VOTE NOW! The Inaugural New American Paintings Annual Prize: Reader's Choice Poll

New American Paintings Annual Prize: Reader's Choice
For the first time in the 17 year history of the publication, we're asking our readers who they think deserves some attention. We're pleased to present the New American Paintings Annual Prize, including two components: a cash prize of $1,000 awarded to one Noteworthy artist featured this year, determined by a panel of seasoned curators, and a $500 gift certificate sponsored by BLICK Art Materials, with the winner decided by YOU, our reader! Take a look at all 12 of this year's Noteworthy artists below and VOTE NOW!

Voting is open through January 7. The winner of the Reader's Choice will be announced on Monday, January 17, and the winner of the Annual Prize will be announced Monday, January 31.


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Matthew Bourbon

Matthew Bourbon, For Your Own Good | Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 72 inches

The compositions of Matthew Bourbon are filled with so many visual points of entry that it's no surprise that the artist isn't concerned with a single way of looking at things. Featured as a Noteworthy artist for edition #90, Bourbon uses narrative painting to think about multifaceted nature of storytelling, using fragmented and tonal spectrums to examine the nuances of human behavior. His half-abstract, half-representational images blend both the painting and the subject matter into one.

Joseph Cohen

Joseph Cohen, Proposition 138 | Reclaimed latex on walnut, 54 x 39 x 2 inches

Aligned with the Concrete painters that precede him, Joseph Cohen, featured in edition #90, is highly concerned with the fundamental elements of painting: color, form, and light. Made from used and discarded supplies returned to home improvement stores, Cohen's works are less concerned with chromatic nature of the painting and rely more on the physical properties of paint itself. Like Robert Ryman, and artists like Joseph Marioni, Cohen's works are unconcerned with picture-making and instead focus on the inherent characteristics (and possibilities) of paint itself.

Megan Dirks

Megan Dirks, Glass House Seamount | Oil on canvas, 72 x 96 inches

Featured in this year's MFA Annual competition, edition #87, while an MFA candidate at the University of Iowa, Megan Dirks' work conflates notions of space with ideas of physical and implied limitations. Her abstractions, which pair seemingly vast environments with architectural structures, reflect an interest in the functions of the mind, the limits of the imagination, and the limitations of a creative practice that has endless possibilities.

Jim Gaylord

Jim Gaylord, Particulated Bronco | Gouache on paper, 26.5 x 40.25 inches

Featured in editions #43, #86, and the 2006 MFA Annual, Jim Gaylord makes work that moves. His abstracted forms are pulled from film stills, with colorful shapes and scenes skewed by painted flashes of movement, and his compositions hum with forms that refuse to settle into a single place. Constantly in flux between figuration and abstraction, Gaylord's work evokes a great deal of action, aided in part by using still frames from action movies.

Vera Iliatova

Vera Iliatova, Excursion | Oil on canvas, 42 x 36 inches

The work of Vera Iliatova, also featured in edition #86, borrows stylistically from the past to create a new conversation about contemporary painting and the history of the medium itself. Depicted within landscapes that are wholeheartedly real and really artificial, Iliatova's mysterious female subjects float in and out of her compositions like hanging memories; their poses taken from glossy magazines, film stills, and art history, effectively broadening an already engaging dialogue about current and historicized roles of women.

Annie Lapin

Annie Lapin, The Ssion | Oil on linen, 50 x 54 inches

Featured in the forthcoming edition #91, released this month, Annie Lapin straddles the line between figuration and abstraction in her work, conflating environmental scenes with rich painterly effects akin to the Abstract Expressionists. Lapin's works never quite settle into a single thing, be it a form, a gesture, or even a color, constantly moving and taking new shape. Tiny fragments of a recognizable world emerge and recede, like fluid waves of representation and destruction, wrestling with meaning and the lack thereof at every possible turn.

Mike Nudelman

Mike Nudelman, It Doesn't Get Much Better Than This 8 (After F.E.C. Again) | Ballpoint pen on paper, 26 x 40 inches

Art has always been informed by that which preceded it, as is the case with the work of Mike Nudelman, whose rich, detailed compositions—made entirely with ballpoint pen—mimic mechanical and digital printing methods and reference generations of artists before him. Drawing from reproductions of pre-existing landscape paintings from the likes of Thomas Kinkade and others, and featured in edition #89, Nudelman's works are both an original and a copy, a remarkable conceptual framework that yields exciting results.

Matthew Penkala

Matthew Penkala, Incomprehensible | Acrylic on canvas stretched panel, 60 x 60 inches

Featured in this month's soon-t0-be-released edition, #91, Matthew Penkala creates works that are both highly reductive and highly interactive. Like Color Field paintings creeping slowly towards abstraction, Penkala's works use the relationships of geometric forms to explore the physical space of his compositions. Each work presents a new chromatic sensation, as if the pigment here could convey a mood, capturing and dispersing light and color like the lens of a camera.

Chris Scarborough

Chris Scarborough, Untitled (Orbital Debris) | Graphite and watercolor on paper, 19 x 15 inches

Featured in editions #34, #46, #76, and #88, the work of Chris Scarborough is explosive. A 'big bang' scatters itself evenly across Scarborough's practice, with compositional elements made up of several references—from art history to science fiction and real life—energetically bursting out from various figures like people and animals. Scarborough's work gives physical, visual form to the cultural amalgamation of today's global society; boundaries are both destroyed and remade in the same instant in his works, making for new cultural hybrids and new ways of thinking.

Ellen Siebers

Ellen Siebers, Christmas with the Voeglers | Oil on canvas, 48 x 39 inches

Ellen Siebers' work is a study of the varied and often complex relationships that exist between man, living things, and nature itself. Featured this year's MFA Annual, edition #87, Siebers' recent work explores the hidden narratives behind human subjects in both natural and man-made environments, with figures referencing explorers that the artist discovered while reading biographical accounts of the human and natural world colliding. In this way, Siebers herself is an explorer, revealing intimate dialogues about her own history with living things and those around her.

Amy Sherald

Amy Sherald, Well Prepared and Maladjusted | Oil on canvas, 54 x 43 inches

Featured in edition #88, Amy Sherald's work began as an exploration of the artist's identity as an African-American woman, however her paintings speak just as much to the human condition as they do to her ethnic heritage. Each of Sherald's figures, cast into a vibrating backgrounds of painterly effects, engages the viewer head on, very much in the same way that the artist uses portraiture to investigate both the human condition and Sherald's ideas of "blackness."

Bart Vargas

Bart Vargas, Paroxysm | Acrylic paint, epoxy resin on panel, 32 x 32 inches

The acrylic and resin on panel paintings of Bart Vargas explore fantastic geometric vortexes that expand outward in color and shape. Included in edition #89, Vargas's works are vividly colorful, the materials used lend the paintings a highly sculptural quality. By freeing himself of the canvas and relying on panel, each work is more easily broken apart, sometimes literally in the form of several parts, with each fragment both reorienting the collective image and distorting at the same time.

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