THE INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART/BOSTON

PRESS RELEASE

THE INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART ANNOUNCES KELLY SHERMAN AS THE WINNER OF THE JAMES AND AUDREY FOSTER PRIZE

Cambridge artist Kelly Sherman is the winner of the 2006 James and Audrey Foster Prize, the Institute of Contemporary Art announced today.  This biennial award recognizing a Boston-area artist of exceptional promise includes a $25,000 prize and an opportunity for the finalists to present their work in an exhibition at the ICA. Kelly Sherman's video and text-based works reveal the dynamics of personal relationships and examine the place of emotion in our often cynical world. Sherman's exhibition, along with work by the three other finalists-Sheila Gallagher, Jane D. Marsching, and Rachel Perry Welty-will be on view at the ICA through March 11, 2007.

"We are delighted to congratulate Kelly Sherman, whose minimal and elegant exhibition uncovers deeper layers of meaning with each look. Her skillful and subtle work demonstrates the innovation, individuality, and adventurousness that the award represents," says James Foster, Chairman, President and CEO of Charles River Laboratories. James and Audrey Foster, passionate collectors and supporters of contemporary art, endowed the prize with their $1 million gift to the ICA.

"Kelly Sherman's work is a captivating mix of the conceptual and the emotional," says Jill Medvedow, Director of the ICA. "Like so many exceptional artists, she helps us to see the familiar in entirely new ways. Through her eyes, anonymous wish lists and floor plans become an incredibly poignant and engaging examination of human desires and connections."

For the James and Audrey Foster Prize exhibition, Kelly Sherman created The Family House, a four-part work of diagrammatic drawings that highlight shifts in household arrangements caused by divorce, and Wish Lists, a spare and orderly arrangement of forty lists collected from the Internet. The latter offers a powerful, suggestive glimpse into the lives of others, hinting at the age, gender, and circumstances of the various authors. The lists' requested items range from the most broad and basic, such as "school," to the minutely specific, such as "VideoNow Color Disks 3-Pack: Monster Garage 2." Sherman also presents Chairs, a video work that shows a parade of seating items offered for sale on eBay, which is accompanied by Halsey Burgund's score created especially for the work. Sherman earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art in 2002. She was an Artist-in-Research at the Berwick Research Institute in Roxbury last year.

The winner was chosen by a distinguished jury including Lisa Corrin, Director of the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, MA; Taylor Davis, artist, associate professor at Massachusetts College of Art, and winner of the 2001 ICA Artist Prize; Billie Tsien, Principal of Tod Williams Billie Tsien and Associates in New York; and Benjamin Weil, Director of Artists Space in New York. The jury found the experience of Sherman's four works to be conceptually and emotionally rewarding and admired her skillful scouring and reworking of material on the Internet to illuminate social dynamics.

Sherman was chosen from a group of finalists that includes Sheila Gallagher, Jane D. Marsching, and Rachel Perry Welty. For the ICA, Jamaica Plain-based artist Sheila Gallagher created Unknown Source, a series of related works inspired by the 14th-century text "The Cloud of Unknowing" and including such media as video, live flowers, and paintings made from smoke. Boston-based artist Jane D. Marsching presents Arctic Listening Post, a multi-layered project that includes photographs, video, and a seating area where visitors can join a networked conversation about climate change and sustainability. Rachel Perry Welty, who lives in Needham and works in Boston, celebrates the beauty and humor of daily life with her works Wall and two-page spread, made from thousands of twist-ties, Wrong Number Karaoke, a video in which the artist lip-synchs to wrong number messages, and Food Pyramid, an arrangement of miniature grocery items from Welty's own pantry.

First established in 1999, the James and Audrey Foster Prize (formerly the ICA Artist Prize) has an expanded format in the museum's new facility. Beginning with this year's prize, the $25,000 award-increased from $5,000-will be awarded biennially, and will be accompanied by an exhibition of up to four finalists. Past recipients include Ambreen Butt (1999), Laylah Ali (2000), Taylor Davis (2001), Alice Swinden Carter (2002), Douglas R. Weathersby (2003), and Kanishka Raja (2004). The James and Audrey Foster Artist Prize program is organized by ICA Curator Carole Anne Meehan.

The Institute of Contemporary Art, located at 100 Northern Avenue in Boston, is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 am - 5 pm; Thursday and Friday, 10 am - 9 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm.  Admission is $12 adults, $10 seniors and students, and free for members and children 17 and under. Free admission on Target Free Thursday Nights, 5 9 pm. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit our Web site at www.icaboston.org.

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