The Gibbes Museum of Art has announced the 2018 finalists for the Society 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art. The five artists selected for the short list are:
• María Magdalena Campos-Pons (Nashville, Tenn.)
• Stephen Hayes (Atlanta, Ga.)
• Birney Imes (Columbus, Miss.)
• Leo Twiggs (Orangeburg, S.C.)
• Susan Worsham (Richmond, Va.)
Each year, the 1858 Prize is presented by Society 1858, a member auxiliary group of the Gibbes Museum of Art comprised of young professionals. The $10,000 cash prize is awarded to one artist whose work demonstrates the highest level of artistic achievement in any media, while contributing to a new understanding of art in the South. This year, more than 250 artists across the South submitted applications.
The winner will be announced in August, and celebrated on September 19 at the Amy P. Coy Forum and Prize Party hosted by Society 1858 at the Gibbes Museum. The Amy P. Coy Forum brings together artists and experts for a conversation about the impact of contemporary art in the South, followed by a reception celebrating the 2018 winner of the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art.
A native of Cuba, María Magdalena Campos-Pons’s artistic practice combines diverse media including photography, performance, painting, sculpture, film, and video. Her work is autobiographical, investigating themes of history, memory, gender, and religion and how they inform identity. Through deeply poetic and haunting imagery, Campos-Pons evokes stories of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, indigo and sugar plantations, Catholic and Santeria religious practices, and revolutionary uprisings. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Professor in the Studio Art Department at Vanderbilt University.
Stephen Hayes explores the history of race relations in America through a variety of media, including sculpture, fiber, video, blacksmithing, and installation work. He employs symbolic imagery to represent the physical and mental damage rendered by the psychology of racism. A native of Durham, North Carolina, Hayes received his Bachelor of Arts degree from North Carolina Central University in 2006 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2010.
For more than 30 years, photographer Birney Imes has captured the people, places, and culture of his native Mississippi. Working in both black and white and color, Imes’s photographs take viewers inside juke joints and dilapidated restaurants scattered across the Southern landscape. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Art Institute of Chicago, La Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, and many public and private collections in the United States and abroad.
A native of St. Stephen, South Carolina, Leo Twiggs works in batik, a wax-resist method of dying textiles. Much of his work explores family history, cultural heritage, and how the past is manifest in contemporary life. His series titled Requiem for Mother Emanuel recently traveled throughout the southeast, earning acclaim as a powerful tribute to the nine church members slain during the horrific shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
Photographer Susan Worsham was born in Richmond, Virginia. Her recent work focuses on her family, particularly the death of her parents and the suicide of her brother after he severed his spinal cord in a motorcycle accident. Worsham’s photographs capture her relationship with her neighbor, Margaret, who was the last person to see her brother alive. Worsham has received numerous awards and exhibited throughout the world, including several one-person exhibitions.