The Gibbes Museum of Art and Society 1858, in Charleston, SC, announced the 2014 Short List of finalists for the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art. Awarded annually with a cash prize of $10,000, the 1858 Prize acknowledges an artist whose work demonstrates the highest level of artistic achievement in any media, while contributing to a new understanding of art in the South. Over 250 artists from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia submitted applications during this time period.
The seven artists (profiled below) selected for the 2014 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art short list are Jim Arendt, Sonya Clark, Andre Leon Gray, Jackson Martin, Jason Mitcham, Damian Stamer, and Stacy Lynn Waddell. The artists were selected by a distinguished panel of judges including Charles Ailstock, Society 1858 Board Member; Jamieson Clair, Society 1858 Board Member; Jennifer Dasal, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art; Marilyn Laufer, Director of the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University; Frank McCauley, Assistant Director and Curator of the Sumter County Gallery of Art; Pam Wall, Curator of Exhibition at the Gibbes Museum of Art; and John Westmark, artist and 2012 Prize winner.
“We are thrilled to have received so many qualified applicants to the 1858 Prize. Narrowing the list to seven artists was a tough task, but we feel this group represents the great talent and creativity of the contemporary southern art scene,” says Gibbes Museum Curator of Exhibitions Pam Wall.
This prize was established in 2007 by Elizabeth and Mallory Factor to honor an artist whose work contributes to a new understanding of the South. Artist John Westmark was the 2012 prize winner and his work is on view at the Gibbes Museum of Art through August 3 in the exhibition entitled, “John Westmark: Narratives”. After a 1-year hiatus, Society 1858 has rebranded the annual artist award and will focus its fundraising efforts on cultivating the prize. The winner of the 1858 Prize will be announced on Sept. 18, 2014, during an event hosted by Society 1858 and the Gibbes Museum of Art.
2014 Short List Bios
Jim Arendt – Based in Conway, SC, Arendt creates narrative paintings, sculpture, and installations that investigate how individual lives are affected by transitions in economic structures. Made from cut denim, Arendt’s figurative work draws upon his rural upbringing and concepts of work, labor, and connections to the land. Arendt received his BFA from Kendall College of Art & Design and his MFA with a concentration in painting from the University of South Carolina. (www.jimarendt.com)
Sonya Clark – Clark is a fiber and mixed media artist working in Richmond, VA, where she chairs the Department of Craft and Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She uses objects such as cloth, hair, and combs to give voice to the complexity of American identity and history. Clark’s work has been exhibited in over 250 museums and galleries in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, and throughout the United States. (www.sonyaclark.com)
André Leon Gray – A native of Raleigh, NC, Gray is a self-trained artist who works is a variety of media to examine the impact of history and memory on present day power structures and social hierarchies. Gray’s mixed media assemblages, sculptures, and installations combine recycled and reclaimed objects, materials, and imagery. He transforms mundane objects into powerful social commentary with the intent of creating dialogue among his audience. (www.andreleongray.com)
Jackson Martin – Martin’s artistic practice entails an interdisciplinary approach to sculpture, installation, and photography. He utilizes a wide variety of materials and processes, ranging from sewing nontraditional fabrics to steam-bending hardwoods to planting trees in dumpsters. A native of Tennessee, Martin currently resides in Asheville, NC where he teaches at the University of North Carolina – Asheville. (www.jacksonmartin.com)
Jason Mitcham – Mitcham combines painting and stop-motion animation to investigate suburbia, modern ruins, and temporality within the landscape. His animations are created by digitally recording thousands of slight alterations on paintings; approximately ten miniscule changes are made for every second of footage. Mitcham was born in Greensboro, NC, and currently resides in New York. (www.jasonmitcham.com)
Damian Stamer – Stamer depicts barns, abandoned buildings, and other vernacular structures of the rural south. His heavily layered canvases blur the line between abstraction and representation as they seek to express the solemn beauty of the old and overlooked. A native of Durham, NC, Stamer earned a BFA from Arizona State University and an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (www.damianstamer.com)
Stacy Lynn Waddell – Waddell creates work that explores American history, culture, and the ways individual consciousness is formed through generations. She combines watercolor, gold leaf, and collage with heat-based techniques that burn, brand, and singe works on paper. Waddell has exhibited at museums throughout the country, including the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Gibbes Museum of Art, in the solo exhibition, “The Evidence of Things Unseen”. (www.stacylynnwaddell.com)
Society 1858 is a group of dynamic young professionals who support the Gibbes Museum of Art with social and educational programs tailored for up-and-coming art patrons. Membership to Society 1858 is open to any member of the Gibbes Museum of Art. Society 1858 takes its name from the year that the Carolina Art Association was established. Although the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors in 1905, the museum’s art collection began in 1858. Society 1858 aims to continue the strong legacy of art appreciation in Charleston. Members of Society 1858 have access to private exhibition previews and receptions, invitations to social events throughout the year, and free or reduced admission to Society 1858’s exciting programs.
Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905. Located in Charleston’s historic district, the Gibbes houses a premier collection of over 10,000 works, principally American with a Charleston or Southern connection, and presents special exhibitions throughout the year. In addition, the museum offers an extensive complement of public programming and educational outreach initiatives that serve the community by stimulating creative expression and improving the region’s superb quality of life. Highlights of the Gibbes collection can now be viewed on Google Art Project at (www.googleartproject.com).
For further information call the Museum at 843/722-2706 or visit (www.gibbesmuseum.org).