Great Rivers Biennial

Juan William Chávez, Corey Escoto, and Michelle Oosterbaan

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis is proud to announce the three award recipients of the 2008 Great Rivers Biennial. Designed to recognize emerging artistic talent in the greater St. Louis metro area, the Great Rivers Biennial program, funded generously by the Gateway Foundation, has raised each artist’s award to $20,000 from $15,000 in past years. In addition to the award sum, each of the three winning artists will be given an exhibition at the Contemporary opening in February, 2008. Three distinguished jurors from around the United States—Cheryl Brutvan, Curator of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Lilian Tone, Assistant Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and, Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, Director and Chief Curator, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado—selected the three artists from more than 200 submissions the Contemporary received, representing a wide range of media including drawing and painting, photography, sculpture, video and new-media.

Interested in the relationships between drawing and cinema, Juan William Chávez creates series of “live-drawings” from those films that have deeply impacted his artistic practice. Producing a sequence of storyboards he then animates to video—what he calls “hyper-alive situations”—Chávez engages such universal human experiences as violence, indulgence, and desire. Chávez received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Kansas City Art Institute and a Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Drawing from both the style and idealism of United Nations memorabilia and the Do-It-Yourself movement, Corey Escoto’s drawings, models, and displays present a complex commentary on the concept of world-reform organizations. Escoto’s self-proclaimed “self-satirical” work makes manifest the conflict between idealism and futility that occurs when endeavoring to better a troubled society. Escoto is a recent graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program at the Washington University School of Art.

In Michelle Oosterbaan’s drawings and installations, both myth and memory play important roles. Her large-scale yet finely-detailed and complex compositions work to create “theaters of space” that integrate the viewer’s shifting perspective within these environments. Blending imagined narratives with personal experience, Oosterbaan explores both the formal and psychological relationships between line, color, and architectural space. A graduate of Washington University, Oosterbaan received her MFA in Painting from Indiana University and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Washington University’s School of Art.


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