Meet the Idaho Commission on the Arts 2015 fellows

The Idaho Commission on the Arts announced its 2015 Arts Fellowships today. The statewide arts organization will announce the full round of grants later this week.

An ICA Fellowship is one of the highest recognitions an artist can receive in this state. It's a reward for talent, creativity and perseverance, and comes with a cash award with no strings attached for the artists to use to sustain their careers. This year, the awards go to artists working in craft, design and fine arts. Winners receive $5,000, honorable mentions receive $1,000.

Every year, the fellowships — chosen by an out-of-state panel — cycle through the disciplines of performing, literary and visual arts. They're given in conjunction with grants for folk and traditional arts apprenticeships, and arts grants for arts education and programs.

Joe Casey Doyle is an Assistant Professor of Art and Design at the University of Idaho. Doyle explores sculpture, craft and digital video to create sociopolitical works that question our relationship to gender roles, stereotypes and sexuality.

Megan Murphy of Hailey blends multiple media — oils, digital photography and others — to create images that capture an emotional echo of forgotten events. She layers media and meaning on glass as she visually excavates the geography of historical events.

Cheryl Shurtleff of Boise won for her small-scale pencil drawings of animals that evoke a tension between intimacy and intensity, sympathy and anger and reveal layers of complexity in our relationship to nature. Panelists were drawn to her “powerful stroke in a small package.”

Artist and gallerist Stephanie Wilde of Boise tells narratives through richly contextual painting series that explore complicated issues with depth and insight, such as this body of work dealing with the disappearing bee population.  Wilde also owns Stewart Gallery in Boise. This is her third ICA Fellowship.

Wendel Wirth of Ketchum won for her minimalist landscapes of winter scenes and ocean views that abandon traditional ideas of composition and push the boundaries between abstraction and representation. She also won a 2014 Triennial Award for the same work.

Honorable mentions:

Photographer Dennis DeHart of Moscow depicts an odd range of subjects in lively documentary style.

Fiber artist Rudy Kovacs is a professor or art at the Idaho State University, Pocatello. He creates compelling computerized woven fiber artworks.

Metal smith and jewelry artist Anika Smulovitz is a professor of art at Boise State University. She explores her relationship to her Jewish faith and heritage by creating contemporary ritual objects that move beyond decoration. This is her second honorable mention award.