Photographer & 2017 Awardee
Born in a rural village in western New York, Andrea Baldeck began photographing with a simple Brownie camera at age eight, imagining herself a Life photographer canoeing through the jungle to meet Albert Schweitzer. This interest and dream pervaded years of musical study at Vassar, medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, and practice as an internist and anesthesiologist. On medical trips to Haiti and Grenada, camera and stethoscope occupied the same bag. In the early 1990’s she left the operating room for the darkroom, to work as a fine-art photographer in black and white. During the following decade, her portfolio grew to accommodate portraiture, still life, and landscapes, as featured in her books The Heart of Haiti (1996, second edition 2006), Talismanic (1998), Venice a personal View (1999), Touching the Mekong (2003), Closely Observed (2006), Presence Passing (2007), Himalaya: land of the snow lion (2009), and Bones Books and Bell Jars (2012), a photographic essay evoking the history of medicine. Since 1996 she has exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad, and her images are found in museums and private collections.
In support of non-profit cultural institutions, she has served on the boards of Vassar, the University of Penn Museum, and Moore College of Art and Design. Current trusteeships include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Settlement Music School, and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (as board chair). When not in the darkroom, she explores mountain peaks, far-flung islands, fields and gardens, seeking to entrap the transient through the magic of her photography.
Ursula von Rydingsvard
Sculptor & 2017 Awardee
Working in Brooklyn, New York, for over 30 years, Ursula Von Rydingsvard is best known for creating large-scale, often monumental sculpture from cedar beams, which she painstakingly cuts, assembles, and laminates, finally rubbing powdered graphite into the work’s textured, faceted surfaces. Recently she has cast sculptures in bronze from full-scale cedar models. She deliberately uses cedar boards milled into 4" by 4" widths with varying lengths, which create a neutrality or "blank canvas" which enables her to dip into many different possibilities often within the arena of the psychological and emotional. As she explains this approach: "If I were to say how it is that I break the convention of sculpture (and I'm not sure that's what I do or even if that's what I want to do), it would be by climbing into the work in a way that’s highly personal, that I can claim as being mine. The more mine it is, the more I’m able to break the convention."
Ursula’s work is represented in the permanent collections of over 30 museums, including: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Walker Art Center, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Storm King Art Center, Detroit Institute of Arts, San Francisco MoMA and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. She has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture, three awards from the American section of the International Association of Art Critics, the International Sculpture Center Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Her permanent sculptures are in the collection of the Bloomberg Corporation, Barclays Center, Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among many others. Major exhibitions include the 56th Venice Biennale, Venice (2015); Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, UK (2014); Sculpture Center, Queens, New York (2011); Madison Square Park, New York (2006); and Storm King Art.