B.F.A. student wins Cornell Undergraduate Artist Award

June 10, 2011

Roxanne Yamins (B.F.A 12), a student sculptor and painter from Great Neck, New York, has won the Cornell Undergraduate Artist Award for 2011 from the Cornell Council for the Arts. With its proceeds, she proposes creating a series of sculptures reflecting a common, architectural phenomenon in Ithaca the front porch.   The annual award recognizes an outstanding undergraduate student who has demonstrated talent, dedication, and notable achievement in one or more artistic disciplines at Cornell. The winner receives a monetary award and presents his or her work on campus.   Yamins was nominated for the award by the art department in recognition of her work, which focuses on the role of liminal spaces in everyday life.

By creating architectural and sculptural statements in a variety of materials, she displaces our sense of the normal boundaries between the inside and the outside, the public and the private, and the official and the casual, wrote Iftikhar Dadi, chair of the art department, in his nomination letter.   After her nomination, Yamins proposed a project, Meanings of Our Space, consisting of three sculptures depicting the ubiquity of porches in Ithaca. The proposal called for fragments of porches, including floorboards, latticing, and railing, to be constructed into 4-by-3-foot sculptures and installed on the slope at Cornell, on the banks of the gorge and in Collegetown, once Yamins obtains necessary permits.

What Im doing is using the language of these porches to create private spheres of contemplation in public spaces, says Yamins, who hopes to install the sculptures by the end of the summer.   Yamins, who transferred to Cornell from the Cooper Union in New York City, has received national recognition for her artwork. In 2008, she won a grant from the National Academy of Fine Arts to study art in Florence, Italy. Her painting, Man Sitting, was one of 40 works from the Scholastic Art Awards of 2005 selected for a special exhibition in Washington, DC, by the Presidents Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

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