About the Exhibition

SOMArts is proud to partner with the San Francisco Foundation to present The Annual Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Exhibition, a focused look at the future of the Bay Area visual arts, on view September 11–October 3, 2021. Made possible by the San Francisco Foundation and its donors, we’re excited to feature 16 promising visual artists working across disciplines and identifying young artists from Master of Fine Arts programs throughout the Bay Area whose work intersects with emerging trends.

The Jack K. and Gertrude Murphy Award is given to an MFA student of unusual caliber with great artistic promise. Edwin Anthony and Adalaine Boudreaux Cadogan both experienced financial challenges as art students and understood the great difference scholarships can make in the early phase of an artist’s career. The winners of the Cadogan Scholarships each receive support for their MFA studies. All the students benefit from participation in a professionally curated exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center and mentorship from curator Kevin B. Chen.

Meet the Artists

Ahn Lee

Ahn Lee is a nonbinary, queer, Cantonese artist and researcher. Their interdisciplinary practice of ceramics, media and performance relies on a combined methodology of autobiographical re-making and research on the Cantonese diaspora. As a person of Sunwui (Xinhui) descent, Ahn explores their ancestral roots to this contested site of capitalism and imperialism through leveraging archival research, historiography, critical race and gender theory.

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram: @ahnlee_faa

Katayoun Bahrami

Katayoun Bahrami is a multidisciplinary visual artist whose work reflects memories from her home country juxtaposed with her current reality. As an Iranian female artist, her research activities investigate the intersections of boundaries, identity, and women. By using memories from her past, Bahrami works through a series of photographs, videos, textile, and mixed media works. Farsi’s handwriting also encompasses most of her art. Aspects of different locations, such as buildings, lakes, roads, or a garden, become the draft of her work to create a moment of reflection for the viewer.

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram: @katayounbahrami_

Andrew Catanese

Andrew Catanese is a painter and sculptor from the American South. He earned his BFA in Studio Art at the Sam Fox School of Art at Washington University in St. Louis. He is currently working towards his MFA at Stanford University. The paintings in this exhibition reflect the landscapes he lives in and the dense Southern forests he grew up around. The artwork draws from existing narrative traditions, but alters those through abstraction, camouflage, biology, perception, and hybridity. For viewers, the work then becomes a space where the ties between identity, culture, myth, and landscape extend their tight embrace.  

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram: @andrewcatanese

Erica Deeman

Erica Deeman (b. Nottingham, UK) is a visual artist working in an interdisciplinary approach to her research and practice. She received a BA (Hons) in Public Relations from Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK, before moving to the States in 2011. She received her undergraduate degree from the Academy of Art, San Francisco, CA in 2014 and is currently enrolled as an MFA Candidate at UC Berkeley, CA. Deeman’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at the Old Truman Brewery, London, UK; Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, CA; Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; and New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA to name a few. Deeman is represented by Anthony Meier Fine Arts in San Francisco, CA.

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram: @erica_deeman

Adrienne Defendi

Adrienne Defendi’s work explores the cyclical, the ephemeral, and the fragility of life.  Her lifelong interests in memory and myth, narrative and nostalgia inform her photographic expression and artistic process.  Employing different mediums, from analog to alternative processes and various printmaking techniques, her practice charts elements of loss and ritual, and the boundless possibilities within reiteration and experimentation. Adrienne lives and works in the Bay Area and is a MFA candidate in Photography at San José State University.

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram: @adrienne_defendi

Edgar Fabián Frías

Edgar Fabián Frías is a nonbinary, queer, indigenous (Wixárika), and Latinx, multidisciplinary artist, curator, educator, and psychotherapist. They work in photography, video art, sound, sculpture, printed textiles, GIFs, performance, social practice, and community organizing, among other forms. Born in East Los Angeles in 1983, Frías received dual BA degrees in Psychology and Studio Art from the UC, Riverside. In 2013, they received an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, with an emphasis on Interpersonal Neurobiology and Somatic Psychotherapy. Frías is a 2022 candidate for an MFA in Art Practice at UC Berkeley. 

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram: @edgarfabianfrias

Katharine T. Jacobs

Katharine T. Jacobs is an interdisciplinary fine artist and arts educator. She has an undergraduate degree in Craft and is well versed in historical practices, fine construction and conceptual art. Her interdisciplinary practice unapologetically employs beauty to address themes of “women’s work”, gender roles, motherhood and ableism. Simultaneously photographic and sculptural her art practice fluidly integrates photography, metal, ceramic and sewing to create her installations. In 2018 Katharine was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis which greatly impacted her life, her family and her relationship to her art making. Compartmentalizing the “glitches” of corporality permits her work to take on a more neutral genuineness that resonates beyond the particulars of chronic illness and mirrors a broader human experience.

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram: @katharinetjacobs

Bryce LeFort

Bryce LeFort grew up in Florida and Rhode Island sailing competitively throughout his childhood and into University of Pennsylvania where he attended college. At UPenn, he added a second major in fine arts to further his passion for furniture and sculpture. After graduating college, he attended the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport Rhode Island, for traditional wooden boat restoration. He was able to combine his love for building and sailing. He continued to work in the marine industry in the bay area when he decided to return to art school at CCA. With the craftsmanship he developed during his career, he’s exploring different mediums throughout work during his first year of MFA.

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram:@theaugustmade

Natasha Loewy

Natasha Loewy is an artist based in Oakland, CA who primarily focuses on sculpture. She received a BFA from The San Francisco Art Institute in 2008. She has a single subject teaching credential in art from Mills College and has taught art in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the Bay Area. She is a 2022 MFA candidate in Art Practice from San Francisco State University. Drawing from personal accounts of family trauma and a shared socio-political climate, she creates works that use tension and fragility to explore the relationships between anxiety and humor. Components of her artworks change form to disintegrate, fracture, or disappear. These material relationships evoke physical and emotional responses, which points to a connection between our psychological states and embodied experiences. She is one of three members of MUZ, a Bay Area based art collective focused on a collaborative studio and curatorial practice.

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram: @natashaloewy

Rivka Valérie Louissaint

Rivka Valérie Louissaint also known as Kakou, is an Oakland based mixed media visual artist, writer, educator, performer and community organizer. Her art, often ignited by an interaction, a thought, or as a reaction to what’s going on in her environment and of her experiences as a black, queer, working class, female, Haitian immigrant, explores the multidimensional nature and effects of the world’s present systems of oppression and exploitation. She pulls from different places – like working class struggles, popular struggles for national liberation, and struggles to end racial and gender hierarchies – in order to create dialogue and inspire people to organize around social, economic, and ecological issues. She is currently in her second year of the MFA program in Art Practice at UC Berkeley.

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram: @kakou.arts

Miguel Novelo

Miguel Novelo is an experimental media artist, filmmaker, and cultural event creator from Campeche, Mexico. Novelo graduated from SFAI with a bachelor’s in fine arts (2018) and is a current MFA candidate at Stanford University (2022). Miguel has exhibited pieces and short films internationally at museums, galleries, and film festivals including the De Young Museum in San Francisco, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City, Festival Internacional de Cine en Morelia, Sheffield Doc/Fest, and others. Over the last year Miguel has focused on Cenotes and Meteorites—two geological terms to discuss space manipulation, cosmic viewpoints and extinction.

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram: @miguelnovelocrz

Krystal Ramirez

Krystal Ramirez work is interdisciplinary and is centered around the discernment of class, consumption, and the brown body. As a second-generation immigrant from the working-class landscape of Las Vegas, Nevada the visual language and written text within her work reflects her family and personal history. Employing building materials such as plastics, drywall, and paper, she highlights erased labor and focuses attention on the material’s impact and presence in space while honoring its life cycle. She anticipates this will allow the audience to consider its formal meditations and the declarations themselves that can be about various topics anywhere from the urgency of rethinking individualism vs. the greater collective to our forgotten personal histories and communities. Employing monochromatic color palettes, the large-scale geometric works command attention.

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram: @krystalrmrz

Haley Marie Summerfield

Haley Summerfield is a ceramic sculptor and printmaker based in Alameda, California with a background in public art. She holds a BFA from Southern Oregon University (2018) and is a current MFA candidate at San Francisco University (2022). Her ceramic sculptures explore themes around the nature of disability, ableism, and chronic pain. She is interested in disassembling her personal narratives and reconstructing it as one that layers fantasy, abstraction, and objects to better understand the body. Her art practice articulates the unavoidable and the grotesque by clustering associations of memories until consciousness unfolds into fully formed feelings conveyed by personal symbology. She then uses those stories and symbols to reflect on the tension between the body being both a host for disease and a site for pleasure.

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram: @haleysummerfield

Kelsey Rae Thomas

Kelsey Rae Thomas is a multidisciplinary artist from Morgan Hill, CA. She has a background in ECD, received her BA in Visual and Public Art from California State University Monterey Bay in 2020 and an MFA from Mills college in 2022. She was an Artist-In-Residence at the Monterey Regional Waste Management Facility in 2020 and currently lives and works in Bay Area, CA. Kelsey Rae came from a family of all females who highly influence her practice and has gathered collected materials and textiles from her sisters and mother which she then incorporates into her sculptures. 

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram: @artistkelseyrae

Eve J. Werner

Eve Werner is a multidisciplinary artist and landscape architect who addresses discrepancies between the urges of humans and the realities of a finite planet.  Throughout her MFA studies at San Francisco Art Institute, she has employed the 2018 Camp Fire, which destroyed her childhood hometown of Paradise, CA, to convey the effects of anthropogenic climate change.  With materials and forms that shift between memorialization and narrative, her work is infused with the voids that remain as relationships with security and familiarity erode on our warming world.  

To learn more about their work, please follow on instagram: @evewerner_art

The Annual Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Exhibition

Saturday, September 11–Sunday, October 3, 2021

This exhibition showcases 16 emerging artists working across disciplines and identifies artists whose practices intersect with rising trends in the arts.

To learn more visit: https://somarts.org/event/murphycadogan2021/