by Joanna Nixon
Over the past nine years, I have had the opportunity to work with 40 incredible Midwest visual artists who were selected to each receive a prestigious Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship. The Fellowship, started by Jeremy Efroymson, is intended to recognize talented visual artists but also to provide significant financial support that gives artists the flexibility to create. Since the fellowship program was established, $825,000 has been awarded to individual artists and what makes the fellowship so unique is that not only is the award unrestricted in how it can be used but also the size of the award. Up until 2013 each Fellows received $20,000 and in 2013, the recently announced Fellows each received $25,000. Working closely with so many visual artists over the years, I have seen firsthand the impact that this type of support and opportunity can have on an artist personally and professionally.
Each Efroymson Fellow has approached their experience differently and had their own unique plan and regardless of their path, a majority of the Fellows have accomplished some pretty great things in the contemporary art world. The Efroymson Fellows make up a special cohort of artists who have been selected for public art commissions, exhibited in major museums, have received invitations to international art festivals and competitions and have had their work acquired for permanent collections nationally and internationally.
While each of the Efroymson Fellows has been impressive in their own way, there were several artists that have stood out to me over the years, below are just a few of them:
Quesenberry (2008 Fellow):
Letitia is a Louisville artist who has gained attention because of her unique artistic style. Her fellowship inspired her to experiment with her artistic process and create a new body of work on aluminum using an innovative technique. The series she created with her Fellowship titled Peeled, includes 60 aluminum panels created using Polaroid shots that she took apart and submitted to a process she calls "dye sublimation". The "Peeled" series actually happens to be my favorite of her works because the unique use of aluminum as her primary medium.
Arthur Liou (2010 Fellow):
Arthur is a Bloomington, Indiana installation artist who creates mesmerizing high definition videos that are inspired from nature, the human body or food. One of the more unique slow motion videos is Elements which has an incorporated musical layer composed specifically for the video which enhances the mystique of the work. If you are traveling to Grand Rapid for ArtPrize this Fall, you will have an opportunity to experience one of Arthur's video installations in person.
Carbonneau (2011 Fellow):
Tiffany is another Louisville based artist who does large scale outdoor video projections. I find her video work unique because it's rare to see video projections at the scale of her work especially in outdoor spaces. One of my favorite works by Tiffany includes a large outdoor video projection that that she created on the side of a building for the 2012 Light Move Festival in Poland.
Roy Stabb (2013 Fellow):
Roy is a Wisconsin artist who uses the outdoors and nature as the inspiration for this work and makes large scale environmental site specific installations using natural materials. These temporary installations while incredibly elaborate and time consuming to create, eventually devolve back into the landscape, seashore, wetland, or forest. While there are a number of contemporary artists who use the environment as their medium, there is something special about the delicate and very temporary nature of Roy's work.
Where to Find the Efroymson Fellows in Indianapolis
In addition to getting national and international attention, the Efroymson Fellows have also made significant contributions to the Indianapolis art scene and our public spaces. There are several locations where you can currently see the work of past Efroymson Fellows throughout Indianapolis and stayed tuned to see the work of several additional Efroymson Fellows at the new Eskenazi Health when it opens Fall 2013.
Indianapolis Public Art (various locations)
·Greg Hull- Outdoor installation at the Indianapolis Art Center
·Eric Nordgulen - Sculpture at University of Indianapolis
·Brian Priest - Light box installation at the intersection of College, St. Clair and Mass Ave
·Artur Silva - Vinyl Mural at Illinois and South Streets
·Tom Torluemke - Murals at Capitol and South Streets and in the interior of the Indianapolis Central Library
The Alexander Hotel | 333 N. Delaware
·Lucinda Devlin - Photography on the 1st floor
·Brian McCutcheon - Photography on the 1st floor
·Artur Silva - Mural on the 6th Floor
The Indianapolis Airport
·Brian McCutcheon - Outdoor sculpture north garden
·Greg Hull- Parking Garage
·Tom Torluemke - Concourse A and B Terrazzo Floor
Indianapolis Cultural Trail
·Stuart Hyatt - Installation near Alabama and North Street
·Jamie Pawlus - Installation near Mass Avenue and St. Clair
While each of the Efroymson Fellows had demonstrated talent and ability when they received the award, there is no question that receiving a significant unrestricted fellowship instills a level of confidence in an artist that give an artist an opportunity to think big, experiment and push the limits of creativity.
You can go here to learn more about the 40 Efroymson Contemporary Art Fellows and see more images of their work.