Since 1991, the SVLaureate program has awarded more than 150 of the finest artists the South Bay has to offer with honors, recognition, and a cash prize to assist them in pursuing their craft. This year, awards were given in several different categories: Off Stage (an artist working offstage, backstage, or pre-performance), On Stage (a performing artist), On the Wall (a visual artist working in traditional or mixed media), Off the Wall (a visual artist working in sculpture), and Emerging Artist (a young artist in any medium who shows promise for continued growth and excellence). This year the program added a new award, the SVNexus Award, honoring an artist who uses technology to fuel their creative work.
These artists are chosen based on the work they have created and their commitment to their communities. Through their work as teachers, artists, and performers, each of the SVLaureates has shown a devotion to their craft that includes mentorship, service, and forging new cultural understanding.
Gail Wight: On the Wall Recipient
A native of the Northeast, Gail Wight spent her childhood painting, drawing, and playing on the beach. Wight attended the Massachusetts College of Art, then moved her family to San Francisco to get her MFA at the Art Institute. An early encounter with a family member suffering from mental illness inspired an interest in both neuroscience and how human biology influences perception, and her innovative works tend to be a convergence of science and art, with experimental photography, installation, and multimedia pieces that incorporate biological mediums, video, print, and more. Her work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and collections in galleries throughout North America, and she has lectured around the world in both the arts and sciences. Wight currently teaches at Stanford University.
“I want to understand life, so the biological sciences have provided a wealth of inspiration. Lately, I’ve returned to thinking about the ocean. The ocean feels like the mother lode for thinking about evolution, time, and infinite variety. Evolution, deep time, and the Byzantine interrelationships of the astounding variety of life forms are things that keep my imagination humming. I can’t say that I’ve made my life simple, so my challenges have mostly been trying to uncomplicate the busyness and chaos I tend to create. This community has been supportive in so many ways, and it feels wonderful to think that I’ve contributed something meaningful in return. I feel truly grateful to be part of such an amazing arts community in such a stunningly beautiful part of the world. I feel lucky to be able to do what I do, both as an artist and as an educator.”
Written by Nathan Zanon
Photography & Videography by DSOTM
This article originally appeared in Issue 10.3 “Profiles”
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