2019 South Arts State Fellowships for Visual Arts Awarded, Competing for Southern Prize

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Atlanta, GA – South Arts, the nonprofit arts service organization advancing Southern vitality through the arts, has named nine visual artists to receive State Fellowship awards of $5,000 each. These nine artists are now in consideration for the Southern Prize, which includes an additional $25,000 cash award and a two-week residency at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences.

All nine State Fellows will be featured in an exhibit at the 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, South Carolina, from March 21 – May 5, 2019. The winner of the Southern Prize and a $10,000 Finalist award will be announced at a ceremony celebrating the State Fellows on April 15 at 701 CCA.

The 2019 State Fellowship award recipients are:

  • Jamey Grimes. Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Sculpture.
  • Amy Gross. Delray Beach, Florida. Sculpture.
  • Bo Bartlett. Columbus, Georgia. Painting.
  • Lori Larusso. Lexington, Kentucky. Painting.
  • Stephanie Patton. Lafayette, Louisiana. Multidisciplinary.
  • Rory Doyle. Cleveland, Mississippi. Photography.
  • Andrew Hayes. Asheville, North Carolina. Sculpture.
  • Virginia Scotchie. Columbia, South Carolina. Crafts.
  • Andrew Scott Ross. Johnson City, Tennessee. Multidisciplinary.

Launched in 2017, the South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowships celebrate and support the highest quality artistic work being created in the American South. Over 800 visual artists submitted work for consideration, and a panel of jurors reviewed each anonymous application using the sole criterion of artistic excellence to recommend the nine State Fellows. A second panel of jurors is currently reviewing the State Fellows to select the Southern Prize awardee and the Finalist.

“Creativity is thriving throughout the South,” said Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts. “The 2019 State Fellows’ work has such varied subject matter as the African-American cowboy culture in the Mississippi Delta, the forms and forces of nature, and the impact of ‘perfect’ images of life and home inundating us through digital media. They each come from different backgrounds, viewpoints, and styles, yet each are masterful representations of their respective artform. We are very proud to support them as we work toward our mission of advancing Southern vitality through the arts, and helping working artists more able to survive and succeed while living in the South.”

This is the first year when the Fellows will be featured in a group exhibit. “One of our goals is to celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South,” continued Surkamer. “By curating a public exhibit of the State Fellows, we are able to share their dynamic work and highlight the breadth of style cultivated throughout our region.”

The State Fellowship juror panel included Mora J. Beauchamp-Byrd, visiting assistant professor with Oklahoma State University; Katherine Jentleson, the Merrie and Dan Boone Curator of Folk and Self-Taught Art with the High Museum of Art; Radhika Subramaniam, associate professor with the Parsons School of Design; Ben Thompson, deputy director with the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville; and Joey Yates, curator with the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.

Visual artists living in South Arts’ nine-state region and producing crafts, drawing, experimental, painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, and multidisciplinary work were eligible to apply. The awards will be presented to the artists as unrestricted funds.

To view the 2019 State Fellows’ submissions and learn more about the competition, visit www.southarts.org.

About South Arts

South Arts advance Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South.

About the Artists

Jamey Grimes

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Jamey Grimes lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he teaches in the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Alabama. Grimes has shown his artwork widely throughout the US, including exhibitions at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (Montgomery, AL), Kendall Galleries (Grand Rapids, MI), Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (Wilmington, DE), FAT Village (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (Grand Rapids, MI), and Whitespace Gallery (Atlanta, GA). He is a former Alabama State Council on the Visual Arts Fellowship Recipient, and was awarded the 2014 Visual Arts Educator of the Year by the Arts Council of Tuscaloosa.

Amy Gross

Delray Beach, Florida

Amy Gross was born on Long Island, New York, and received her BFA from the Cooper Union in New York City. After a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, she started a graphic design company, and for over twenty years worked as a surface designer, specializing in textiles and children’s products. She designed bedding, slumber bags, beach towels, plush animals, puppet theaters and toys. In 2000 she moved to South Florida and, fascinated by the subtropical environment and the intricate,­ accelerated natural growth there, began making hand-beaded jewelry. Her work expanded to embroidered canvases, then sculpture that merged observed natural elements with invented life forms. In 2006, Gross received a grant from the South Florida Cultural Consortium. Her mixed media sculpture is represented by Momentum Gallery in Asheville, NC, and Watson MacRae Gallery in Sanibel, FL. She recently completed an installation for Culture Lab West Palm Beach that “grew” over a period of six months inside of an emptied department store. Selected exhibits include the Craft and Folk Art Museum of Los Angeles, The Minnesota Museum of Art, the Racine Art Museum, the Rockland Center for the Arts, the Boca Raton Museum of Art, and fairs Art Wynwood and SOFA. Her work is part of the permanent collection of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has appeared in Fiber Arts MagazineAmerican Craft MagazineThe Washington Post, and the art and culture blogs Colossal and TreeHugger. She was featured in an article in the Spring 2016 issue of Fiber Art Now Magazine, and was the issue’s cover artist. She is featured in two recent Schiffer Press books, Artistry in Fiber, Sculpture, and Dimensional Cloth, Sculpture by Contemporary Textile Artists. She lives and works in Delray Beach, Florida.

Bo Bartlett

Columbus, Georgia

Inspired by scenes and individuals from his personal life—including his frequent model and muse, his wife, artist Betsy Eby—Bartlett’s exquisitely drawn and crafted paintings reveal his rigorous academic training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and under the tutelage of well-known portrait artist Nelson Shanks. Additional studies in fresco painting in Florence, Italy and in anatomy at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine inform his aesthetic practice. Perhaps most compelling, however, is the recognition of Bartlett’s background as a filmmaker on his approach to painting and his development as an artist.

In 1986, Bartlett graduated from New York University’s film school and shortly thereafter was offered the job of making a documentary on the life and work of artist Andrew Wyeth. For the next five years, Bartlett spent nearly every day with Wyeth. “Making the film, Snow Hill,” he says, “gave me the opportunity to learn from Andrew. It allowed me the opportunity to learn why he painted, and to ask him what motivated him, and how he stayed motivated. The process of making the film opened a door to my own life and my own path.”

Cinematically composed and skillfully edited, Bartlett’s narrative paintings are often mysterious in their intention; they suggest rather than instruct. While he admires history painting on the grand scale of Benjamin West and John Singleton Copley, he eschews their didactic tone. Instead, he says, his objective “is striking the chord of mystery that is being grappled with.”

Whether depicted simply or complexly, Bartlett’s paintings are layered in meaning. There is an arresting temporal quality to his art—an acknowledgement of the fleeting nature of life and love, and the unending quest to grasp the ineffable.

Biography by Suzette McAvoy

Lori Larusso

Lexington, Kentucky

Lori Larusso earned her MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) graduate interdisciplinary program, the Mount Royal School of Art and a BFA from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). She maintains a rigorous studio practice and has consistently exhibited work in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. Lori has been awarded numerous residency fellowships including the Sam & Adele Golden Foundation, McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Willapa Bay AiR, The Studios of Key West, and the MacDowell Colony.

Themes explored in Lori’s work include bourgeoisie domesticity as fantasy (as performed), protest (as fundamental to the American experience), animals (as pets, food, and trophy), and food imagery (stereotypical middle-American). Furthermore, the work complicates the notions of ‘ownership’ as well as authorship though appropriation of images. This body of work, Noncompliance, was funded, in part, through a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women.

Lori’s work is represented by Skidmore Contemporary in Santa Monica, California. She currently lives and works in Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky.

Stephanie Patton

Lafayette, Louisiana

Born in New Orleans, LA, Stephanie Patton is a multi–media artist whose work crosses the realms of sculpture, painting, photography, installation, performance, video, audio and text. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has studied various types of vocal and comedic performance in New York through The New School, Upright Citizens Brigade and Gotham Writers Workshop. She is currently the producer and host (as the character Renella Rose Champagne) of Lost in Love on KRVS 88.7FM.

Stephanie has shown her work nationally and internationally including shows at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Elizabeth Houston Gallery and Voltz Clarke Gallery in New York; the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Louisiana ArtWorks, the Contemporary Art Center and Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans, LA; and Galerie Patricia Dorfmann in Paris, France. She is represented by Arthur Roger Gallery in New Orleans and Voltz Clarke Gallery in New York City. Stephanie has received several grants including a Career Advancement Grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts in 2009 and 2012. She has been an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center, the Santa Fe Art Institute and has been awarded a residency through the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans for the summer of 2019. She is also a founding member of The Front, an artist’s collective, in New Orleans, LA. Her work is often humorous in nature and frequently investigates aspects of human emotion.

Rory Doyle

Cleveland, Mississippi

Rory Doyle is a working photographer based in Cleveland, Mississippi — the heart of the Mississippi Delta. Doyle is a recipient of a 2018 Visual Artist Fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission for his ongoing project on African American cowboys and cowgirls in the Delta. The project was featured in the Half King Photo Series in New York City in June 2018, along with a concurrent show in Harlem. He was also recognized for the project winning the photojournalism category at the 2018 EyeEm Awards in Berlin, Germany. Doyle’s publication list includes The New York TimesThe Washington PostWall Street Journal, ABC News, Photo District NewsThe Atlantic, ESPN, Getty Images, Financial Times, Yahoo News and more. Born and raised in Maine, Doyle has lived in Mississippi since 2009.

Andrew Hayes

Asheville, North Carolina

Andrew Hayes, born in Tucson, Arizona, studied sculpture at Northern Arizona University. He left school to learn more about metal fabrication by working in the industrial welding trade. Eventually Andrew sought to develop his artistic voice and applied to the Core Fellowship at Penland School of Crafts. During his time as a Core Fellow, Andrew explored a variety of materials and technique; the book became a big part of this exploration. In the fall of 2014 Andrew retuned to Penland as an artist in residence where he continued working with book forms and fabrication. In early 2018 Andrew set up a studio in Asheville where he creates sculpture exhibited nationally including solo exhibitions at Seager Gray Gallery, Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, NJ and Tennessee Tech University, in Cookeville, TN. His work is included in a number of collections including Yale Art Museum, Black Mountain College, and Wingate University.

Virginia Scotchie

Columbia, South Carolina

“I am a ceramic artist and Area Head of Ceramics at the School of Visual Art and Design at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. I received my Bachelor of Art in Sociology and Religion from UNC-Chapel Hill in North Carolina and in 1985 completed my Master of Fine Arts at Alfred University in New York.

“My ceramic sculpture has been extensively exhibited throughout the United States and abroad, and has received numerous awards including the Sydney Meyer Fund International Ceramics Premiere Award from the Shepparton Museum in Victoria, Australia. I have lectured internationally on my creative research and have worked as an Artist in Residence in Tainan, Taiwan, Rome and Florence Italy, Sydney and Canberra Australia, Kecskemet Hungary, Fuping China, Vallauris France and Hertogenbosch Netherlands. My ceramic work resides in numerous public and private collections and reviews about my work appear in many prestigious ceramic publications.”

Andrew Scott Ross

Johnson City, Tennessee

Andrew Scott Ross is interested in how history is interpreted, recorded, and visualized. In efforts to act out his research, he has spent the past fourteen years creating a fictional encyclopedic museum. Ross received his BFA from the Atlanta College of Art, and his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He subsequently studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Ross has exhibited throughout the United States and abroad including; The Museum of Arts and Design in New York, The Building for Contemporary Art in Geneva, Switzerland, The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia in Atlanta, The Guggenheim Museum’s Peter Lewis Theater in New York, The Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, The Knoxville Museum of Art, The Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. His work has been reviewed in publications such as Artforum MagazineArt in AmericaThe New York TimesThe New YorkerSculpture Magazine, and the Village Voice. His work will be included in the upcoming exhibition Appalachia Now! An Interdisciplinary Survey of Contemporary Art in the newly renovated Asheville Museum of Art. Ross is an Associate Professor at East Tennessee State University where he teaches drawing and foundations studies.