The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and the Betty Bowen Committee, chaired by Gary Glant, announced today that Portland artist Elizabeth Malaska is the winner of the 2022 Betty Bowen Award. The juried award comes with an unrestricted cash award of $15,000 and a solo exhibition at SAM. Founded in 1977 to continue the legacy of local arts advocate and supporter Betty Bowen, the annual award honors a Northwest artist for their original, exceptional, and compelling work.
Malaska’s grand tableaux respond to a history of Western painting and power dynamics that often assigns women the roles of submissive accessories. In search of more potent and less pleasing feminine subjects, her tour de force paintings unpack historical genres, such as the reclining nude, and offer up challenging and introspective visions. Malaska is a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow, as well as the recipient of fellowships from The Joan Mitchell and Hallie Ford Foundations. Recent group exhibitions include Time Being at Oregon Contemporary and Making a Better Painting: Thinking Through Practice at Lewis and Clark College. Her work is in the collections of The Portland Art Museum, The Hallie Ford Museum, and The Schneider Museum of Art. Her work will be featured at the Seattle Art Museum in a solo exhibition in 2023, with dates to be announced.
“Selecting the Betty Bowen Award winner is always a formidable task, and this year was no exception with an extraordinary pool of applicants,” says Gary Glant. “We are thrilled to see Betty’s legacy live on with this year’s winners, who all represent the incredible artistic talent and vision to be found in the Northwest.”
“I am profoundly honored to have been chosen by the committee as the recipient of this year’s Betty Bowen Award,” says Malaska. “This is an exceptional opportunity, and I am already exhilarated thinking about the paintings I’m going to make. I wholeheartedly believe that art has the capacity to transform our world for the better. It is extraordinary to me that Bowen’s passion and legacy continues to support Northwest artists. Such a sustained reach of vision is deeply inspiring to me and something that I aspire to through my own work.”