Nine visual artists named 2022 South Arts Fellows

Maladaptation Sits
Brittany M. Watkins
Year: 2021
Medium: Found & altered objects, vinyl & paint.
Size (h x w x d): 144″ x 192″ 120″
Provided photo. Click image to enlarge.

South Arts has named nine visual artists as 2022 State Fellows, part of the Southern Prize and State Fellowships program.

Each fellowship—one per state in the South Arts region—comes with a cash award of $5,000 and inclusion in an exhibition at the Bo Bartlett Center in Columbus, Georgia, from Sept. 2-Dec. 10, 2022, before touring to additional locations across the region. The Southern Prize and State Fellowships are adjudicated awards recognizing artistic excellence that reflects and represents the diversity of the region.

The State Fellows are also now in consideration for the two larger Southern Prize awards. One fellowship recipient will be named the Southern Prize winner receiving an additional $25,000 cash award, and another fellow will be named the Southern Prize Finalist receiving an additional $10,000; both Southern Prize recipients also receive a two-week residency at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences. The two winners will be named at the opening reception for the exhibition this fall.

The 2022 State Fellowship recipients are:

  • Jenny Fine. Multidisciplinary. New Brockton, Alabama.
  • GeoVanna Gonzalez. Multidisciplinary. Miami, Florida.
  • Antonio Darden. Sculpture. Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Crystal Gregory. Sculpture. Lexington, Kentucky.
  • Hannah Chalew. Mixed Media. New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Gloria Gipson Suggs. Painting. Holly Springs, Mississippi.
  • Marcus Dunn. Painting. Fayetteville, North Carolina.
  • Brittany M. Watkins. Mixed Media. Columbia, South Carolina.
  • Sarah Elizabeth Cornejo. Sculpture. Memphis, Tennessee.

“The 2022 State Fellows are a testament to the robust creativity across our region,” said Susie Surkamer, President and CEO of South Arts. “Each State Fellow speaks to what it means to be an artist who lives, works, and creates in the South. Through their work, we are exploring themes vital to our regional understanding, including climate change, cultural assimilation, self-identity, and police violence. South Arts is grateful to celebrate their vision with these awards.”


About the Southern Prize

Launched in 2017, the Southern Prize and State Fellowships acknowledge, support, and celebrate the highest quality art being created in the South. Approximately 600 artists applied for consideration this past fall and winter, and jurors reviewed each application to recommend the State Fellowship recipients. Another national panel of jurors will review the State Fellows to determine the Southern Prize winner and finalist, both of whom will be named at a reception this fall.

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 Southern Prize and State Fellowships program is made possible through the generous financial support of many donors.

To view work by the 2022 State Fellowship recipients, please visit southarts.org/southernprize. To learn more about South Arts’ grants, programs, and conferences, visit www.southarts.org.


About Brittany M. Watkins

Biography

Brittany M. Watkins (b.1989, Carrollton, GA) lives and works in Columbia, South Carolina. She earned her BFA from the University of West Georgia and an MFA from Florida State University (2016). Her work has been exhibited in international art fairs, museums, non-profit, and experimental spaces in North America, Iceland, Germany, Estonia, and the Philippines. Recently, this included Art Fair Philippines, 2022. Her site-specific installation “<Accept [(Self) + Elsewhere]” was awarded the Juried Panel Prize in ArtFields 2017 ($25,000), where she later erected a public art installation at TRAX Visual Art Center. Watkins has participated in residencies such as The Vermont Studio Center, Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences, and 701 Center for Contemporary Art. She is currently working on a large-scale installation for which she received an individual project grant from the South Carolina Arts Commission; this work will be displayed alongside a new series of paintings at Westobou Gallery in Augusta, Georgia beginning June 2022. Additionally, her work was selected for a public installation inside of a historic guardhouse in the Olympia and Granby Mill District of Columbia (summer 2022).

Artist statement

My art does not fit neatly into a box to be packaged, labeled, and mass-produced; it is something to be experienced and contemplated.

I examine contemporary society through a lens of psycho-analysis by deconstructing everyday objects, actions, and experiences. This work often emerges on-site, composed of found items, mined from the surrounding area. I arrive equipped with only a color and the edge of an idea to learn from each place, situated in time, among its history and present day. The result invites viewers to enter the artwork as if stepping into a painting. This reality is separate from ordinary life and traditional art-viewing.

Domestic imagery (home) serves as a metaphor for the mind, highlighting the social psyche as it relates place to the formation of identity. Emotional tendencies such as insecurity, dependence, and compulsion are present, as comforts of ordinary life, such as the couch or chair are personified. Object placement is crucial to my process, as this action exerts a need for control much like posturing the self in public space. Color is used to heighten mental awareness by evoking an emotional response. Feelings of nostalgia, flashes of past trauma, or a dreamlike state of déjà vu may occur. These installations are temporary; thus, placing attention on the present moment while confronting consumer culture. I implore viewer investigation and imagination to draw one’s own conclusions.


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. For more information, visit www.southarts.org.


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