MFA Annual - Where are they now?

Matthew Day Jackson, August 6th, 1945 (Dresden), 2010 | Burnt wood, lead on 2 wood panels, 96 x 123 3/4 inches. Courtesy Peter Blum Gallery, New York.

Not to toot our own horn, but there have been some pretty exceptional artists featured in the past editions of the MFA Annual competition of New American Paintings, many of whom have gone on to achieve significant international success. This month, with the 2010 MFA Annual Competition in full swing, we're revisiting some of the strongest  and most acclaimed artists to be featured in the MFA book, including Chris Ballantyne, William Cordova, Jim Gaylord, Matthew Day Jackson, Elisa Johns, Lisa Sanditz, Michael Scoggins, and Daniel Rich. (Toot toot.)

CURRENT MFA CANDIDATES: Apply online through October 31 for this year's competition, juried by Randi Hopkins, Associate Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA). And be sure to check out our recent interview with Randi to hear what she has to say about working with emerging artists.  —Evan J. Garza



Chris Ballantyne, Untitled, Neighborhood, (Tight-Knit), 2008 | Acrylic on paper, 80 x 60 inches

Featured in the 2002 MFA Annual while he earned his MFA in Painting and Drawing from the San Francisco Art InstituteChris Ballantyne was later included edition #67 of New American Paintings. Ballantyne's work casts an uneasiness around landscapes, using paintings, drawings, sculptures, and murals to make the natural seem beautifully unnatural. Since 2002, his work has been exhibited in several museums and public spaces, including the Walker Art Center, the Orange County Museum of Art, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Cheeckwood Museum of Art, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Phoenix Art Museum. Ballantyne was a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant recipient in 2005 and has shown with Peres Projects in L.A. and Berlin, Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston, DCKT Contemporary, New York, and several other galleries.



William Cordova, Tupac Katari, 2007 | Color paint chips mounded on paper, 87 x 85 inches

Included in the 2003 MFA Annual while earning his degree at Yale University, William Cordova was born in Lima, Peru, and his work has been exhibited a great deal internationally. Based in Miami and New York, Cordova was featured in the 2008 Whitney Biennial, and his work has been included in several renowned exhibitions including NeoHooDoo: Art For a Forgotten Faith, co-organized by The Menil Collection, Houston, and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City. He has been in residencies across the country for the last seven consecutive years, most recently as an artist-in-residence at Project Row Houses, Houston, where he curated the exhibition eco, xiang, echo: meditations on the african, andean & asian diasporas. Cordova was also recently the subject of the Spotlight feature in edition #86 of New American Paintings.



Jim Gaylord, Force Field, 2010 | Oil on canvas, 36 x 60 inches. Courtesy Jeff Bailey Gallery, New York.

Jim Gaylord was included in the 2006 MFA Annual, as well as editions #43 and #86 of New American Paintings. The Brooklyn-based artist earned his MFA from UC Berkeley in 2005, and was a Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant recipient the same year. Gaylord was a New York Foundation For the Arts Painting Fellow in 2008, and has enjoyed several important group shows across the country and internationally in the last several years. He is currently featured in Next Wave Art, a group show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), curated by Dan Cameron. Next year he will be an artist-in-residence at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY.



Matthew Day Jackson, Community Hall, 2008 | Scorched wood, formica, mother-of-pearl, abalone, analine dye, lacquer on panel, 96 x 84 inches. Courtesy Peter Blum Gallery, New York.

The work of Matthew Day Jackson has changed dramatically in the subsequent nine years since being featured in New American Paintings, largely focusing on sculptural installations, video, and technology-based media. He was featured in the 2001 MFA Annual of New American Paintings while in grad school at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Jackson's work was included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, and he was later featured in The Old, Weird America: Folk Themes in Contemporary Art at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, organized by Toby Kamps (the juror for NAP edition #90), winner of the prestigious award for “Best Thematic Museum Show Nationally” from the U.S. section of the International Art Critics Association (AICA/USA). Jackson is currently featured in two solo shows, The Tomb and In Search Of... at each of Peter Blum's two New York galleries, and will be featured in forthcoming solo exhibitions at MAMBO, Bologna, Italy, Gemeente Museum, Helm, Netherlands, and Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland.



Elisa Johns, Goldeneye | Oil on canvas, 44 x 48 inches. Courtesy Walker Contemporary, Boston.

Included in the 2004 MFA Annual and edition #74, Elisa Johns received her MFA from Claremont Graduate University. Marked by delicate compositions and fields of negative space, Johns's work has been exhibited widely in the last few years since being featured in New American Paintings. Born and based in Los Angeles, Johns has enjoyed solo exhibitions at Skew Gallery, Calgary, Canada, Mike Weiss Gallery, New York, Walker Contemporary, Boston, Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles, and participated in group exhibitions with Hangar 7, Salzburg, Austria, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, and several other spaces.



Lisa Sanditz, Tang Factory I, 2007-2008 | Acrylic on linen, 86 1/2 x 66 7/8 inches. Courtesy CRG Gallery, New York.

Featured in the 2001 MFA Annual while in grad school at the Pratt Institute, Lisa Sanditz is no stranger to New American Paintings. She was later included in editions #50, #74, and was the subject of a Spotlight feature in edition #87, the 2009 MFA Annual. Since earning her degree, Sanditz's work has made its way into the permanent collections of The Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, the Dallas Museum of Art, the St. Louis Art Museum, the Herbert Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, and several other institutions. The recipient of a prestigious  Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008, Sanditz used the award to travel to China, and much of her recent work makes as its subject the country's industrial cities and the items they produce.



Michael Scoggins, Happy New Year 2008, 2008 | Graphite, marker, prismacolor on paper | 67 x 51 inches. Courtesy Hilger Contemporary, Vienna, Austria.

It's been said that some artists spend a lifetime trying to make work like a child, but for Michael Scoggins, the artist has mastered the task. Included in the 2003 MFA Annual, as well as editions #58 and #70 of New American Paintings, he earned his MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Scoggins works on sheets of spiral bound notebook paper that appear bent or crumpled, complete with doodles and youthful scribble as if picked up off the floor of a classroom, but are in fact largely-scaled pieces. Scoggins is in the permanent collection of MoMA, New York, and in the last several years has enjoyed extensive solo exhibitions abroad, including shows at Galerie Jeanroch Dard, Paris, France, Seomi & Tuus Gallery, Seoul, Korea, and Hilger Contemporary, Vienna, Austria. Additionally, Scoggins was the subject of a Spotlight feature in edition #83 of New American Paintings.



Daniel Rich, Berlin Schonefeld, 2009 | Enamel on Dibond, 34 x 44 x 1.5 inches. Courtesy Horton Gallery, New York, Berlin.

Born in Ulm, Germany and based in Brooklyn, Daniel Rich was featured in the 2004 MFA Annual while studying at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA). Following his MFA and his participation in New American Paintings, Rich was a fellow at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME, and his work has been exhibited in several New York solo shows with Horton Gallery, Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, and Freight + Volume. Earlier this year Rich was awarded a Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Grant.

CURRENT MFA CANDIDATES: Apply online through October 31! Juror: Randi Hopkins, Associate Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA)


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