place where emerging artists, designers and art historians can question, create, reflect and learn. With 1,400 undergraduate majors, a vibrant and growing graduate program, a faculty of internationally recognized artists, designers and scholars and multiple top-of-the-line visiting artist and designer programs, PSU's School of Art + Design brings students from a variety of backgrounds together to exchange ideas and cross conventional aesthetic boundaries. Whether in the studio, computer lab, lecture hall, or working in the community via internships, service projects, exhibitions and collaborations, our students have the opportunity to forge connections between traditions of visual art and their own developing expression.