Yu-Wen Wu, Intentions, 2021. Gilded tea leaves and red string on wood pedestal. Dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist
The 2023 James and Audrey Foster Prize exhibition presents the work of Cicely Carew (b. 1982 in Los Angeles), Venetia Dale (b. 1981 in Winfield, IL), and Yu-Wen Wu (b. in Taipei, Taiwan). Encompassing a wide range of media, from sculpture and installation to time-based media and works on paper, the exhibited projects demonstrate how these cross-generational Boston-area artists each uniquely engage with the theme of states of change, whether through personal experiences, the passage of time, or in the very nature of materials undergoing transformation in the making of an artwork.
First established in 1999, James and Audrey Foster endowed the prize (formerly the ICA Artist Prize) and exhibition to nurture and recognize exceptional Boston-area artists.
Cicely Carew wields the formal, material, and sculptural aspects of painting to evoke feelings of radical joy, hope, and liberation. Her works explore the fleeting magic of the present through vibrant color, rebellious mark-making, sweeping gestures, and references to the terrestrial and cosmic worlds. In addition to group exhibitions and commissions by Now + There at the Prudential Center in Boston, she has had solo exhibitions at the Fitchburg Art Museum, the Commons in Provincetown, Northeastern University, and Simmons University. She is the recipient of the 2021 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award, an Artful Seeds Fellowship, and a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award. Her work is in the collections of Fidelity, Simmons University, Northeastern University, the Cambridge Arts Council, and the Federal Reserve of Boston. In addition to her studio practice, she is a wellness coach and educator, having served as the 2021–22 artist in residence at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, as well as teaching workshops for the New Art Center in Newton and screen printing for Lesley University. Carew earned a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and an MFA from Lesley University’s College of Art + Design. She resides with her son in Cambridge.
Venetia Dale is an artist, mother, and educator living and working in Boston. Her sculptures — made of cast pewter, a malleable metal commonly found in historical kitchenware, and fiber artworks — piece together fragments of mundane objects into new associations, from food leftover from her children’s meals to unfinished embroidery and hand-hooked rugs she sources online. Dale recontextualizes visible forms of care, growth, and change to evoke the intimacy and generative potential of domestic life — she is interested in the material histories of embroidery and pewter in connection to the anonymous stewards who keep things clean, fixed, and loved. Dale has participated in group exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (forthcoming), the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and the Villa Terrace Museum and Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin, among others. Her work has been shown at 92nd Street Y Tribeca Gallery, Proof Gallery in Boston, and SOIL Gallery in Seattle. She was the 2019 Polly Starr Thayer Visiting Artist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and a resident artist at the Kohler Factory in 2013 and the Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2010. Dale exhibits nationally and her work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Metal Museum in Tennessee, and the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Wisconsin.
Yu-Wen Wu is a Boston-based interdisciplinary artist. Wu’s subjectivity as an immigrant is central to her artwork, which examines issues of displacement, arrival, and assimilation, and the shape of identity in a new country. At the crossroads of art, science, politics, and social issues, her practice includes drawing, sculpture, site-specific video installations, community-engaged practices, and public art. Wu recently exhibited Lantern Stories at Chin Park in Boston’s Chinatown, a widely acclaimed commission by the Greenway Conservancy first installed in 2020 and reinstalled in 2022; a similar project commissioned for San Francisco Chinatown opened permanently in 2022. Other large-scale commissioned works include The Poetry of Reason, a recent wall sculpture spanning two stories at the Joyce Cummings Center at Tufts University, and Terrain, a 38-foot-long sculptural drawing for the Chao Center at Harvard Business School. Wu’s recent exhibitions include DISPLACED: Contemporary Artists Confront the Global Refugee Crisis at SITE Santa Fe, NM, in 2020; a solo exhibition titled Internal Navigations at Praise Shadows Art Gallery in Boston in 2021; and a presentation at Independent Art Fair 2022 listed by New York Magazine critic Jerry Saltz among “the best New York art shows of 2022.” Wu is the recipient of the 2019 inaugural Prilla Smith Brackett Award and the 2021 Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship. Her work is included in several public and private collections, including those of the Harvard Art Museums, the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Tufts University Art Galleries, the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, and the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis.