QSPA Inspirational Award Exhibition

Meerke Vekterli, Anna Pajak, Julie Ebbing, Adam Saks

Queen Sonja Print Award is proud to present an exhibition of works by the four winners of the QSPA Inspirational Award: Meerke Vekterli, Anna Pajak, Julie Ebbing and Adam Saks.

December 2022 — February 2023

The QSPA Inspirational Award (previously the Kjell Nupen Memorial Grant) is awarded to a Nordic artist who is currently pursuing, or has recently completed, their art education and whose artistic practice makes active use of printmaking as an important means of expression. The grant is a collaboration between master printer Bill Goldston at Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE) and the HM Queen Sonja Art Foundation. In previous years, the board of the Foundation has served as the jury. In 2022, the jury comprised of HM Queen Sonja (Chair of the board, QSPA), Anne Hilde Neset (Director of Kunstnernes Hus), Wenche Volle (Senior Curator at the National Museum, Oslo) and Karin Augusta Nogva (Chair of the board, Norske Grafikere). The artists are nominated by leading Nordic art and printmaking organisations. Presented every other year, the QSPA Inspirational Award comprises a grant and an educational stay at ULAE’s renowned printmaking workshop.

ULAE is a fine print publisher located in Long Island, New York, established in 1957 by Tatyana Grosman. Passionate about lithography, Grosman worked tirelessly to engage notable artists as collaborators — including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Lee Bontecou, Barnett Newman, Helen Frankenthaler, Jim Dine, Cy Twombly, and many others. By the mid-1960s, artist-printer collaborations at ULAE, gave rise to an explosion of contemporary printed art. By the 1980s, a new generation of artists had begun to work at ULAE, already aware of the aesthetic possibilities offered by printmaking and eager to experiment with its myriad techniques. Painters Terry Winters, Susan Rothenberg, and Carroll Dunham and sculptors Kiki Smith and Richard Tuttle all found new artistic outlets, collaborating with master craftsmen at ULAE.

The winners of the QSPA Inspirational Award, in collaboration with master printers at ULAE, follow the legacy of these artists, many of whom became prolific printmakers and who made the medium integral to their overall practice. This years exhibition will show works produced by Meerke Verterli, which led to her nomination as winner of the QSPA Inspirational Award 2022. Previous winners from 2020 and 2017, Anna Pajak and Julie Ebbing respectively, display works based on their residencies at ULAE. And the first award-winner, Adam Saks shows re-workings of the prints he produced during his time at Atelje Larsen in Helsingborg, where Kjell Nupen noticed his work and subsequently suggested him as a nominee for The Queen Sonja Print Award. Saks went on to win the Kjell Nupen Memorial Grant in 2015, an award created in memory of Nupen who had passed away a few months earlier.

Now named the QSPA Inspirational Award, the grant and educational stay at ULAE support emerging artists, providing the means and space where they can continue to develop their careers, experiment with a range of techniques and/or expand their oeuvre. ULAE acts as the main patron of this award, alongside the Queen Sonja Print Award Foundation

This time-honoured practice of artistic collaboration, quality, and technical experimentation has continued to keep ULAE in the forefront of international, contemporary printmaking for over 65 years. QSPA works proudly with ULAE as a partner and patron of the QSPA Inspirational Award, continuing it’s aim to recognise and support talent and inspire emerging artists to establish themselves on the international art scene.

Meerke Vekterli

Meerke Laimi Thomasson Vekterli (born 1988, Røyrvik, Norway), recipient of the QSPA Inspirational Award 2022, plays freely with shapes and patterns, textures and structures, composition and transparency. More traditional techniques, insightfully rooted in the tradition of South Sámi arts and crafts, are explored and combined with more recent technical solutions. The photomechanical and the digital — such as photocopier prints, photopolymer printing, C-prints, and prints scanned through coloured transparent layers composed of various materials — are manipulated, edited, and reprocessed. At the same time, Vekterli is notably skilled in more traditional printing techniques such as woodcut and linocut. Taking nature and culture as her themes, Vekterli creates clear graphic structures and expressions. The results are subtle, unfolding, distinctive compositions and works.

Anna Pajak

Anna Pajak (born 1992, Sweden), recipient of the QSPA Inspirational Award 2020, is a painter and printmaker. Her starting point is often a bodily sensation translated into the visual. In her works, she explores geometrical spaces and architectural elements, such as surfaces, patterns, and depths. Pajak merges colour, symbols, and perspectives, into a visionary imagery where the abstract meets the figurative. Drawing from modernist female painters, spiritualism, and dreams, Pajak deconstructs and recombines symbols, images, shapes, and architectural fragments, in ways that challenge traditional contexts and interpre- tations. Her large-scale paintings bring a sense of another dimension to life — a reality on the border of dream and fiction.

Anna Pajak lives and works in Stockholm. She graduated with a MFA from The Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm in 2020. Anna Pajak has exhibited at Stene Projects, Stock- holm, Kunstverket Galleri & QSPA Gallery in Oslo, Alma Löv Museum of Unexpected Art and at The Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts, to name a few. She has been awarded grants from Queen Sonja Printmaking Award (2020), Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts (2019 & 2020) & Swedish Arts Grants Committee, among others.

Julie Ebbing

Julie Ebbing (born 1985, Namsos, Norway) is the recipient of Kjell Nupen Memorial Grant 2017 (QSPA Inspirational Award). The core of her artistic practice is woodcut. She combines this technique with installations, sculpture, embroidery, collage, found objects, performance and text. Ebbing injects raw energy into her graphic works. She is able to exploit the uniqueness of the woodcut technique within its given framework, while at the same time creating new contexts. She draws on art history and offers both political and social commentary in her work. Ebbing’s artistic practice is both relevant and innovative in terms of the medium and its thematic focus.

Julie Ebbing holds an MA in Art and Craft from Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO) from 2016. Since finishing her degree, Ebbing has been the subject of much positive and deserved attention. Ebbing has exhibited extensively in Norway since graduating. Solo shows include Kunsthall Oslo and Kunstverket Gallery, Oslo; K-U-K, Kjøpmannsgata Ung Kunst, Trondheim; Nord-Trøndelag Art Museum, Namsos; Trondhjems kunstforening, Trondheim, among others. Notable group exhibitions include The National Autumn Exhibition, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; Bomuldsfabrikken Kunsthall, Arendal; Haugesund International Relief Print Festival, Haugaland Museum of Fine Arts; Ullinsvin Gallery, Vågå, and the Norwegian Printmakers’ Association, Oslo. Ebbing also exhibits with the artist group Hannah Ryggen Army, most recently at the North Norwegian Artist Centre, Svolvær. Her work is found in several public art collections, notably the National Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Trondheim; Sogn and Fjordane Art Museum, Førde; Haugaland Museum of Fine Arts,Haugesund and Bomuldsfabrikken Kunsthall, Arendal.

Adam Saks

Adam Saks (born 1974, Copenhagen, Denmark), recipient of Kjell Nupen Memorial Grant 2015 (QSPA Inspirational Award), takes an enthusiastic and experimental approach to most printmaking techniques. He masters and embraces the unique forms of expression intrinsic to the various techniques, thereby transforming the technical limitations and potential of graphic art into something distinctive and personal. Saks’s art lies in the tension between figuration and abstraction, and his works often have an ambiguous narrative. In 2014, Adam Saks was one of thirteen artists nominated for the Queen Sonja Print Award. Kjell Nupen himself nominated the young Danish artist.

Adam Saks currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He studied at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Denmark, between 1993—1999, and at Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, Germany in 1996—97. Significant solo exhibitions include Galerie Moderne Silkeborg, Denmark; Galerie Forsblom, Finland; Meliksetian & Briggs, USA; LAC Narbonne, France; Kunstverein Reutlingen, Germany and the Association of Norwegian Printmakers, Norway. Saks has participated in group exhibitions all over Europe and his work is represented in museum collections such as ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, SMK National Gallery, both Denmark; Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Finland and the Nordic Watercolour Museum, Sweden, among others.

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