The annual Madison Lane and Rugby Road Charitable Trust Visual Arts Prize is intended to expand students’ opportunities for creative expression and to showcase significant accomplishments in the Arts. A $2,500 award is presented through The Jefferson Trust in partnership with UVA Arts to one undergraduate or graduate student each spring. A student’s submitted work must be created while he or she is enrolled at UVA, and eligible medias include: drawing, painting, watercolor, film/video, photography or sculpture.
The 2019 Madison Lane and Rugby Road Charitable Trust Visual Arts Prize was awarded to Kirsten Hemrich for her painting Celestial Spheres #2. This 54” x 54” piece was created using oil, spray paint, and charcoal on canvas. Kirsten’s paintings are made over the course of many weeks during which she layers diaristic drawings, text, and abstractions of celestial bodies. This particular painting references early astronomical diagrams, as well as the Roman god of doorways, “Janus.” Over time each layer gets buried and beaten back into the surface. Parts of the painting fall away, get reborn, and change entirely through an intuitive process. Even after the painting is finished, the surface will change ever slightly over time due to the materials used. For Kirsten, this ever-changing surface is a metaphor for our own personal narratives- “for how we weave the abstractions of our experiences into story and furthermore, identity. The story of the past is unending, always changing. This phenomenon is what I chase through my creative practice.”