Provost’s Purchase Award

The 2017 Provost's Purchase Award winner is Johnny Beaver for his acrylic and ink on canvas called Menecer.


Johnny Beaver has cultivated an interdisciplinary approach to his creative practice that underscores conceptual art and painting, but includes poetry, music composition, electronic design, and more. Though sprawling, his archive of work maintains continuity through an emphasis on narratives of subjective experience, the fostering of personal creative language, and a focus on the dissection and study of abstraction.

As someone afflicted with bipolar disorder, many of Beaver’s painted works revolve around topics of anxiety, emotion, memory, and social juxtaposition. Distortion and loss of memory, symptoms associated with bipolar, have had an especially heavy impact on his life. His current series of paintings examine recollection as a whole, focusing on specific events or pairings of those with underlying connections. This work seizes opportunities to look at the proclivity and predilection made obvious when memory’s archival functions fail. What do we remember, what values do we ascribe, what stands out, what changes, and why? These questions help to articulate less obvious nuances of identity, and contribute to the greater notions of self-study that permeate his work.

The recipient of several arts accolades, Beaver received the Ida M. Matsen Memorial Scholarship in 2015, and the Dr. Helen E. Plinkiewisch scholarship for the 2016/17 academic year. Throughout his studies he has been selected for seven juried awards, including LBCC’s President’s Purchase Award, a Best in Show from juror Beverly Soasey, and a Juror’s Choice from Yuji Hiratsuka. During the last six years Beaver has been credited in nearly forty mid-valley exhibits, three as curator, and has spent most of that time serving the interests of local art as an editor and arts writer at The Corvallis Advocate. Out-going co-President of OSU’s art club, Montage Collective, he is also responsible for having founded the Temporary Artists’ Guild of Linn / Benton County, as well as the arts-focused Facebook forums Corvallis Creators and Corvallis Noisemakers. Chosen for the 2017 summer Artist in Residence program at Chemeketa College’s Gretchen Schuette Gallery, Beaver will be graduating OSU with honors before going on to the Masters in Fine Arts in Contemporary Studio Practice program at Portland State University this Fall.

Ten days after graduating from OSU I'll be starting an 11 week residency at Chemeketa College, and then will begin studying for my Masters in Fine Arts in Contemporary Studio Practice at PSU in the Fall. I plan on eventually using my education and experience to teach college level arts, as well as foster a permanent engagement in arts community organizing and advocacy here in the state of Oregon.

Archive of award winners