Wendy Given was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1971. Given received her Master’s of Fine Arts from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California and her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the Atlanta College of Art in Atlanta, GA (now the Savannah College of Art and Design). Her work in photography, video and sculpture has been exhibited in Germany, The Netherlands and throughout the United States. Given's work in photography will be included in the 10th Northwest Biennial at the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Washington in January 2012, as well as in an upcoming solo exhibition at Nationale in Portland, Oregon in February. Given is a Portland, Oregon based visual artist where her work is produced with her husband, two dogs and cat.
Aiming to produce work that resonates in the deep, dark and unstable ground between consciousness and collective memory, I essentially hope to cross the fine, delicate strata between realism and imagination. I am keenly interested in observing and documenting the otherworldly—or seemingly supernatural—in the everyday experience, realizing my ongoing fascination with myth and magic. Consisting of various portraits, objects, landscapes and scenes limned with the subtle locus between metaphor, allegory, fact and fiction, my images portray a myriad of hosts for both primeval and contemporary narratives, evoking each viewer’s willingness to search, see and believe.
The concept for A. hypogaea albus (Peanut Elves) originated from a game I was taught as a small child by my mother and grandparents which involved searching for elves inside of raw peanuts. The true origin of the game is unknown, although, it traditionally passed through several generations of my maternal family in the Netherlands as a pastime of discovery, patience, and imagination.
In order to produce the peanut elves, I sorted through hundreds of peanut halves to discover specimens that contained a recognizable elf "face" in the seedpod when viewed with the naked eye. Then, I very minimally and carefully carved each seedpod to enhance the preexisting prominent features of each peanut elf. With focused lighting, careful placement of shadows, and the use of a macro lens, each peanut assumes a distinctive identity with elvish features. By enlarging the peanut elves approximately thirty times the actual size, the complexity, realism and detail of the individual elves are readily accessible to the viewer. The outcome of the project initiates the viewer into a renewed awareness and piqued interest in discovering, or rediscovering, the typically unseen realm of our existence.
MFA, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA.
BFA, The Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta, GA.
Nationale, Portland, OR (February)
Turn Your Back to the Forest, Your Front to Me, Whitespace, Atlanta, GA.
How to Explain Magic to a Dead Rabbit, Wieden+Kennedy Gallery, Portland, OR (catalogue).
No Man’s Land, Solomon Projects, Atlanta, GA (catalogue).
Domesticated, Art Concepts, Santa Monica, CA.
Animism, Solomon Projects, Atlanta, GA.
10th Northwest Biennial, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA (catalogue).
The December Show, Whitespace, Atlanta, GA.
Fifth Annual JTHAR Art Exhibit, Joshua Tree Art Gallery, Joshua Tree, CA.
Equine, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR.
The Collector’s Guide to New Art Photography Vol. 2 Exhibition, curated by Vanessa Kramer of Phillips de Pury & Company for the Humble Arts Foundation, Chelsea Art Museum, NY (catalogue).
14th Annual PCNW Members’ Juried Exhibition, curated by Eric Fredericksen, PCNW, Seattle, WA.
Group Show No. 31, curated by Jon Feinstein, Humble Arts Foundation, NYC, NY.
Town & Country: Oregon at 150, Froelick Gallery, Portland, OR.
Short Stories, Wendy Given and Diem Chau, Fifth Floor, Los Angeles, CA.
Wolves & Urchins, Wendy Given, Hayley Barker and Anne Mathern, The Art Gym, Marylhurst University, OR.
Green Light, Bank of America Building, exhibition loan from Joie Lassiter Gallery to Behringer Harvard, Charlotte, NC (catalogue).
Multiple Feeds, LAAA’s Film & Video 825 / Otis College of Art and Design, curated by Erika
Suderburg, Democracy Forum at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, Los Angeles, CA.
Outside the Big-Box, Fifth Floor, Los Angeles, CA.
Staying Alive, curated by Mary Anna Pomonis, The Winslow Garage, Los Angeles, CA.
VITAS Film Festival, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.
Digital World: L.A., curated by S.E. Barnet, Niche.LA / Lounge 441, Los Angeles, CA.
A Minute on Camera, Oct. 21st, Salto Network Television, The Netherlands.
Home Grown, Solomon Projects, Atlanta, GA.
City Zooms.Bremen.2003, Films from Cosmopolitan Cities with sea links, Uebersee Museum Square, Bremen, Germany.
The Collector’s Guide to New Art Photography Vol. 2, Humble Arts Foundation, edited by amani olu and Jon Feinstein with an introduction by Vanessa Kramer, Director of Photographs, Phillips de Pury & Company,
Cullum, Jerry. “Wendy Given re-reads magic and modernism at Whitespace”, Burnaway, January 18, 2011.
Feaster, Felicia. “Wendy Given’s dark and beguiling fairy tales at Whitespace”,
ArtsCriticAtl, Art & Architecture, January 14, 2011.
Bowie, Chas. “Twin Collisions of Photos, Sculpture”, The Oregonian, June 11, 2010.
Johnson, Barry. “Closing Oregon’s Art Gap”, The Oregonian, July 6, 2009.
“Independent Art”, Bear Deluxe, #29 Summer 2009, p.32-33.
Pomonis, Mary Anna. “Diem Chau and Wendy Given at Fifth Floor”, Artweek, June 2009, Volume 40, Issue 5, p.19.
Speer, Richard. “Warlord Sun King, Art Gym: Northwest artists herald the age of ‘eco-baroque’”, Willamette Week, Vol. 35/18, March 11,2009, p.52.
“Into The Wild”, Voices, NY Arts Magazine, January/February 2009, Vol.14 No. 1/2, International Edition, p.12-13.
Parker, Virginia. “The Fine Art of Collecting”, Atlanta Magazine, Best of Atlanta, Vol. 48 No. 8., December 2008 p. 60.
Wood, Eve. “Staying Alive”, Winslow Garage, Los Angeles CA. artUS, Issue 20, Winter 2007.
Cullum, Jerry. “Atlanta Link Comes Vividly To The Forefront”, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, July 18, 2004.
Cullum, Jerry. “Private Universe Lurks Beneath Cartoon Surface”, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, August 4, 2000, p. Q8.
Forrest, Jason A. “Forty Winks for the Four Footed”, Art Papers, July/August 1997, p. 48.
Byrd, Cathy. Accent Nexus, Creative Loafing, April 19,1997, p. 28.
Melrod, George. “Alter Pieces Mix With Alter Egos”, Art & Antiques, Page 37, September 1995.
Awards & Honours
JTHAR Residency, July–August 2011, Joshua Tree, CA.
Caldera Residency, February 2010, Sisters, OR.
Shortlist Award for Professional Photography, London International Competition (LICC), (catalog—LICC 02 edition).
Betty and Monte Factor Graduate Scholarship, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA.
Ahmanson Foundation Scholarship, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA.
The Gene Allcott Memorial Scholarship Merit Award in Painting, The Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta, GA.
Presidential Scholarship, The Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta, GA.