ICA Announces Nine Foster Prize Finalists

The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston has announced nine finalists for its 2010 James and Audrey Foster Prize, the ICA's biennial award for Boston-area artists.

As finalists, the local artists are given the opportunity to have their work shown in an internationally known museum. The diverse group of sculptors, photographers, painters, filmmakers and illustrators will participate in an ICA exhibition that opens Sept. 22 and runs through Jan. 30, 2011.


The winner of the Foster Prize will be announced in January 2011, and the artist will receive a $25,000 financial award.

Matthew Rich is one of the finalists. He works with latex paint on cut paper to make multi-dimensional paintings. “I am extremely honored and very, very excited,” Rich said in an e-mail. “There are a lot of fantastic artists in Boston and I feel unbelievably lucky to have been chosen as one of the finalists for the 2010 Foster Prize.”

Rich went on to describe how and when he got the news that he’d been chosen. “I was teaching a drawing class at Northeastern University on Monday morning,” Rich wrote, “hammering home the compositional importance of negative space, when Randi Hopkins from the ICA left me a message.”

Of course, Rich said, he called Hopkins right back.

Randi Hopkins is the ICA’s associate curator and organized the 2010 Foster Prize program. This year more than 70 artists were nominated for the award, doubling the amount in years passed.

“The new format gives a great look at the breadth and the depth of current Boston art, and offers our audiences an expanded view of Boston’s vibrant art scene,” Hopkins said. “The new format also offers visibility to a greater number of local artists.”

In the past, some Boston-area artists have complained that the ICA doesn't do enough to support the local art community.

As it turns out, finalist Matthew Rich is no stranger to the ICA. Born and raised in the South End, his first job after college was as an art installer at the museum when it was at its old location on Boylston Street. “I was a part of a great crew that reconfigured the space and installed new artwork every six to eight weeks for about a year and a half,” Rich explained.

“On the job, I learned the hands-on physical reality of how a variety of artwork is installed and how successful engagement with and use of space, regardless of the type of media, is necessary to generate a compelling experience for the viewer," he went on. "These are lessons that still, to this day, directly impact my work.”

Rich said he’s surprised and delighted to return to the ICA 10 years later as an exhibiting artist.

The eight other Foster Prize finalists are Robert de St. Phalle, Eirik Johnson, Fred Liang, Rebecca Meyers, Matthew Rich, Daniela Rivera, Evelyn Rydz, Amie Siegel and Steve Tourlentes.

Profiles Of The 2010 Foster Prize 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.”

This program aired on January 27, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Andrea Shea Correspondent, Arts & Culture
Andrea Shea is a correspondent for WBUR's arts & culture reporter.



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