Mixed-media sculptor and installation artist Bernardo Vallarino has won the Meadows Museums’ 2020 Moss/Chumley North Texas Artist Award. The $2,500 cash prize is given annually “to an outstanding North Texas artist who has exhibited professionally for at least ten years and has established a proven track record as a community advocate for the visual arts.”
Vallarino’s work explores themes of human suffering, social injustice, and geopolitical conflicts, and seeks to engage his audience visually, morally and philosophically. His presence in the North Texas art arena includes acting as coordinator of the Fort Worth Art Collective; serving on the board of directors at Art Room, a Fort Worth nonprofit; serving as board member and gallery programming chair for Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center for the Arts, a venue for Latino art and cultural performances in Fort Worth; and membership in Nuestro Kimbell, a group of Latino civic and community leaders.
Past recipients of the Moss/Chumley include Carolyn Sortor, Giovanni Valderas, Sedrick Huckaby, Annette Lawrence, Darryl Lauster, Christopher Blay, Stephen Lapthisophon, Frances Bagley, Isabelle du Toit, Juliette McCullough, David McCullough, Noah Simblist, Catherine Chauvin, Ludwig Schwarz, Janet Tyson, David Dreyer, Marie Van Arsdale, Sherry Owens, Kaleta Doolin, David Hickman, Tracy Hicks, Mary Vernon, Marilyn Waligore, Susan Kae Grant, and Bob Nunn.
Says Vallarino: “It is part of the human experience to avoid pain and humanity prefers to ignore painful truths rather than to confront them. As an artist addressing social issues, I feel a responsibility to create artworks that evoke questions with respect to our own behaviors towards others. I am thrilled and extremely grateful to have been chosen for this honor; recognitions like the Moss/Chumley Award by esteemed institutions such as the Meadows Museum help artists, like myself, validate our trajectories and strengthen the content and message of our work.”
Carolyn Sortor, recent past winner of the award and a member of this year’s award jury, says: “Vallarino’s work successfully integrates urgent sociopolitical concerns with beautiful and moving aesthetic forms. His works evince sensitivity, complexity, and depth, and I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to help bring more attention to his work.”
The jury for the 2020 Moss/Chumley Award included Sortor, as well as: Shelley DeMaria, Meadows Museum Curatorial Assistant (and jury Chair); Leigh Arnold, Nasher Sculpture Center’s Associate Curator; Anne Lenhart, Collections Manager of the Meadows Museum; and David Sedman, Interim Chair of the art department, Associate Professor of Film and Media Arts, and Associate Dean of the Meadows School of the Arts, SMU.
“We found Vallarino’s work aesthetically and conceptually impactful and were impressed by the manner in which he addresses relevant and pressing social issues with quietly powerful visuals that draw viewers in, facilitating careful consideration and meaningful conversations,” states DeMaria.
Vallarino’s list of exhibitions include shows at the Amarillo Museum of Art, the Dishman Art Museum and Gallery at Lamar University, Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Fort Worth’s Artspace111, and the Arlington Museum of Art, to name a few.
Vallarino holds a B.F.A. in sculpture from Texas Christian University and an M.F.A. in the same field from Texas Woman’s University.
For more on the Moss Chumley Award, please visit the Meadows Museum website here.
The Moss/Chumley Memorial Fund was created in 1989 by Frank Moss and the Meadows Museum as a tribute to Jim Chumley; Moss’s name was added to the fund upon his death in 1991. Moss and Chumley were two Dallas art dealers who made outstanding contributions to the visual arts in North Texas during the 1980s. The pair operated the Nimbus Gallery on Routh Street from 1980 to 1987 and the Moss/Chumley Gallery at the Crescent Court from 1986 to 1989, where they showcased numerous new artists.
Established in 1995, the Moss/Chumley Artist Award is given in their memory. The award—which carries a cash prize of $2,500—is open to artists working in any medium who live in one of the eleven North Texas counties: Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, and Wise.