AUSTIN, TX.- The Board of Directors of Arthouse at the Jones Center in Austin, Texas announced today the four finalists for the first-ever biannual $30,000 Arthouse Texas Prize. Eileen Maxson, Robyn ONeil, Robert A. Pruitt, and Ludwig Schwarz were chosen from 129 nominations offered by a select group of art world professionals. The prize, which recognizes innovation, talent and marked contribution to a thriving Texan art scene, will promote and celebrate a Texas-based artist who has produced a significant body of work in the past two years. Eligible artists must have lived in Texas for the past three years. Artists could not have had a solo show at a major museum in the past three years. The Arthouse Texas Prize is the largest regional award in the U.S.
The winner of the prize will be announced at Arthouses annual gala on November 4th, 2005, following an exhibition at Arthouse, which will feature the work of the four finalists. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog with background information on the artists careers and work. Arthouses Adjunct Curator, Regine Basha, will be curating the exhibition, and is also coordinating the catalog. The catalog will contain essays and images documenting the work of the four finalists. The prize and exhibition represents a significant opportunity to bring attention to Texas rapidly growing art scene.
The Finalists - Eileen Maxson is a Houston-based video/installation artist whose works challenge viewers perceptions of the media. Her videos are often presented in the context of accompanying installations that play with presentational perspectives. She has shown her work throughout Texas as well as in film festivals in California, Chicago, New York, Portland and Toronto.
Robyn ONeil is a Houston-based artist who creates curious graphite drawings of vaguely alpine landscapes inhabited by diminutive wildlife and middle-aged men. Her work addresses contemporary alienation and random violence. She has participated in a number of exhibitions including solo shows at Inman Gallery, Houston and Clementine Gallery, New York as well as a group show at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and the 2004 Whitney Biennial.
Robert A. Pruitt is a Houston-based artist that combines the influences of a formal arts education with the pedestrian aesthetics of African-American communities. He received his M.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003 and also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Pruitt recently has had solo shows at Clementine Gallery, New York and the Galveston Art Center, Texas and has been included in exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston and the Dallas Museum of Art.
Ludwig Schwarz is a Dallas-based artist who works in a variety of mediums including sculpture, painting and video. His most recent body of work investigates the machinery of capitalism by presenting paintings done in editions by contracted laborers in China. Schwarz received his M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts, New York and has had solo exhibitions at Angstrom Gallery, Dallas. He has also participated in group exhibitions in Boston, Chicago, New York, England, and Germany.
The Jury - The jury, chaired by Arthouses Executive Director, Sue Graze, includes James Elaine, Curator, Hammer Projects, UCLA Hammer Museum of Art; Vernon Fisher, artist, Fort Worth; Dave Hickey, independent art critic and curator based in Long Beach and Las Vegas; Kathryn Kanjo, Executive Director, ArtPace, San Antonio; Shamim M. Momin, Associate Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art, Branch Director and Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York; Valerie Cassel Oliver, Associate Curator, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston.
Texas Prize Founders - The prize is being generously supported by Deborah Green, Johnna and Stephen Jones, Chris Mattsson and John McHale, Mecom/Mullins Family, Mary and Chris Ozburn, Julie and John Thornton, Ed Vaughan, Mary and Howard Yancy, Austin Ventures, the Alice Kleberg Reynolds Foundation and the Still Water Foundation.