Anna Gray & Ryan Wilson Paulsen
  • Anna Gray & Ryan Wilson Paulsen
Who are the most exciting freaking artists on the brink of greatness around here? The Henry Art Gallery's shortlist answer has just been announced—finalists for the biennial Brink Award ($12,500 and a show at the Henry) are: Grant Barnhart (Seattle), Debra Baxter (Seattle), Dawn Cerny (Seattle), Andrew Dadson (Vancouver, BC), Tannaz Farsi (Eugene, OR), Allison Hrabluik (Vancouver, BC), and artist team Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson Paulsen (Portland, OR). Winner will be announced April 22.

You know Barnhart's cool, cocky paintings; he's shown at Ambach & Rice here and here.

Debra Baxter's sexy, gorgeous, disco sculptures involve throats, clouds, and brass knuckles, seen at Howard House.

Dawn Cerny is a mixmaster of hilarity and panic, whose prints and installations have appeared at the Henry and Gallery4Culture.

Andrew Dadson? Think black squares—the giant one spraypainted on the lawn of the Olympic Sculpture Park last summer. Or Iraqi voter ink. He's shown at Lawrimore Project.

Tannaz Farsi's gleaming fluorescent-text homage to the squashed Iranian revolutions of summer 2009 showed at OHGE Ltd. that year (interview with the artist here).

Allison Hrabluik has shown in Europe and, in Vancouver, at Western Front and the Contemporary Art Gallery. Here is a link to an upcoming show—and here is a project that's both endearing and creepy.

Anna Gray & Ryan Wilson Paulsen
  • Anna Gray & Ryan Wilson Paulsen
Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson Paulsen had a handful of works in last year's TXT show at James Harris Gallery. (I like this.) They've shown at PDX Contemporary.

In 2009, the winner was Isabelle Pauwels of Vancouver, B.C., whose video and installation involved a tense exploration of her family's colonial past in the Congo. Full press release on the jump.

March 15, 2011
The Henry Art Gallery announces the short list of finalists for The Brink.
Winner will be announced Friday, April 22, 2011, at 7PM.

The Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington is delighted to announce the short list of candidates for The Brink, an award for emerging artists in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. The 2011 finalists are Grant Barnhart (Seattle, WA), Debra Baxter (Seattle, WA), Dawn Cerny (Seattle, WA), Andrew Dadson (Vancouver, BC), Tannaz Farsi (Eugene, OR), Allison Hrabluik (Vancouver, BC), and artist team Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson Paulsen (Portland, OR).

This new award is now in its second biennial cycle, following 2009’s winner, Isabelle Pauwels (Vancouver, BC.) The selection committee will conduct studio visits with the eight artists in late March and early April.

In partnership with long-time Henry Art Gallery benefactors and Seattle art supporters John and Shari Behnke, the Henry confers this biennial prize of $12,500 to one of these artists, all of whom are at the beginning stages of a promising professional career. The recipient will also be given a solo exhibition at the Henry, and a work of his or her art will be acquired for the museum’s permanent collection. The winner of The Brink will be announced Friday, April 22, 2011, at 7PM.

The selection committee completed the review of artists’ submissions in early March. For this year’s award, 62 nominations were received from art professionals across the Pacific Northwest. Of those nominated, 43 artists submitted materials for consideration. The 2011 selection committee is Henry director Sylvia Wolf and curators Elizabeth Brown and Sara Krajewski; Seattle artist Victoria Haven; Vancouver artist Ken Lum; Reed College’s Cooley Art Gallery (Portland, OR) Curator and Director, Stephanie Snyder; and John and Shari Behnke.

About The Brink

The Brink will be awarded to an artist in Washington, Oregon, or British Columbia whose work shows artistic promise and who appears to be at “the brink” of a promising career. The selection committee will consider artists whose work explores a range of ideas beyond the surface of mainstream culture and demonstrates innovation and high artistic quality. Evidence of some professional achievement is required as a demonstration of the artist’s commitment, but the artist need not possess an extensive record of accomplishments (exhibitions, critical reviews, commissions, grants, residencies, etc.). Eligible artists will have earned within the last five years an MFA or equivalent academic degree, or can provide other evidence that demonstrates the beginning of a professional artistic career.

This award reflects both the adventuresome collecting interests of John and Shari Behnke and their desire to support artists in the region. In developing the idea of The Brink, they sought a name that would evoke a critical point in an artist’s career, described by the Behnkes as “a crucial moment, the point at which something is likely to begin.” The Behnkes assert, “We hope this award will provide a compelling reason for artists to stay in the region.”

This initiative was proposed as a measure to remind artists that their ongoing presence and their profession are essential to the Pacific Northwest’s dynamic cultural landscape. The Brink complements the Henry Art Gallery’s role as a catalyst for the creation of new work, while simultaneously demonstrating the museum’s commitment to artists working in our region.