Duncan Raney, a rising junior majoring in studio art at South Dakota State University, has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Carol Hepper Foundation Award in studio art. A Sioux Falls native, Raney will receive a $5,000 scholarship for the upcoming academic year.
To receive the Carol Hepper Foundation Award, recipients must be a rising junior studio art major specializing in either ceramics, painting, printmaking or sculpture and submitted a portfolio of five works and a proposal demonstrating a clear plan for the award. Candidates must also focus on achievement to date and have the potential for the development of a unique vision in the visual arts. In addition, they must have the potential for success as a visual artist indicated through quality and creativity of his/her/their portfolio, a curiosity for exploring diverse practices that can enhance and bring unique meaning to their work and possessing a persistent discipline to the ongoing development of their work.
SDSU School of Design faculty members Mark Stemwedel, Shannon Frewaldt and Peter Reichardt were joined on the judges panel by visual Tom Thorson ’77. The panelists stated “It was very competitive and each student had a strong chance of receiving the award to help further support their artistic goals and projects. The committee looked for innovation, quality and growth in each of the portfolio works and discussed at length the essays of intent from each student. As the winner, Raney is required to submit two in-progress reports and then a final impact statement in the year after their award.
“What stood out about Duncan’s work is his innovative use of materials connected to the South Dakota landscape, quality of the work and artistic growth. His artwork has a connection between material, thought and action, which embodies the spirit of Carol’s inquisitive use of form and connection to place. Overall, Duncan’s portfolio expresses a desire to experiment and make connections between parts both physically and conceptually. Outside of reviewing the work, Duncan had a strong written proposal that was clear and specific toward realistic goals for the award.”
Raney will use the funds to help defray expenses associated with attending crafting workshops in Colorado and Minnesota in addition to him starting a large-scale piece.
“I think of the things I make as physical manifestations of stories constructed from the histories of the materials and the effort and care that goes into working them,” said Raney, who is specializing in sculpture and art education. “I chose studio art originally because I've always loved art and I wanted to expand my extremely limited artistic horizons beyond just pencil sketches, which were my only practiced medium prior to admission at SDSU.”
Raney’s portfolio consisted of “Donation Improved,” a deer mount bust made from wire and a whitetail skull; “The Key,” a piece of alabaster carved into the shape of a small skeleton key; “Wandering to Pipestone,” a piece of pipestone he purchased and then carved into a replica of the heart of the first pheasant he shot one year; “Pagan's Heddle,” a striated whitetail scapula he found and carved into a type of ancient hand-loom; and “Ravenshead,” a concrete bust of a raven created in his first sculpture class at SDSU.
Hepper ’75 was born in McLaughlin and was first discovered by Guggenheim curators in the early 1980s for sculptures derived from her childhood experiences and immediate surroundings. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Modern Art; and the Guggenheim in New York.