LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 26, 2013) — Two members of the faculty at the University of Kentucky School of Art and Visual Studies are recipients of Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowships from the Kentucky Arts Council recognizing a high level of excellence and creativity in their work. UK lecturers Hui Chi Lee and Brandon C. Smith are two of the state's eight artists selected for the honor.
Recipients of the $7,500 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship must demonstrate artistic excellence and professional achievement. The award is presented in hopes of enhancing the artist's development and encouraging the continuation of the artist's work. The purpose of the fellowship program is to support Kentucky artists engaged in creating artwork of high quality and to recognize creative excellence in practicing, professional Kentucky artists. The awards are named after retired Kentucky journalist and past arts council board chair, Al Smith.
The selection process for the Al Smith Fellowship utilizes a "blind jurying" system that does not provide the selection panel with applicants' names; the panel reviews work samples and applications according to application numbers only. In alternate years, the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowships and Emerging Artist Awards are available to writers, composers and choreographers.
Hui Chi Lee was recognized for her drawings. As a visual artist, she feels her strength lies in both the formation of her thought processes and the manipulation of nontraditional painting materials. She has printed and drawn on Plexiglas and vinyl, and layered images with three-dimensional materials. Lee, who holds degrees in art and art therapy, teaches drawing and foundations at UK.
Lee, who was born in Taiwan and is now a Lexington resident, wants to inspire viewers with her work related to society's materialistic ways. "The representation of my conviction is about the dehumanization of excessive materialism. I am not interested in reproducing the visible. Rather, I aim to make the invisible visible. While I seek to capture the viewer’s attention, my deeper goal is to inspire the viewer to consider the implications of the work. By my creative strategies, every element of a work takes on a metaphorical meaning."
For Brandon Smith, who was recognized with a Smith Fellowship for his acrylic paintings, winning the fellowship is a major accomplishment in his career. "When I first became aware of the award it seemed like a far distant and insurmountable goal. So here it is and I couldn't be happier about it. I am proud to be on the list of Al Smith recipients and even more so, I am proud to be part of a state and country that values the importance of supporting idea makers within the arts. For this, I would like to thank the Kentucky Arts Council and the people who live and work in the Commonwealth of Kentucky."
Smith, who resides in Richmond, Ky., teaches foundations at UK. He earned his bachelor's degree from Eastern Kentucky University and his master's degree from the University of Cincinnati. Smith has presented solo exhibitions at the University of Redlands, Southern Oregon University, Berea College, Pittsburg State University, Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, Tennessee Tech University, Pedro Moncayo Foundation, and most recently at the Heike Pickett Gallery here locally.
The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, creates opportunities for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The UK School of Art and Visual Studies, at the UK College of Fine Arts, is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studio, art history and visual studies and art education.
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