Great Rivers Biennial

Brandon Anschultz, Carlie Trosclair, and Cayce Zavaglia

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM) and Gateway Foundation present the sixth edition of the Great Rivers Biennial featuring new work by St. Louis-based artists Brandon AnschultzCarlie Trosclair, and Cayce Zavaglia.

The Great Rivers Biennial Arts Award Program, a collaborative initiative between CAM and Gateway Foundation, identifies talented emerging and mid-career artists working in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, providing them with a $20,000 honorarium and a major exhibition at CAM. Three distinguished jurors—Mel Chin, artist; Lowery Stokes Sims, Curator of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City; and Lynne Warren, Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago—selected the 2014 winners from more than 140 submissions.


Brandon Anschultz’s work emphasizes the tactile qualities of paint, demonstrating the ability of the medium to go beyond its conventional two-dimensional use. Titled Suddenly Last Summer, Anschultz’s project at CAM uses the 1958 Tennessee Williams play and 1959 film of the same name as a jumping-off point. In his installation, layered paintings, sculptures, and objects such as mirrors, pillars, and lintels evoke set design, specifically the garden setting of Suddenly Last Summer, which serves as the location for some the most dramatic exchanges in the work as well as a tangible example of the play’s themes of repressed desire and the unforgiving reality of aging.

Inspired by the natural breakdown of architectural structures, Carlie Trosclair’s installations highlight buildings as ever-changing organisms that reveal patterns of beauty over time. Through site-specific interventions in abandoned spaces, Trosclair uses pliable and decorative materials, such as fabric and wallpaper, to create new topographies and narratives. Exfoliation, her project at CAM, simulates this type of evolutionary breakdown, with layers of architectural skin expanding across the museum walls. Consisting of salvaged two-by-fours, wallpaper, and drywall, the ostensibly deteriorating composition transforms the space, creating new relationships between surface, interior, and structural support.

Originally trained as a painter, Cayce Zavaglia also works in embroidery, blending colors and establishing tonalities that resemble the techniques of classical oil painting. Recto │Verso, her project at CAM, features hand-embroidered portraits alongside a related series of small gouache and large-scale acrylic paintings. The paintings portray the verso, or reverse, side of the embroidery, revealing a portrait of loose ends, knots, and chaos corresponding to—but psychologically different from—the meticulously sewn front image. In the rich history of tapestry, the verso has traditionally been hidden from the viewer; Zavaglia exposes this concealed otherness, addressing the divergence between our presented and private selves.

Brandon Anschultz (b. 1972, Newport, Arkansas) lives and works in St. Louis. He has presented work in both solo and group exhibitions at such venues as Kunstlerhaus Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria; Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles; Longue Vue House and Garden, New Orleans; Columbia College, Chicago; The Hills Esthetic Center, Chicago; La Esquina, Kansas City; Laumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis; and Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts, St. Louis. He holds an MFA in Printmaking and Drawing from Washington University in St. Louis and a BFA in Studio Art with an emphasis in Painting and Drawing from Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana.

Carlie Trosclair (b. 1985, New Orleans) lives and works in St. Louis. She has exhibited at the Siena Art Institute, Siena, Italy; The Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, California; 6612 Art Space, St. Louis; and The Luminary Center for the Arts, St. Louis. She received her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis and BFA from Loyola University, New Orleans.

Cayce Zavaglia (b. 1971, Valparaiso, Indiana) lives and works in St. Louis. She has exhibited at Textile Arts Center, Brooklyn; Nicholas Robinson Gallery, New York; Lyons Wier Gallery, New York; Scott White Contemporary Art, La Jolla, California; and Craft Alliance, St. Louis. Zavaglia received her MFA with a concentration in Painting from Washington University in St. Louis and her BFA in Painting from Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

The 2014 Great Rivers Biennial is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by Kelly Shindler, Associate Curator.

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