This year’s OPEN (C)ALL: TRUTH exhibition featured the work of over 125 artists from BRIC’s Contemporary Artist Registry, each responding to the question “What is real and true for you?” The work exhibited explored the current political climate and social issues, interior realities, and truth within the spiritual and psychological dimensions of life.
From this exhibition, two awardees emerged - a "Viewer's Choice" winner, determined through votes by the public; and a "Best in Show" winner, determined by members of BRIC's Contemporary Art staff and select past exhibition artists. Roughly 350 individuals cast their vote for the artist they felt should be awarded the “Viewer’s Choice” prize.
We are proud to announce the following winners:
VIEWER’S CHOICE AWARD:
The Magdalena Series: The Truth Hurts, 2016
20 x 30" photographic print
The Magdalena Series is a collaborative effort between Artistic Director and dancer, Oneika Phillips and photographer, James Petrozzello. The work came about after a discussion about police violence and the impact of violent imagery and prejudice on communities of color. The duo collaborated, using dance and photography to facilitate conversations focusing on transforming race relations, the representation of people of color in art and the power of art to heal and re-write history, gaining a voice through art at a time when they felt voiceless and powerless.
Their artist statement reads, “The truth is we hurt. The truth is we cry. The truth is we break. When communities of color are relentlessly subjected to violence, psychological oppression and marginalization, the impact is insidious and ruinous to our homes, our families, our communities and our minds. When this truth is denied, brushed over with the insistence and expectation we "be strong" and "get over it", it negates real restorative healing. Giving grief a narrative through photography allows us to hold up a mirror to this hard reality: we crack and we break. Acknowledging this creates the space for vulnerability, for conversation, for healing and recovery.”
Petrozello and Phillips will be awarded $250 and a profile of their practice on the BRIC Blog.
BEST IN SHOW AWARD:
Untitled #19, Magnificent Mile, IL, 2016
24 x 30” digital archival print
Untitled #19, Magnificent Mile, IL is part of artist Jon Henry’s Stranger Fruit series, which was created in response to the senseless murders of black men across the nation by police violence. The artist writes, “Even with smart phones and dash cams recording the actions, more lives get cut short due to unnecessary and excessive violence. Who is next? Me? My brother? My friends? How do we protect these men? Lost in the furor of media coverage, lawsuits and protests, is the plight of the mother, who, regardless of the legal outcome, must carry on without her child.” Henry set out to photograph mothers with their sons, in an environment familiar to them, acting out what it must feel like to endure this kind of pain, many in a pose that channels a modern day pieta. Although the mothers in Henry’s photographs have not lost their sons, they understand the reality – that this could happen to their family at any time, and so they are photographed in isolation, reflecting on the idea of this absence.
The title of Henry’s project is a reference to the song Strange Fruit. Instead of black bodies hanging from the Poplar Tree, these fruits of our families, our communities, are being killed in the street.
Jon Henry will be awarded $250 and will have a solo exhibition of his work at BRIC House sometime next year.
For more information on our OPEN (C)ALL exhibitions, which take place every other year, visit our website.