Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Prizewinners for the Phillips' Invitational Show

About 1,300 works of art were submitted for review for the ongoing Phillips Collection invitational show Inside Outside, Upside Down, and about seventy works were chosen by the jurors, Elsa Smithgall (Senior Curator, The Phillips Collection), Renée Stout (DC artist and guest curator of the exhibition), Phil Hutinet (publisher of the local news source East City Art), and Abigail McEwan (Associate Professor of Latin American Art at the University of Maryland). I am proud and honored to have been one of the chosen artists – thank you to the jurors.

The jurors awarded the First Prize to Dominick Rabrun’s work titled Dr. LaSalle, The Spider Queen, and Me, a 2021 digital mixed-media video installation. The Second Prize went to Kristina Penhoet’s installation fiber piece titled How Many More? and Honorable Mentions went to Desmond Beach’s fabric and paper work titled #SayTheirNames 2, to Marta Pérez García’s Your Hand, a molded cotton handmade paper and stitching work with yarn, and to Richard L. Williams’ touching photograph titled Claudette, Roman and Rashard – February 2021.

Constant readers know something about me and jurors -- I love to re-review shows and see if I agree or disagree with their choices. Art is a very subjective thing and artists must all have thick skins.

My choice for Best in Show – not just First Prize – would have been Werllayne Nunes’ gigantic oil on panel painting titled Us. The work vibrates with happiness and power and reaches deep into every child’s memories as well as delivering a powerful social message.

Werllayne Nunes, US, 2021, Oil on linen panel, 30 × 60 × 2 1/2 in.,
Werllayne Nunes, US,
2021, Oil on linen panel, 30 × 60 × 2 1/2 in

Judith Peck is one of the DMV’s painting superstars – her technical skills are almost supernatural and her breath-taking ability to infuse her work with psychological power legendary. Her painting titled State Collapse, depicting a young woman in bed, is able to transmit fear, anxiety, and angst and summarize 2020 in one gorgeous work of art. She gets my First Prize award.

Second Prize goes to Carol Antezana’s sensitive portrait photograph titled Las Gringas. She writes about this work:

“Las Gringas is a photographic self-portrait analyzing the balance between being both Bolivian and a first-generation American amid political turmoil and uprisings in both countries. Disagreements about politics have been a specter for many families and the differences are ones of morality, core values, and character, creating tension and division. I was always taunted by my family for being “una gringa” because I cannot speak Spanish perfectly, yet there was no importance in keeping our Indigenous language, Quechua, alive. As a child of immigrant parents, the act of balancing, adopting, and assimilating cultures can be daunting; there are deeply rooted racial double standards in both countries. Through redefining my identity, I am striving to decolonize my mind—my attempt at breaking the intergenerational trauma in my family.”

Carol Antezana - Las Gringas
Carol Antezana - Las Gringas

Honorable Mention goes to Cathy Abramson’s oil painting titled Waiting for Takeout (to go), another cool work which captured the Covidian Age perfectly! 

Cathy Abramson’s oil painting titled Waiting for Takeout (to go
Cathy Abramson - Waiting for Takeout (to go)

I also like Aaron Maier-Carretero’s somewhat disturbing enormous painting titled not in front of the kids. The palpable, hidden violence is terrifying in the work.

Aaron Maier-Carretero - not in front of the kids
Aaron Maier-Carretero - not in front of the kids

Congrats to all the prizewinners! And to my prizewinners!