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ICA Boston Announces Finalists for Foster Prize

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The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston has announced nine artists as finalists for the 2010 James and Audrey Foster Prize. The honorees for the the museum's biennial award and exhibition for Boston-area artists are Robert de St. Phalle, Eirik Johnson, Fred Liang, Rebecca Meyers, Matthew Rich, Daniela Rivera, Evelyn Rydz, Amie Siegel and Steve Tourlentes. They were paired down from a list of "over 70" nominees.

The artists will select work to show at the ICA in the Foster Prize Exhibition, which opens September 22, 2010, and the winner will be announced in January 2011. According to the ICA, "a jury of distinguished, nationally recognized art professionals—including ICA Director Jill Medvedow—will convene to select the winner from among [the]finalists."

In a prepared statement, ICA director Jill Medvedow said, "The Foster Prize exhibition is an exciting opportunity for audiences in Boston and beyond to appreciate the artistic innovation happening here in our community. This year’s exhibition more than doubles the number of local artists participating in the program, bringing increased focus to the impressive work being created in Boston’s vibrant art scene."

2010 is the first year that nine artists were selected as finalists; in '06 and '08, four were selected. Prior to '06 (and the ICA's opening at its current location), no finalists were selected. The winner of the prize will receive $25,000 dollars, an award made possible by a $1 million gift from James and Audrey Foster. James Foster is an ICA Trustee and Chairman, President and CEO of Charles River Laboratories.

The Jamaica Plain-based artist and director of the Barbara Krakow Gallery, Andrew Witkin was the 2008 winner, and Rania Matar, Catherine D'Ignazio and Joe Zane were the finalists. Previous winners were Ambreen Butt (1999), Laylah Ali (2000), Taylor Davis (2001), Alice Swinden Carter (2002), Douglas R. Weathersby (2003), Kanishka Raja (2004), Kelly Sherman (2006).

The ICA provides the following bios for this year's finalists:

Robert de St. Phalle is a sculptor who graduated from Cooper Union with his BFA in 2001 and Bard with his MFA in 2007. He is currently Adjunct Professor of Sculpture and New Media at Massachusetts College of Art, Boston. In his artist statement, de St. Phalle writes, “What concerns me as an artist is the space between what a thing seems to be and what it is.” He uses materials ranging from fiberglass to fluorescent bulbs, and incorporates techniques including CT scans and Rapid Prototyping into his work.

Eirik Johnson is a photographer who received his BFA from the University of Washington in 1997, and his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2003. He is currently Assistant Professor of Photography at Massachusetts College of Art, Boston. His photographs of the American West were featured in a solo exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington in 2009. Recent projects include large-scale images of the Peruvian Amazon that also have a sound element.

Fred Liang makes work using sources including traditional Chinese paper cut, Jian Zhi, and Song Dynasty scroll paintings. He received his BFA from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg in 1989, and his MFA from Yale University School of Art in 1991. In his artist statement, he writes, “During the past decade my work has intertwined such seemingly oppositional perspectives as Eastern and Western philosophy, Taoist poetry, art and science, as well as ephemeral and concrete references to places near and far.”

Rebecca Meyers is a filmmaker who shoots, edits, and finishes on 16mm film. She has a BA from Cornell University, 1997, and a MFA in Film and Video Production from the University of Iowa, 2001. Her most recent films investigate the natural world that exists in our urban environments, alongside our own daily lives.

Matthew Rich works with latex paint on cut paper to make paintings that straddle the boundary between two and three dimensions. He received his BA from Brown University in 1998, and his MFA in Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004. His work has been featured in recent solo exhibitions at samson (Boston), devening projects + editions (Chicago) and The Suburban (Oak Park, IL). He is a Lecturer in the Department of Art and Design at Northeastern University.

Daniela Rivera creates paintings on three-dimensional structures and installations. She received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 2006, and is currently an Assistant Professor at Wellesley College. In her work, she looks at the function of decorative paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, in particular, at murals and frescos that performed as what she calls “deceiving visual decorations of indoor spaces.” Her installations use paintings as a tool for staging, and generating a physical experience.

Evelyn Rydz creates intricate and detailed drawings based on her own photographs of objects and places. She received her BFA from Florida State University in 2001, and her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2005. She is currently working on two series of drawings, both related to the Boston coastline. As she describes them, the first depicts items the sea has rejected, and the second creates places where they exist together.

Amie Siegel works in 16mm and 35mm film, video, photography, sound and writing, often using the cinematic image as a material means to a conceptual end. She received her BA from Bard College in 1996, and her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999. She is the recipient, in 2009, of an Artadia grant, and, in 2007, of a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. She was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, and her work has recently been screened at the Hayward Gallery, London, the Aspen Art Museum, and CA2M Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo, Madrid.

Steve Tourlentes is a photographer who for the past several years has been photographing prisons across the U.S. He received his BA from Knox College, and his MFA from Massachusetts College of Art, where he is currently Visiting Professor of Photography in the Media and Performing Arts Department. He has served as Contributing Editor for Blindspot Magazine since 1999. He is the recipient of, in 2007, an Artadia grant. In his artist statement, he writes, “Prisons exemplify a ritualistic use of time and/or ‘death’ to mediate a facet of complex social interactions and public policy. These temporal sites reflect a boundary of the social compact through their location, population, and social mandate.”

Link: the ICA's press release.

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Christian Holland is an aspiring New York City-based essayist who likes writing about how New York City isn't the center of the world. He was executive editor and founding contributor of Big, Red & Shiny, and sat on the publication's board for V2.

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