The 2021 RBJSE Winners are...
First Place Winner Ray Katz
Brushed aluminum, welded and fabricated
54‘’h x 64’’w x 48‘’d
Ray Katz was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan where he attended Mumford High School. Immediately after high school he served four years in the United States Air Force where he became interested in art. Upon returning from the military he attended Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts and Eastern Michigan University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Fine Arts degree. He continued his education at Wayne State University, Detroit, where he received his Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture and drawing.
He retired from teaching after 42 years as Professor of Art at the Auburn Hills, Michigan, campus of Oakland Community College. He continues to create and exhibit art in his Pontiac studio. Ray Katz has exhibited his sculpture in Japan, France, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, California, and throughout southern and western Michigan. His work is represented in private, corporate and institutional collections.
Visit Ray’s website: Raykatzsculptor.com
Watch “Ray Katz, American Sculptor” on vimeo: https://vimeo.com/422524347
Follow Ray on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ray-Katz-Sculptor-LLC-1388910514681774/
Artist Ray Katz
Second Place WInner Herb Babcock
Cast glass and steel
33”h x 22“w x 10.5“d
https://www.viralglass.org/ (video of him discussing this artwork)
Artist Herb Babcock
Third Place Winner Lee Brown
Winged Totem III
Cedar, enamel, limestone
50”h x 12 ½”w x 12 ½”d
Lee graduated from Kendall School of Design and has worked in Graphic Design, Illustration, Product design and development, Art Direction and Museum Preparatory and exhibition development.
An outgrowth of the commercial work is a deep interest in and making of sculptural work.
He is currently the Preparator at Muskegon Museum of Art.
Visit Lee’s website: Leesbrown.com/finearts
“Winged Totem III is part of a series that I’m exploring a central void space that for me
symbolizes inner vastness.”
Artist Lee Brown
Fourth Place Winner Pamela Hart
You Can’t Have All of Me
19”h x 8”w x 8”d
Pamela Hart is a ceramics artist with fourteen years experience in the medium. Pam started working with clay after twenty years as a music teacher and then a number of years as a stay-at-home mom. She has studied with several different instructors at the Midland Center for the Arts Studio School as well as attended workshops with nationally recognized experts. She is in her fifth year of teaching adults at the Midland Center’s Studio School. She has worked with fibers and needlework most of her life, and sees her textural surfaces and complicated glazing as a ceramic version of embroidery. Her portfolio includes sculptural pieces, functional pieces, and pieces used for worship. She has exhibited regionally and has had her worship pieces exhibited as far away as California. Her pottery can be found in a number of local collections. Her worship pieces are used in local churches as well as the chapel of Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee.
Both of these pieces are from my series “Daughter Warriors.” My daughters’ ancestry includes Mali, in northwest Africa, and I am using its rich history of art and culture as inspiration to create pieces that I hope will provoke conversations with my daughters about their heritage, as well as their potential as women.
The vessels in my “Daughter Warriors” series are heavily influenced by the shapes of gourds, clay pots and baskets, with designs taken from the traditions of the ethnic groups that form much of Mali. I have chosen to use a tripod base when hand building these pots because it is an ancient and sturdy form, and I find that when I push out the clay from the inside to make a bowl the piece takes on a personality of its own. This speaks to my vision of a woman warrior as an individual who stands strong in her role.
My wall hanging “Takamat” is inspired by the beautiful silver jewelry of the Tuareg people of northern Mali. The engravings on their jewelry intrigue me and I am challenged to replicate them in a three dimensional way. The black center designs are from antique keys. Takamat was the servant of Queen Tin Hinan, the founder of the Tuareg people and is seen by the Tuareg as a key figure in their history. Is a nation great just because of its leaders, or are it’s essential workers also key?
Honorable Mention Austen Brantley
Artist Austen Brantley
Boy Holds Flower
Low fire stoneware ceramic, bronze infused paint, copper nitrate
13’’h x 12’’w x 12’’d
Austen Brantley is a figurative sculptor from (and based out of) Detroit, Michigan. He initially had little to no knowledge of his artistic abilities until he reached his junior year at Berkley High School in 2011. Austen was inspired by his high school ceramics teacher who saw his potential to succeed in things he thought weren't possible. As a result, in 2013 after a mere two years of sculpting, Austen began receiving local and statewide recognition for his creations and won a gold key with his portfolio in national scholastic's competition. Austen's art has been displayed at various prominent galleries and venues, including the Charles H. Wright Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts in conjunction with the 30 Americans Exhibition, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. He was the winner of the Kresge Foundation Gilda Snowden award. He was also chosen for the commission for the highly honored civil rights activist known as Viola Liuzzo in creating a life size monument in her likeness. While Brantley has created and displayed a prolific amount of work, he also made time to travel and learn as much as he can from other cultures and perspectives in art including Italy and Mexico.
Brantley seeks to create work that he feels tell a unique story about his perspective on identity. As Brantley is African American being born from Detroit but growing up partially in Germany, the perspective of a black man or being black is a deep question. He delves into this search for identity in his work titled the Cocoon series as he sculpts black painted sculptures and wraps them in Hydro-stone infused white painted cloth that are composed as isolated figures in states of bondage. He seeks to ask a question of the viewer "what are we? are we black? Or is black only a part of us given by an external ideology?" In creating works with this subject matter Brantley also takes what he has learned from the traditional and contemporary worlds of art that he was inspired by as a teenager and attempts to answer these questions "what it means to be black in the modern age?" with the pursuit of mastering the fine art of sculpture.
Visit Austen’s website: https://www.austenbrantleysculpture.com/about-the-artist