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UMW emeritus professor awarded fellowship

The University of Mary Washington today issued the following press release:

Steve Griffin, professor emeritus of art at the University of Mary Washington, has been awarded a prestigious Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) professional fellowship.

Griffin was one of 43 candidates selected statewide from a record pool of 642 professional artists and art students. One of 18 awardees in the professional category, Griffin received a 2011-12 fellowship for his submission of eight paintings from his “Strata” series.

Inspired by views of the Potomac River, the paintings all have a horizontal stripe composition. The end result resembles a cross section of earth or the strata found in rocks. To achieve this effect, Griffin applied multiple layers of paint to a canvas, then sanded and scraped it to reveal hidden colors and textures.

Griffin began the “Strata” collection in 2007. Since then, it has grown to include nearly 100 paintings divided into three categories, “Strata,” “Neostrata” and “Core Sample.”

Each $8,000 fellowship offers financial aid to professional artists and students who display exceptional creative ability in their discipline. Griffin will use the grant to support future painting projects. He also plans to use fellowship funds to spend time at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a working retreat in Amherst for artists, writers and composers.

“I’ve been focusing all of my creative energy into painting since my retirement from the Department of Art and Art History in 2008,” said Griffin, who lives in Colonial Beach. “I feel like I’m starting a new career, and I think this award also will help to open some doors to new exhibition opportunities.”

An accomplished photographer, painter and printmaker, Griffin has had work featured in more than 150 local, regional and national exhibitions. From April 1 through April 30, paintings from the series will be on exhibit at the Glave Kocen Gallery in Richmond. The eight paintings from Griffin’s fellowship portfolio and additional pieces by Griffin will be on display at Amuse Restaurant, a fine dining establishment within the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, from July 11 through November 6.

Griffin joined the UMW faculty in 1983 and taught printmaking, photography, drawing and design courses for 25 years. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of South Dakota and a Master of Fine Arts in painting and printmaking from the University of Wisconsin.