Austin Artist Tammie Rubin Awarded $15,000 Tito’s Prize

by Jessica Fuentes April 1, 2022
A headshot of Tammie Rubin. The artist looks to the side with her head slightly tilted up. She maintains a serious glance and wears a blue and green patterned top and red earrings.

Tammie Rubin. Photo by Whitney Devin, courtesy of the artist

Big Medium and Tito’s Handmade Vodka have announced Tammie Rubin as the winner of the 2022 Tito’s Prize. As the winner, Ms. Rubin will receive a $15,000 award and a solo exhibition at the Big Medium Gallery.

The Tito’s Prize is awarded annually to one Austin-based artist with the intention of supporting local artists who are at a pivotal stage in their careers. Past winners include: Ariel René Jackson in collaboration with Michael J. Love, Betelhem Makonnen, Steve Parker, and Zack Ingram

In the press release announcing the award, Lisa Nuccio, the Texas/Oklahoma Field Sales Manager at Tito’s Handmade Vodka, stated, “In support of Big Medium’s mission, we’ve had the honor of elevating the Austin creative community through the Tito’s Prize. In its fifth year, we are thrilled to announce this year’s Tito’s Prize winner will showcase their work on an even larger scale in the Spring of 2023, and we look forward to amplifying more local artists in the years to come.” 

Ms. Rubin was chosen by a panel that included Allison Glenn (writer and independent curator), Elyse Gonzales (Director of Ruby City Museum in San Antonio), and Coka Treviño (Curator and Director of Programming at Big Medium). Born in Chicago, Ms. Rubin currently lives in Austin, where she is an Associate Professor of Ceramics & Sculpture at St. Edward’s University. Earlier this year, Ms. Rubin was one of three artists selected for ClayHouston’s inaugural Award for Texas BIPOC Ceramic Artists

Ms. Rubin stated, “What an honor being awarded the 2022 Tito’s Prize. I’m genuinely grateful for the selection and animated by the support and expansion this award will provide. My sculptural practice is dependent on tools, space, and equipment, this financial support is tremendous in that regard.”

She continued, “I look forward to experimenting and creating new work for the exhibition at Big Medium Gallery. It is a space I know well and I wish to use as a laboratory, a place of conversation, development, and possible collaboration. Thank you to Tito’s Handmade Vodka, this year’s panel, and Big Medium.” 

Ms. Rubin’s solo exhibition will debut in March 2023. Learn more about the artist below, from the bio provided by Big Medium.

An photograph of a large installation work by Tammie Rubin. The work features a large fishing net hanging from the ceiling with small white and orange stake flags hanging upside-down from the net. In the fore is a bright blue abstract resin object.

Tammie Rubin, “I, Too, Am,” stake flags, foam, resin, pigmented porcelain, steel wool, fishing net

A photograph of an assortment of blue cones and cone-like objects set on a table. The objects, of varying sizes, each have a pair of circles or ovals removed from them so that they resemble a mask or something that would be worn on the head to cover the face.

Tammie Rubin, “Always & Forever (forever ever ever) No. 2,” slipcast & handbuilt porcelain, underglaze, pigmented clay

Tammie Rubin is an artist whose sculptural practice considers the intrinsic power of objects as signifiers, wishful contraptions, and mythic relics while investigating the tension between the readymade and the handcrafted. Using intricate motifs, Rubin delves into themes involving ritual, domestic and liturgical objects, mapping, migration, magical thinking, longing, and identity. Her installations open up dream-like spaces of unexpected associations and dislocations.  

Rubin received a BFA in both Ceramics and Art History from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and an MFA in Ceramics at the University of Washington in Seattle. 

Rubin has exhibited widely, selections include Project Row Houses, Houston, TX., the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY., George Washington Carver Museum, Austin, TX., Mulvane Art Museum, KS., Indianapolis Art Center, Indianapolis, IN.,

The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, TX., Women & Their Work Gallery, Austin, TX., and C24 Gallery, New York, NY. She’s represented by Galleri Urbane, Dallas, TX., & Rivalry Projects, Buffalo, NY. 

Rubin’s artwork has received reviews in online and print publications such as Artforum, Art in America, Glasstire, Austin American- Statesman, Austin Chronicle, Sightlines, fields, Conflict of Interest, Arts and Culture Texas, Ceramics: Art & Perception, and Ceramics Monthly. She founded Black Mountain Project along with fellow Austin-based artists Adrian Aguilera and Betelhem Makonnen, and she is a member of ICOSA Collective, a non-profit cooperative gallery.

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