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Baker Artist Awards Honors MICA Alumni

Three alumni honored as winners of the 2013 Mary Sawyers Baker and b-grant prizes

Posted 08.01.13 by MICA Communications

Leah Cooper, Rope Notations, 2012, rope, site elements, and graphite on paper masonite, and existing site elements

BALTIMORE - MICA alumnus Jonathan Latiano '12 (Mount Royal School of Art) is among the winners of the 2013 Mary Sawyers Baker Prize. Latiano's work as an installation artist secured him the award in which he was granted a $25,000 prize. His winning nomination was created to incorporate the elements of biology, astronomy, physics and geology, and provide its viewers with a dreamlike experience.

As an installation artist, Latiano is fascinated with the physical world around him. His work illustrates his personal attempt to understand where things begin and end, both physically and metaphorically, and focuses the starting point of all his work around the studies of biology, astronomy, physics and geology.

In addition to Latiano, Leah Cooper '09 (Studio Art), and Robby Rackleff '09 (Mount Royal School of Art) are among the 2013 b-grant winners. The b-grant program was created in 2010 and awards grant recipients with $1,000 prizes that recognizes their explorations as artists.

Cooper, who graduated with an M.F.A. in Studio Art, is interested in creating art that pays attention to the smallest details that are sometimes overlooked.

"I'm not sure when, but at some point I recognized that others around me where not ‘seeing' the space around them in the same and I became interested in where the liminal state exists between what is noticed and what is overlooked," said Cooper.

Through her time at MICA, Cooper has been provided with a strong theory-based foundation in which she can further her research. "This way of working, my ability to articulate it, and the success I've had as a result is directly related to the knowledge I gained from my years as a grad student at MICA," Cooper continued.

Rackleff received a b-grant for his work in cinematic and visual arts. Rackleff is a Baltimore-based video and performance artist who has a passion for video games and a love for creating virtual destinies through his web comic series, Do the Math Comics.

"I think that the whole purpose behind most of my work is to show that deeper connections can exist between game players and games beyond nostalgia, competition and irony," said Rackleff.

He is also a member of Wham City, a group of artists who support the artistic community through honoring the individual voice, in which he is known as the Blue Leader. Blue Leader is a character Rackleff morphs into as he delivers speeches in front of his virtually mashed backdrops around the Baltimore area.

"Being part of Wham City is like being in a perpetual M.F.A. program. There are a lot of extremely intelligent people who have a pretty vast diversity of ideas and aesthetics who are more than willing to give honest and constructive feedback to one another. I know that my work has benefited from hearing my friends' opinions on work I've made recently," said Rackleff.

MICA is delighted to have congratulated previous winners including Associate Dean for Design and Media Alex Heilner, alumnae Tiffany Jones '12 (photography) and Miranda Pfeiffer '11 (interdisciplinary sculpture), and former faculty members Hadieh Shafie, Brent Crothers '89 '03 (sculpture, Rinehart School of Sculpture), and Marcia Wolfson-Ray '75, '95 (general fine arts, Mount Royal).

For more information on the Baker Artist Awards please visit www.bakerartistawards.org/about-awards/


Image caption: Leah Cooper '09 (Studio Art), Rope Notations, 2012, rope, site elements, and graphite on paper masonite, and existing site elements