News Bites: MFA Photo Student Earns Excellence in Art Purchase Award
MFA Photography student Ethan Ross has won the Excellence in Art Purchase Award from Ferris State University with “It’s a Nice Place to Raise a Family,” a striking black and white photographic diptych that frames both the human and non-human elements of its chosen landscape.
The Purchase Award was created by Ferris State University’s Rankin Art Gallery in 2012 as a way to annually recognize the exceptional quality of work coming out of KCAD’s MFA Programs. Winners are determined in a juried competition between MFA students from various disciplines.
Ross, who will graduate in May, is drawn to the medium of black and white landscape photography because of its history of documenting changes in human perception of the natural environment. His work focuses on what he calls “hybrid landscapes,” those where human interaction has shaped the natural world into something new and different.
"it's a Great Place to Raise a Family," by Ethan Ross
“We are currently in a transitional period and I am exploring how various levels of interaction between natural and synthetic bare this transition out,” Ross said in his artist statement. “I maintain a connection to history through the medium, thus subverting landscape photography’s claim to the permanence of the land.”
Judges in this year’s competition included a committee of faculty and staff and special guest juror Yesomi Umolu. Umolo, who currently serves as the Assistant Curator of Michigan State University’s Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, is known as a well-traveled curatorial talent with an eye for provocative work, having fashioned a colorful CV that includes stops at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Hordeland Art Centre in Bergen, Norway, and the Center for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, Poland, among others.
In addition to a $1,000 prize, Ross has been awarded a solo exhibition of his work to be hosted at the Rankin Art Gallery in the months to come.