Artadia is pleased to announce the Awardees for the 2016 San Francisco Artadia Awards: Josh Faught and Ruth Laskey (James D. Phelan Awardee). The 2016 San Francisco Artadia Awardees will receive $10,000 in unrestricted funds as well as access to the ongoing benefits of the Artadia Awards program. The Awardees are also eligible for the inaugural National Artadia Award to be presented at the end of 2016. This is Artadia’s ninth year providing unrestricted Awards to artists in San Francisco. Applications for the Awards were open to any visual artist living in the San Francisco Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo, for over two years, working in all media and at any stage of their career.

In the first round of evaluations, Jenny Gheith, Assistant Curator of Sculpture and Painting, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Lauren Haynes, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Brian Sholis, Curator of Photography, Cincinnati Art Museum selected five finalists from 490 submissions. Ceci Moss, Independent Curator, San Francisco, CA, joined Gheith for the second round of evaluations. The jurors conducted studio visits with each of the five finalists to determine the Awardees.

Gheith observed that Faught and Laskey are part of an important arts tradition in San Francisco, stating: “For a place like San Francisco that has a rich history in craft and textiles, it’s perhaps not surprising that both Artadia awardees use a loom, albeit for very different purposes and results.” She noted the unique ways in which Faught engages with the medium: “Josh Faught’s work is steeped in the histories of the medium and represents a space for urgent self-expression and political agency. The seriousness by which he address both banal sentiment and collective calls to action is remarkable, and so very much his own.” Moss elaborated on the materials and themes present in Faught’s work: “Josh Faught is a singular artist, whose work isn’t easily catergorizable. Combing handmade textiles, archival research, pop cultural detritus, and sculptural concerns, he addresses how language establishes community and connection. Attentive to the importance of signal and disguise in queer history, his quirky, clever and impressive tapestries play with what we know, or assume we know.”

Gheith and Moss cited the influence of painting on Laskey’s process. Moss said of the artist: “I would classify Ruth Laskey as a painter by other means. During our visit, I was struck by her methodical approach to her practice, and particularly how she’s developed her unique process over time, which involves weaving hand dyed thread on a loom to create graphic forms. Her composition process is meticulous, from diagrammed sketches to the final cut cloth. From our conversation, it sounds like she’s contemplating a move to more complex forms and I look forward to seeing her next stage.” Gheith echoed this sentiment, stating: “For Laskey, who approaches weaving as a painter, it has allowed her to integrate both the figure and ground, support and composition, into one seamless structure. It was terrific to see the complexity by which she embeds geometric forms through a distinctive use of the twill weave. The possibilities for her are endless.”

Artadia’s Awards and cultural programs in San Francisco are made possible with the support of the San Francisco Foundation, the Fleishhacker Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Artadia’s Board of Directors, Council members, and many generous individuals throughout the United States. To honor the generous gift of the San Francisco Foundation Ruth Laskey was named James D. Phelan Awardee.

Image: Left to right: Josh Faught, Attachments, 2016; Ruth Laskey, Twill Series (Wasabi/Wedgewood Blue), 2016