CLAYTON ON ART: Oliver Doriss to receive his Foundation of Art Award

By Alec Clayton on November 27, 2012


This past summer Oliver Doriss was named winner of the 2012 Foundation of Art Award. It's a long-overdue award considering Doriss' contributions to Tacoma's art community both as a practicing glass artist, a DJ and as a gallery owner. And how fitting considering that a large chunk of the current and previous nominees and winners have shown their work in his gallery, Fulcrum.

"Oliver is deeply committed to art in Tacoma, both as an artist and a gallerist," says Jeremy Mangan, former Foundation of Art Award winner and the Foundation of Art Committee member who nominated Doriss for the Award. "His own glass work is as unique and risky as it is beautiful, and Fulcrum Gallery is a vital and dynamic venue where art and community meet in the best way."

"I was flattered just to be nominated," says Doriss. "I couldn't have done a better job at identifying the creative community than in the artists that were nominated. To be selected as the winner and have that recognition is very validating."

As a critic who has been observing the scene here and elsewhere for decades, I must say that I've seldom seen any such award so consistently and intelligently chosen. Over the years I have disagreed with almost every award in the arts from, "best in show" selections to grant recipients. I often think the choices are made by idiots. But Tacoma's Foundation of Art winners and nominees are always top-notch.

This year's nominees include painters, sculptors, photographers and mixed-media artists. The nominees are: R.R. Anderson, Gabriel Brown, Kyle Dillehay, Oliver Doriss, Spencer Ebbinga, Travis Galindo, Chris Jordan and Kenji Stoll, Matt Johnson, Maria Jost, Chuck Knigge, Meghan Mitchell, Susie Russell Hall, Peter Serko, Sharon Styer and Judy Wagner.

Doriss makes unique and technically difficult glass vessels often incorporating twigs and leaves and silver foil. As he explains on his website, "The silver foil effectively wraps the ash of the plant matter as it vaporizes resulting in a stunning ghost like botanical composition." He also makes vessels that he calls domed cities, which are like futuristic, steampunk snow globes. His glass vessels are dense, multi-layered and rich in color and texture.

As the winner, Oliver will receive a $7,500 award and create a commissioned art piece for the Community Foundation, to be unveiled at a culminating art show featuring the work of Foundation of Art Award nominees from the past five years. The exhibit will be on display Dec. 3-29 at B2 Fine Art Gallery in downtown Tacoma. An opening reception will take place the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 5. Among the many artists to be represented in the five-year show are Sean Alexander, Lynn Di Nino, Gabriel Brown, Jeremy Gregory, Ellen Ito, Lisa Kinoshita, Jeremy Mangan, Janet Marcavage, Nicholas Nyland, Holly Senn and others. Learn more about the reception here.