Bethany Collins & Brendan Fernandes

In the first round of jurying, Ylinka Barotto, Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, New York; Ian Berry, Dayton Director of The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY; and Grace Deveney, Assistant Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago selected five Finalists: Bethany Collins, Assaf Evron, Brendan Fernandes, Caroline Kent, and Alice Tippit. Dr. Romi Crawford, Associate Professor of Visual and Critical Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, joined Deveney for the second round of evaluations. The jurors conducted studio visits with the five Finalists to determine the Awardees.

“Fernandes and Collins’ work, at this stage in their careers, compellingly communicates their talents, as well as their zeal for pushing the bounds of, and problematizing the reception of, the visual arts object, and in the case of Fernandes its very existence,” Crawford noted.

She continued: “Collins’ work stood out for her steady and ongoing pursuit of spare and minimal outcomes that emerge from an unexpectedly complex and fascinating set of researches into American culture. In addition, she revealed an evolving interest in performance and repetitive physical or bodily actions that implicate our connectivity to American history, especially its social hauntings and riddles. How such interests in form and content variously compete and smooth out, was persuasive.”

“While dance, or more specifically ballet, is an important ingredient in Fenrandes’s practice, bigger ideas also course through the project of his work. There is important risk taking involved in staging sculptural objects that beg for, and often need, the body and bodies to organize their full visual bearing and impact. We were taken by his ability to let go of the need for a consummate art work and instead attempt materializing what are ostensibly exploratory investigations of pertinent and timely subjects.”

Deveney added: “Bethany Collins’ labor intensive process of erasure that underpins her transformation of these sources creates a generative tension between the spare visual language she uses and the stakes of the questions her work raises about place, lineage and legacy as they relate to lived experience. Fernandes’ recent work invites viewers to participate in creating fleeting moments of public conviviality, elevating the simple gestures to strategies for navigating the current political moment and celebrations of the power of intimacy and being together.”

Artadia is thrilled to partner with Global Insurer, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, and the artist LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Foundation, Inc. for the two 2019 Chicago Artadia Awards. Both organizations have generously committed to supporting exceptional artists in Chicago, each with a named Award in the amount of $10,000. The 2019 Chicago Artadia Awards are additionally supported by individual donors across the country, Chicago Council members, and Artadia’s Board of Directors.

The LeRoy Neiman and Janet Byrne Neiman Artadia Award is presented to Bethany Collins. “LeRoy Neiman was passionate about nurturing talent at every stage of an artist’s career. [The foundation] was drawn to Artadia’s Chicago awards because of their reputation for rigor in the selection process, and feel that our first year of support is going to a very worthy cause in Bethany Collins. There is no doubt LeRoy would have found much affinity between Bethany’s practice and his own, thanks to her impressive printmaking techniques and her vibrant engagement with current events. We congratulate her and look forward to the next additions to her already impressive oeuvre.”

The Liberty Specialty Markets Artadia Award is presented to Brendan Fernandes. Robert Pittinger, Senior Vice President – Fine Art & Specie at Liberty Mutual Insurance said: “We are delighted that Brendan Fernandes is the recipient of Liberty Specialty Markets Artadia Award in their 20th Anniversary year.  We hope that the award will help this internationally recognized exciting dance and visual artist to flourish, achieve career growth and build further recognition of his creative, inspiring works. As a leading fine art insurer, we’re dedicated to protecting single works of art and collections, but it’s also important to us that we support the art community. The Artadia program, which helps artists to flourish in their local communities and beyond, fits with our philanthropic culture and our commitment to supporting the arts in our communities around the world.”

This is Artadia’s tenth Award cycle in Chicago providing unrestricted Awards to artists in the city. Applications for the Awards were open to any visual artist living in Chicago for over two years, working in all media, and at any stage of their career. Artadia is a national non-profit organization that supports artists with unrestricted, merit-based Awards followed by a lifetime of program opportunities. Artadia is unique in that it allows any artist to apply, engages nationally recognized artists and curators to review work, and culminates in direct grants. Since 1999, Artadia has awarded over $5 million to more than 330 artists in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.