Sara Emsaki & Ozzie Juarez: Sussman Painting Exhibition 3/16 – 4/1

The Worth Ryder Art Gallery presents:

The 2016 Wendy Sussman Prize in Painting Exhibition


Sara Emsaki and Ozzie Juarez

Wednesday, March 16th – Friday, April 1st, 2016
Opening Reception:  Wednesday, March 16th, 4 – 7 pm

Worth Ryder Art Gallery, 116 Kroeber Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
Gallery Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 12 – 5 pm
Free, Accessible, and Open to the Public

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This year’s annual Wendy Sussman Memorial Prize in Painting features the work of undergraduate Art Practice majors Sara Emsaki and Ozzie Juarez, selected for their outstanding achievement in painting.

Sara Emsaki, Role-Playing Game (detail), 2015. Digital print, acrylic and gouache on canvas, 40” x 40”.

Sara Emsaki, Role-Playing Game (detail), 2015. Digital print, acrylic and gouache on canvas, 40” x 40”.


About her paintings, Sara Emsaki says:

Women of Iran have been veiled, unveiled, and re-veiled as the country has gone through revolutions and regimes. The artwork produced during the Qajar dynasty era (1785-1925) depicts women in the intimate environment of the harem, intoxicated and eroticized. These paintings oddly contradict Persia’s firmly Islamic society. Through the re-appropriation of these images, I visualize new scenarios and fantasies in which women play prohibited and unusual roles—engaging in sexual affairs with other females, holding weapons, and possessing super powers. As an Iranian woman who grew up with constrained liberties, it is empowering to create such images that were once predominantly made by men.

Ozzie Salvador Juarez, Don't Stare, 2016. Acrylic on Canvas, 36" x 36" (91cm x 91cm).

Ozzie Salvador Juarez, Don’t Stare, 2016. Acrylic on Canvas, 36″ x 36″ (91cm x 91cm).


About his paintings, Ozzie Juarez says:

My work critiques the visual language of American cartoons and their hidden relationship with sex. On the surface, cartoons appear to be innocent and appropriate for children. However, beneath the bright colors and bold outlines lurks adult content that influences the values and behavior of children and teens—how they dress, talk, act, and think. This may impede their mental development, causing them to step out of line and face punitive consequences. My painting process involves careful observation of and insight into these cartoons. Manipulating, abstracting, and collaging select elements enables me to expose hidden sexualized forms and innuendos, and the physical translation from digital source material to a painted canvas results in a dynamic composition that is at once completely familiar yet inscrutable and grotesque.

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The Wendy Sussman Prize in Painting, in honor of figurative painter and inspirational professor Wendy Sussman who taught at Berkeley from 1989 until her untimely death in 2001, is made possible by a generous donor.

There are two main components to the Sussman Prize:

The Wendy Sussman Prize in Painting is awarded to two undergraduate students each year.  Students are selected in the spring.  Each student receives a generous honorarium  and an exhibition in the Worth Ryder Art Gallery the following spring.  This year’s winners are Sara Emsaki and Ozzie Juarez.

The Wendy Sussman Memorial Painting Lecture is presented each Spring. A visiting painter gives a public lecture, and visits the MFA studios. The 2016 Awardee is UC Berkeley Art Practice Alumnus Mark Grotjahn, who will be presenting a public lecture from 7:30 – 9pm on Wednesday, April 6th, 2016, in Kroeber 160. 

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