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Portland State MFA Student Receives International Sculpture Award
Author: University Communications
Posted: July 9, 2010

Ralph PugayPortland State MFA student Ralph Pugay has been awarded the International Sculpture Center's Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award. Pugay was one of 445 students nominated for this award from over 176 universities, colleges and art school sculpture programs from sixteen countries.

The inspiration for Pugay's submission to the competition came from his experience undergoing physical therapy for chronic back pain. His piece, a 45 minute video titled "Saddle Soap", showed him navigating an obstacle course which forced him to reproduce the movements physical therapy.

"I think the piece ultimately talks about the role of the contemporary artist as a multi-tasker - having to manage a day job, making ends meet, their careers as artists, on top of having to make artwork," said Pugay.

A distinguished panel made up of artist and educator Creighton Michael, curator Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, and artist Oliver Herring selected twenty winners and fifteen honorable mentions through a competitive viewing process of the works submitted. The twenty award recipients will participate in the Grounds For Sculpture's Fall/Winter Exhibition, which will be on view from October 10, 2010 through January 2, 2011 in Hamilton, New Jersey, adjacent to the ISC headquarters. The artist's work will be included in Grounds For Sculpture's 2010 Fall/Winter Exhibitions Catalogue and featured in the October 2010 issue of the International Sculpture Center's award winning publication, Sculpture magazine, as well as on the ISC award winning website at

For more information on Portland State's MFA program visit