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  • Anthony King

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Anna Sew Hoy Selected as Inaugural Artist in Residence at UC San Diego

Residency established by endowment honoring late artist, educator and Mingei International Museum founder Martha Longenecker Roth

Artist in Residence at UC San Diego Anna Sew Hoy

Anna Sew Hoy (Photo by Milan Zrnic/ Double magazine)

Artist Anna Sew Hoy has been selected as the inaugural Martha Longenecker Roth Distinguished Artist in Residence by the UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts.

A renowned artist, Sew Hoy will both practice her craft as well as mentor and instruct UC San Diego students during a critical stage of their artistic development.

“We are honored and excited to have Anna Sew Hoy as our inaugural Longenecker Artist in Residence,” said Department of Visual Arts chair Jack Greenstein. “We had a very strong group of finalists, all of whom would have been excellent additions to our campus art community. Anna stood out for her commitment to the principles and practices championed by Martha Longenecker: expanding the field of art, celebrating material and craft, and engaging with students and the public.”

Born in New Zealand, Sew Hoy is a Los Angeles-based artist who has been using clay in her art for more than 15 years. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Hammer Museum at UCLA, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and New Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Martha Longenecker Roth Distinguished Artist in Residence Endowment at UC San Diego was established by the estate of the late artist and educator Martha W. Longenecker Roth in 2016. The program brings exceptionally talented, high-caliber artists to the Department of Visual Arts, within the Division of Arts and Humanities.

“In selecting Anna Sew Hoy, the Department of Visual Arts continues their innovative, creative role in both advancing art and art history, and giving our students a world-class experience,” said Division of Arts and Humanities Dean Cristina Della Coletta. “These are the same values shared by Martha, and I’m certain this honors her legacy well.”

Artist in Residence at UC San Diego Anna Sew Hoy

Martha W. Longenecker Roth (Courtesy Mingei International Museum)

Longenecker Roth was an influential, multifaceted visionary, with an enduring impact as an artist, educator and museum director. After a career teaching at San Diego State University, she founded the Mingei International Museum in 1978, inspired by the teachings of the revered 20th century Japanese scholar Soetsu Yanagi. Yanagi coined the term mingei: “min” meaning all people and “gei” meaning art.

Sew Hoy received her MFA from Bard College in 2008. She was awarded a Creative Capital Grant for Visual Arts in 2015, a California Community Foundation Grant for Emerging Artists in 2013 and a United States Artists fellowship in 2006. Since a visit to the Mingei Museum in Tokyo in 2006, the ideas and history of Mingei have been entwined with her work.

The artist has most recently shown in a solo exhibition at Koenig & Clinton gallery in New York City, and her “Psychic Body Grotto” opened at the Los Angeles State Historic Park in 2017. Adapted from the State Park commission, Sew Hoy currently has work on display as part of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’ storefront: series.

Additional solo exhibitions of her work have been shown at the Massimo Audiello Fine Art gallery in New York City, San Jose Museum of Art, Romer Young Gallery in San Francisco, Various Small Fires gallery in Los Angeles and the Aspen Art Museum, among others. At UC San Diego, Sew Hoy showed as part of a 2013 University Art Gallery group exhibition.

Artist in Residence at UC San Diego Anna Sew Hoy

“Woven Void,” 2016 by Anna Sew Hoy. Courtesy the artist, Koenig & Clinton and Various Small Fires. (Photo by Jeffrey Sturges)

The artist-in-residence selection committee consisted of UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts faculty members Amy Adler, Monique van Genderen and Anya Gallaccio.

“Part of my commitment to the medium has included consideration of the role of craft in art and in daily life,” Sew Hoy said. “I understand the history of clay and the history of art to be parallel histories that intersect at special moments. My sculptures are intended to sit in that intersection.”

Beneficiary of Longenecker Roth’s estate upon her death in 2013, family member Ana Smythe said she established the endowment at UC San Diego as a tribute to a woman who loved La Jolla and the university. Smythe also donated Longenecker Roth’s personal papers and more than 900 volumes from her personal collection to the UC San Diego Library, enhancing the Library’s extensive Special Collections and Archives.

“Martha felt UC San Diego was so forward thinking, and she was so impressed by how they brought education to a new level,” Smythe said. “Although incredibly strong, the legacy she left was of a woman who accomplished much, touched many and made a difference.”

A special reception and exhibition celebrating the inaugural artist in residence will be held Thursday, Nov. 9, where Della Coletta, Greenstein and Smythe will gather with friends and family to honor the life of Martha Longenecker Roth.

Held in the Visual Arts Gallery of the UC San Diego Structural and Materials Engineering Building, the exhibition will feature a collection of Longenecker Roth’s ceramic works, and will be open to the public for one week: Nov. 13 – 17 (Monday and Friday 2:30 – 6 p.m., Tuesday 3:30 – 6 p.m.).

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