Georgia Artist Paul Stephen Benjamin Wins Southern PrizeSee All News
Atlanta – Artist Paul Stephen Benjamin of Atlanta, Georgia was awarded the 2018 Southern Prize by South Arts at an event this week in the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans. Benjamin, a multidisciplinary artist whose installations are a meditation on the color black as an entry point into discussions of identity, race and masculinity and the exploration of the complexities of racial identity, received a $25,000 cash award and a two-week residency at The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. Louisiana photographer Jeremiah Ariaz, whose images offer a counter-narrative to historic representations of the cowboy and prevailing contemporary images of difference and despair in Black America, received the Southern Prize finalist award of $10,000.
Benjamin and Ariaz were among the nine South Arts State Fellowship recipients honored at the event, each of whom received $5,000. The South Arts State Fellowships are juried, state-specific competitive awards to visual artists representing the nine states served by South Arts.
The 2018 State Fellowship award recipients are:
- Amy Pleasant, Birmingham, AL. Painting.
- Anastasia Samoylova, Miami Beach, FL. Photography.
- Paul Stephen Benjamin, Atlanta, GA. Multidisciplinary.
- Garrett Hansen, Lexington, KY. Multidisciplinary.
- Jeremiah Ariaz, Baton Rouge, LA. Photography.
- Dominic Lippillo, Starkville, MS. Photography.
- Meg Stein, Durham, NC. Sculpture.
- Kate Hooray Osmond, Charleston, SC. Painting.
- Vesna Pavlović, Nashville, TN. Photography.
The Southern Prize and State Fellowships, explained Benjamin following the ceremony, are impactful for artists. “When I look at what opportunities we have, as artists living in the South, this is so significant. There are not many of these prizes for artists who are not in New York. I’m very honored and believe this is very important and helps us artists do what we believe we are called to do.”
Now in their second year, the South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowships celebrate and support the highest quality artistic work being created in the South. Nearly 700 visual artists submitted work for consideration, and a national panel of jurors reviewed each application with the sole criterion of artistic excellence to determine the nine State Fellows. A second national panel of jurors reviewed the State Fellows to determine the Southern Prize winner and finalist. Each panel is conducted blind, with the applicants’ identities and information withheld from the jurors.
The State Fellowship juror panel included Ade Omotosho with the Pérez Art Museum Miami; Jan Davidson, former director of the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC; Mark Scala, chief curator at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville; and Scott Stulen, director and president of Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, OK. The Southern Prize juror panel included César García, executive and artistic director of Los Angeles’ The Mistake Room; Monica Moses, editor in chief of American Craft magazine; and Trevor Schoonmaker, chief curator of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
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 are presented to the artists as unrestricted funds. The South Arts Southern Prize and State Fellowships are funded by individuals, foundations, and corporations, and are powered by the Hambidge Center for Arts and Creative Sciences.
About South Arts
South Arts advances 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
Amy Pleasant, Birmingham, AL
Amy Pleasant received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She has held solo exhibitions at Jeff Bailey Gallery, (Hudson/NYC), whitespace gallery (Atlanta, GA), Augusta University (Columbus, GA), Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (IN), Birmingham Museum of Art (AL), Atlanta Contemporary (GA), Auburn University’s School of Liberal Arts (AL), Rhodes College (Memphis, TN), Candyland (Stockholm, Sweden), and University of Alabama at Birmingham (AL).
Group shows include the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (AL), Adams and Ollman (OR), Cuevas Tilleard Projects (NY), Zuckerman Museum of Art (GA), Mason-Scharfenstein Museum of Art (GA), Knoxville Museum of Art (TN), Weatherspoon Museum of Art (NC), Hunter Museum of American Art (TN), Columbus Museum of Art (GA), National Museum of Women in the Arts (D.C.), Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (NC), The Mobile Museum of Art (AL), and the U.S. Embassy, Prague, Czech Republic.
Her work has been reviewed in publications such as World Sculpture News, Sculpture, The Brooklyn Rail, Art in America, artforum.com, Art Papers, Bad at Sports and BURNAWAY.
Awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Award (2015), Mary Hambidge Distinguished Artist Award (2015), Cultural Alliance of Birmingham Individual Artist Fellowship (2008), and Alabama State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship (2003).
Amy currently lives and works in Birmingham, Alabama and is represented by Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson, New York and whitespace gallery, Atlanta, Georgia. She co-founded the curatorial initiative The Fuel And Lumber Company with artist Pete Schulte in 2013.
Anastasia Samoylova, Miami Beach, FL
Anastasia Samoylova is a Miami-based artist and photographer. She received an MFA from Bradley University and an MA from Russian State University of Humanities. Samoylova has exhibited internationally, including Aperture Foundation in New York, Griffin Museum of Photography in Boston, Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, and in photography festivals in Belgium, Brazil, and South Korea. Her work is included in the collection at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and ArtSlant Prize collection in Paris. Her work has been featured in the New Yorker, Foam, and Wired. Her book Landscape Sublime was published by the In the In-Between Editions in June 2016. She has completed artist residencies at Latitude Chicago, Studios at Mass MoCA, Fountainhead Miami and she currently an artist in residence at the Art Center South Florida in Miami Beach. Samoylova is represented by Julie Saul Gallery in New York.
Paul Stephen Benjamin, Atlanta, GA
Paul Stephen Benjamin was born in Chicago, Illinois. He currently lives and works in Atlanta, GA. He holds a BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MFA from Georgia State University. In 2018 his work will be exhibited at The Telfair Museum, Savannah, GA; The Zuckerman Museum, Kennesaw, GA; and The Tacoma Art Museum, Seattle, WA. Recently his work God Bless Americawas included in the exhibition Fictions at The Studio Museum in Harlem. He also had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia and in 2016 Benjamin exhibited Black is the Color at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA. He is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia Working Artist Project which resulted in his 2017 exhibition Pure Black. Benjamin received the 2014 Artadia Award, a Winnie B. Chandler Fellowship, Diasporal Rhythms Artists Recognition Award, Hambidge Fellowship, The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center Studio Program and the Forward Arts Emerging Artists Award.
Garrett Hansen, Lexington, KY
Garrett Hansen graduated from Grinnell College, where he studied economics and political science. He completed his MFA in photography at Indiana University and has taught at several universities in the United States and in Asia. He is now an Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Kentucky. Garrett has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Jeremiah Ariaz, Baton Rouge, LA
Jeremiah Ariaz creates works that explore both the geography and ideology of the American West. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Ariaz is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Louisiana State University.
Ariaz has exhibited and spoken about his work internationally at institutions including the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, LA; Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, FL; Lawndale Art Center in Houston, TX; Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, LA; the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans, LA; Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN; Sewanee, The University of the South in Sewanee, TN; la Esquina in Kansas City, MO; B Gallery in Rome, Italy; Cambridge Galleries in Cambridge Ontario, Canada; Multi-Media Art Museum, Moscow House of Photography in Moscow, Russia.
For Louisiana Trail Riders, Ariaz received the 2018 Michael P. Smith Award for Documentary Photography from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. The work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Zeitgeist Gallery in Nashville, TN, Columbus State University in Columbus, GA, and in 2018, at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies in Durham, NC. Center for Louisiana Studies UL Press will release a monograph, Louisiana Trail Riders, in the fall.
Dominic Lippillo, Starkville, MS
Dominic Lippillo’s solo and collaborative work addresses ideas pertaining to memory, space and place, and vernacular photographic images. His photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Photographic Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa and the University of North Dakota. His work has been published in the journal Exposureand in the supplement of images accompanying Bruce Warren’s textbook Photography: The Concise Guide (2nd Edition March 2011). In 2013 he received a Mississippi State University Faculty Research Award and in 2016 he was a recipient of a Mississippi Arts Commission Fellowship. He earned his MFA in Photography from Ohio University in 2009 and a BFA in Photography from Youngstown State University in 2005. Lippillo is an Associate Professor of Art at Mississippi State University.
Meg Stein, Durham, NC
Meg Stein is a visual artist based in Durham, NC, where she has lived and worked since 2006. Her work is primarily sculptural and resists feminine roles and aesthetics in order to evolve the definition of what a woman is and can be. She is likewise dedicated to strengthening awareness of how racial identities affect female experience. Her biomorphic, tactile sculptures transform symbolic, everyday materials into otherworldly and mutated bodily forms. She draws inspiration from evocative aspects of the North Carolina landscape, as well as from embodied experience, personal narratives, domesticity, science fiction, sexuality, and androgynous underwater life.
Since receiving her MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she has exhibited her work at the A.I.R. Gallery, Vox Populi, the NARS Foundation Gallery, the Governors Island Art Fair, Greenhill Gallery, the Neon Heater, and the Spartanburg Museum of Art, among other venues. Stein has been an artist-in-residence at Yaddo, Hambidge, Haystack, PLAYA, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has also received the Garland Fellowship from the Hambidge Center, the Ella Pratt Emerging Artist Grant from the Durham Arts Council, and the David A. Dowdy Jr. Award for Sculpture from UNC-CH.
Kate Hooray Osmond, Charleston, SC
Kate Hooray Osmond is a painter and installation artist whose work expresses bold architectural lines and bright, shiny colors. She rides in a helicopter to capture much of her subject matter: highways, agricultural structures, industrial plats, container ships, etc. to offer a new perspective of our familiar everyday existence. Energy, optimism, and the use of gold leaf are the hallmarks of Kate’s work. She believes in the unlimited curiosity and creativity of the human race and is fascinated by our relationship with the land.
Kate resides in Charleston, South Carolina and was recently awarded the Lowcountry Artist of the Year by the Coastal Community Foundation. Her work has shown in galleries and museums from the US to South Korea. She is an MFA candidate at Maryland Institute College of Art and is probably chasing her kids around the front yard right now.
Vesna Pavlović, Nashville, TN
Vesna Pavlović (Serbia/US) obtained her MFA degree in Visual Arts from Columbia University in 2007. She is an Associate Professor of Art at Vanderbilt University where she teaches photography and digital media. Her projects examine the evolving relationship between memory in contemporary culture and the technologies of photographic image production. Expanding the photographic image beyond its frame, traditional format, and the narrative is central to her artistic strategies. She examines photographic representation of specific political and cultural histories. These representations include photographic archives and related artifacts, which she treats as material to produce new images and installations.
Pavlović has exhibited widely, including solo shows at the Phillips Collection in , DC; the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, TN; the Museum of History of Yugoslavia in Belgrade; and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA. She has been featured with a solo presentation at the Untitled, 12th Istanbul Biennial, 2011, and in group exhibitions at the Württembergischen Kunstverein, Düsseldorf, Germany; KUMU Art Museum in Tallinn, Estonia; Zachęta, The National Gallery of Art in Warsaw, Poland; City Art Gallery in Ljubljana, Slovenia; the New Art Gallery Walsall in Walsall, UK; the Bucharest Biennale 5 in Bucharest, Romania; Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago; Le Quartier Center for Contemporary Art in Quimper, France; NGBK in Berlin, Germany; Photographers’ Gallery in London; Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, UK; and FRAC Center for Contemporary Art in Dunkuerqe, France.
In the nineties, in Belgrade, Pavlović worked closely with the feminist pacifist group Women in Black. Vesna Pavlović is the recipient of the George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation grant in 2017, the City of Copenhagen Artist-in-Residence grant in 2011, and Contemporary Foundation for the Arts Emergency Grants in 2011 and 2014, and a 2012 Art Matters Foundation grant. Her work is included in major private and public art collections, the Phillips Collection, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Serbia, among others. Her work is represented by whitespace gallery in Atlanta, GA, G Fine Art in Washington DC, and Zeitgeist gallery in Nashville, TN.