Renee Noelle Cheesman, BFA Studio Art '17, awarded Jury Prize at Whatcom Museum Exhibition

hundreds of strands of white rope spill from the ceiling to pool and puddle on the floor like water

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by College of Fine and Performing Arts Staff

Renee Noelle Cheesman, who graduated from Western in 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art, was awarded Third Prize in the juried exhibition "Acts of Healing and Repair" at the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham.

Cheesman's entry, "Purification of Guilt" (pictured top, center) was selected from among more than 1000 artworks submitted. Juror’s Choice Award winners were announced at the opening reception on November 11, 2023. All winners received a cash prize.

Cynthia Camlin's work "Sphagnum (Deep)" (pictured, bottom) was also selected to appear in the exhibition. Camlin is a professor of Art at Western who explores the intersection of Art and Ecology.

As I painted the large ovals of moss, I began to think of Sphagnum bogs, with their deep sinks for carbon, and their crazy botanical adaptations, as a kind of bandage for the whole planet, a vision of nature defending herself, treating her wounds, and overcoming scarcity with creativity.

I am hoping that the mystery and beauty of the painting will be a window into the mystery and beauty of peatlands, a worldwide system of healing and repair that has evolved over thousands of years. They need our love, protection and restoration. - Cynthia Camlin

"Acts of Healing and Repair" is Whatcom Museum's fourth biennial juried art exhibition.

Grace Kook-Anderson, the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art at the Portland Art Museum, is the guest juror and selected finalists for a three-month show in the Lightcatcher building.

Visual artists from across the United States vied for a chance to exhibit their works at the Whatcom Museum and to be considered for one of three Juror’s Choice Awards. The works span the visual arts: from video, painting, and sculpture to textile and glass. Works selected for the exhibition reflect the theme of healing and repair.

Over the course of the exhibition, museum visitors can vote for an artwork to receive a People’s Choice Award, to be announced in late February 2024.

Cheesman's undergraduate thesis work appeared in the Western Gallery exhibition "Corporeal" in the spring of 2017.

Strands of rope falling to the floor dissapate into fragment, strings, sand that appear to ripple and foam like water
a painting of moss, close up

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