Life After the Prize: Bo Bartlett
If you were an artist, how would your life change with $10,000? For Bo Bartlett, this hypothetical became a reality in 2017 when he was named winner of the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art. Acclaimed for his large-scale paintings that explore modern American life and cultural heritage, contemporary artist Bo Bartlett follows the traditions of American Realists such as Thomas Eakins, Edward Hopper, and Andrew Wyeth. Just days after the opening of a major solo exhibition at the Gibbes, Jordan Sprueill, Associate Curator of Contemporary Initiatives and Visiting Artists, caught up with him to ask about his life and work after the prize.
The 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art awards $10,000 to an artist whose work contributes to a new understanding of art in the South. Presented annually, the prize recognizes the highest level of artistic achievement in any media. Artists from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia are eligible to apply. Applications are accepted exclusively through this website early Fall each year. Applications for 2022 are open until September 30, 2022, and you can learn more about that process here.
Earthly Matters presents a selection of Bartlett’s recent works that examine humankind’s impact on and interaction with nature’s elements. Bartlett’s subjects, both human and animal, find themselves in precarious environmental situations, either from their own doing or by forces beyond their control. Bartlett’s appreciation for the beauty of ordinary moments imbues his work with an underlying luminosity and frankness. His larger-than-life scenes break down the barriers between the subjects on canvas and the viewers, who are invited to contemplate their role in the narrative.
This exhibition is organized by the Gibbes Museum of Art and is supported by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, SeaFields at Kiawah, Lynch Cracraft Wealth Management of Raymond James, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Jane Smith Turner Foundation, and the Joseph J. Schott Foundation.
Posted September 20, 2022