The Nasher Sculpture Center has announced the winners of its 2023 Nasher Artist Grants, an annual program that supports North Texas artists.
Established in 2015, the Nasher Artist Grants provide $2,000 to each awardee to be used toward purchasing equipment and materials, travel or research, studio space, or artist-run curatorial projects. The grants are supported by the Leigh Rinearson and the Joe Hardt and Marie Park Family Fund.
This year’s recipients include Alisa Banks, Dan Jian, Felicia Jordan, Antonio Lechuga Jr., and Sarita Westrup. The winners were selected by a jury consisting of artists Kathryn Andrews, John Dickinson, Tina Medina, and Andrea Tosten, as well as Nasher Associate Curator Dr. Leigh Arnold and Curator of Education Anna Smith.
In a press release, Ms. Smith remarked, “It is heartening to see the range of projects that North Texas artists are working on, from those striving to bring light to critical issues, support their community through creative practice, or deepen their personal engagement with materials. The Nasher is proud to extend support and recognition to contemporary artists in our region.”
Learn more about each of the artists’ projects below via descriptions from the Nasher.
Alisa Banks plans to conduct a self-directed residency in printmaking, setting aside three months to experiment with techniques that will culminate in two new bodies of work. The first will be a series of monoprints and collages using the health education book It’s Perfectly Normal (1994) as a framework for exploring the rise in book bans and their effect on reproductive justice. The second will be a series of dimensional prints inspired by W.E.B. Dubois’s hand-drawn charts for The Exhibit of American Negros at the 1900 World’s Fair using an expanded color palette inspired by Amanda Williams’s photographic series Color(ed) Theory (2014-15).
Dan Jian will produce a stop-motion animation titled Shadow of the Rhizome using charcoal dust drawings. Ms. Jian’s repetitive and analog process serves as a generative act that runs counter to the nature of web-media-centric culture. Her visual vocabulary incorporates images such as topographies, airplanes, horses, and native Texas plants that will be personified to create a newly imagined story with humor and absurdity. Shadow of the Rhizome will utilize landscape to explore themes of navigating both physical and mental space and seeking a sense of belonging.
Felicia Jordan combines traditional and modern techniques to explore themes of trauma and healing. Based on the artist’s lived experiences as well as research on how Black people are treated when seeking medical care, Ms. Johnson is creating a series of quilted surfaces that share the narratives of Black women who have struggled to be heard when experiencing a health crisis. These artworks depict nameless figures overlayed with stitched, handwritten text meant to provoke a visceral and empathetic reaction to individual stories that might otherwise be lost among medical statistics.
Antonio Lechuga Jr.
Antonio Lechuga Jr. will create a large-scale visual marker of the severity and magnitude of the ongoing tragedy of gun violence in the U.S. As a survivor of a random shooting in 2022, Mr. Lechuga hopes to create an offering for the families of victims who were not so fortunate. For his project, titled Flowers for the Living, Lechuga will cut 647 flowers of differing shapes, colors, and sizes from large fleece cobijas (blankets) to create an expansive bouquet of flowers, each representing the family of a victim of gun violence in 2022. The cobija, a fixture in many homes, evoke a sense of security and comfort while offering to grieving families a bouquet that will never wilt or fade away.
Sarita Westrup creates sculptural basketry inspired by the Rio Grande Valley where she was born and raised. Ms. Westrup reimagines the harsh border line into meandering tunnels, archways, and portals while employing techniques and materials native to northern Mexico. These works translate the artist’s own intangible and internalized border experiences in abstracted forms, textures, and transparent layers. Ms. Westrup will use grant funds to support the production of new work and for transportation costs related to upcoming exhibitions in California, Virginia, and Australia that will allow her to share her perspective with audiences outside of the region.