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The many achievements of art professor Jim Shrosbree were recognized last month by the Guggenheim Foundation, which honored him with a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship.

This award is not only a highly prestigious honor, it also comes with a substantial grant that typically allows recipients to focus exclusively on their research or writing or art for six months to a year.

Professor Shrosbree was one of 168 scholars, artists, and writers selected from a group of nearly 3,000 applicants nationwide. He was one of the 25 who received the award for their work in fine arts.

“It’s exceptionally satisfying to name 168 new Guggenheim Fellows,” said Edward Hirsch, president of the Guggenheim Foundation. “These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best.”

Since its establishment in 1925, the Foundation has granted more than $360 million in fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, poets laureate, and winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Turing Award, and National Book Award.

“I’m over the top!” Professor Shrosbree said. “It’s hard to quantify the enormous rush of gratitude and appreciation. This award affords freedom to create, so it is a chance to explore materials and size as well as some travel related to my studio practice.”

He added that the award is also a benefit to the art department and the university.

“The benefit naturally spills into the art department and to the university as a whole because it stimulates and underlines the value of what is termed ‘research’ in an academic setting. That value is that each achievement can open the door for more and greater things to happen both personally and for the community of scholars.”

Professor Shrosbree has worked in a variety of media but has focused on sculptures formed out of simple, yet idiosyncratic materials.

Many of his pieces are meant to be hung on a wall and often have drawn lines or colored shapes placed behind and/or around them. In addition, many have physical connections, like wire, uniting the form and the wall through suspension, tension, and/or balance.

His free-standing sculptures typically incorporate custom pedestals, trivet-like platforms, and/or cloth coverings. His disparate materials may include fake fur, nylon stockings, a piece of blanket, and natural or painted wood.

Professor Shrosbree considers his studio to be a space where the most common of things can be transformed into art.

His sculptures, paintings, and works on paper have been exhibited nationally and internationally, and are included in such collections as Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Art, Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Des Moines Art Center, Mint Museum, and the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

By Jim Karpen for The Review
Copyright 2019, Maharishi International University

Photos by Paul Moore, from Maake Magazine online