9 painters receive 2013 Guggenheim Fellowships

Considered mid-career awards, Guggenheim Fellowships recognize “demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.” Between 3,500 and 4,000 applications are submitted each year, and approximately 200 Fellowships, which include a substantial amount of cash depending on the scope of the project and the Fellows’ other resources, are awarded. Here are the painters included on the 2013 list, and, unless otherwise noted, the text is lifted (and edited) from the Guggenheim Foundation website. One more painter was selected this year than last, all but one of them are women, and five out of the nine are engaged with representational imagery.

Cora Cohen in her Long Island City studio in 2013. Image by Two Coats of Paint.

Cora Cohen

Although the Guggenheim site doesn’t have a bio for Cora Cohen, I found a bit of biographical information on her website. Based on improvisatory and gestural procedures, Cohen’s abstract paintings draw on contemporary urban and philosophical source, most recently the syllabary, logograms, and pictograms of Linear B script. Born in New York City in 1943, Cohen studied at Bennington College with Paul Feeley and Richard Haas (B.A., 1964, M.A. 1972.) and has lectured at many institutions including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Columbia University, New York, and the New York Studio School, New York.

Cohen began exhibiting in New York in the seventies, and in the eighties began exhibiting nationally and internationally. Her works have been written about in various publications including The New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail, Art in America, Art News, Flash Art, The New Yorker, Time Out New York, New York Magazine, ArtNet Magazine,, and Her work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Swedish State Art Council, Stockholm, The Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, and Yale University, New Haven. Cohen’s other awards include a Gottlieb Foundation Award, a Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation Space Program Award, Brooklyn, New York, and The Edward F. Albee Foundation Residency Award in Montauk, New York. She has received awards from the Pollock Krasner Foundation, the NEA, the New York State Council for the Arts, and Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, New York.


Amer Kobaslija

Originally from Banjaluka in Bosnia, at the age of eighteen Amer Kobaslija fled the war-ravaged country in 1993 and arrived in refugee camps in Nuremberg, Germany. Afterwards, he traveled to Dusseldorf where he attended the Art Academy. In 1997, Kobaslija was offered asylum by the United States and immigrated to Florida. Once in Florida, Kobaslija completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. In 2003, he went on to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Currently, Kobaslija is an Assistant Professor of Art at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. He divides his time between New York City and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He is represented by George Adams Gallery in New York where he exhibited his fifth solo show with the gallery in March 2012.

Amer Kobaslija, Nainowaki Residential Area, May 7th, 2011, oil on copper panel. 11×12 inches.


Carrie Elizabeth Moyer

An associate professor  at Hunter College, Carrie Moyer is a painter and writer who has shown her work in the U.S. and Europe since 1993. She has been the subject of sixteen solo exhibitions and participated in over 110 group shows.

From an introduction to Pirate Jenny, the 2013 solo exhibition at the Tang Teaching Museum:

For the past two decades, Carrie Moyer’s paintings have boldly merged political imagery, abstraction, and unapologetic visual pleasure. Complex and seductive, her paintings layer overlapping, biomorphic forms, vibrant colors, and a diversity of textures. They are also richly loaded with a range of historical, stylistic, and physical references that include Color Field and Surrealist paintings, 1960s counter culture graphics, 1970s feminist art, and bodily forms and fluids. Exploring the full capabilities of acrylic paint –what she calls the ugly step-child of oil paint — Moyer often works on the floor, pouring, rolling, stippling, mopping, and hand-working the paint, and even embellishing it with glitter and graphite.

For the past decade, Moyer’s writing has appeared in publications such as Art in America, The Brooklyn Rail, Artforum, and Modern Painters. Recent projects include a catalog essay on Nancy Grossman and texts on Louise Fishman, Stephen Mueller, Alina Szapocznikow, and Maria Lassnig. In addition to an active painting and writing career, Moyer and photographer Sue Schaffner co-founded  Dyke Action Machine!, one of the first queer interventionist art projects. The project ran from 1991 to 2008.

Carrie Moyer, Pirate Jenny, 2012, acrylic, graphite on canvas. 72 x 72 inches

Harriet Korman

Basing the compositions on line drawings, Korman uses the location of the lines as boundaries between colors, and selects individual unblended pigments for the resulting shapes. She exposes each color’s intrinsic qualities of hue, brightness, transparency, and texture through the juxtaposition of related or contrasting colors and a deceptively casual paint application.

Harriet Korman’s early exhibitions took place in the 1970s in Cologne, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. She was featured in an important exhibition of young artists at the Guggenheim Museum in 1971 and has been included in three Whitney biennials. She was represented by Willard Gallery during the 70s and 80s, and this will be her seventh solo exhibition at Lennon, Weinberg since 1992. Her work was included in High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967-1975 , an exhibition circulated by Independent Curators International to museum venues in North America and Europe from 2006 to 2008, and a small survey of recent works was shown at PS1 in 2007.

Works by Harriet Korman are included in the collections of the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Greensboro, North Carolina; Maier Museum, Lynchburg, Virginia; Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska and the Blanton Museum in Austin, Texas. (Information via the Lennon Weinberg website)

Harriet Korman , Expand, 2011, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches. Courtesy of Lennon Weinberg.

Patti Oleon

Patti Oleon is a painter who lives and works in San Francisco. Her work is about light and the tenuous nature of appearances.  She works from photographs she takes in public interior spaces, devoid of human presence, manipulating and layering them digitally to use as a blueprint to create haunting and amorphous paintings.  The final paintings are an amalgam of contradictions, blurring the line between the real and the artificial, the dark and the light, and the banal and the transcendent. She uses traditional Old Master oil painting techniques to create works that reference the past, yet are firmly rooted in the present.

Oleon received both her B.A. and M.F.A from UCLA, from which she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant (twice), the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant, Fulbright/DAAD Fellowship, Ford Foundation Grant, and an Ingram Merrill Foundation Grant. She is represented by Modernism Gallery in San Francisco.

Patti Oleon, Holy Bravado, 2013, oil on linen over panel, 36 x 92 inches.

Ann Pibal

Ann Pibal’s acrylic on aluminum paintings are at once brainy and open-ended, hard-edged and intimate. Without privileging one source over another, her work alludes to the robust history of abstract painting, architecture, and graphic design, as well as landscape and the sublime. She is primarily interested in painting as a way of thinking; in all its facets, her work implies a certain shifting, non-settling, ongoing process. Her work has been exhibited widely at venues in the United States and Europe, including MoMA PS1, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., Feature Inc., Max Protetch Gallery, Meulensteen, Paula Cooper Gallery, ZieherSmith, Rhona Hoffman and The Suburban in Chicago, Slewe Gallery in Amsterdam, Petra Rinck Galerie in Dusseldorf, and dePury and Luxembourg in Zurich. Her work is included in many public collections, including The Brooklyn Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and The Hirshhorn Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and the Yale University Art Gallery. She has received awards from the Tiffany Foundation, The Joan Mitchell Foundation, The New York Foundation for the Arts, The Pollock Krasner Foundation, and others.  She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, and North Bennington, Vermont, where she teaches at Bennington College.

 Ann Pibal,  EWYH , 2012, oil on aluminum, 11.5 x 13.75 inches.

Elena Sisto

In her paintings Elena Sisto uses the structuring ideas of abstraction to mine content that relates to her interest in how people define their own identity and present themselves. In Sisto’s current work centers around the artist’s experience of being in the studio, and the passage into adulthood of young women artists. Her characters are an invented hybrid of fiction and reality. They are images of women as workers, thinkers, and creators. In creating them she has been much influenced by the students she teaches at the School of Visual Arts.

Sisto has had nineteen one-person shows, including at the Maier Museum in Lynchburg, Virginia; the Katzen Museum in Washington, D.C.; the Greenville County Museum, Greenville, south Carolina; and the Miami Dade College of Art + Design, Miami, Florida. She exhibited work in the 43rd Biennial of Contemporary Painting at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C. and numerous group shows throughout the U.S. She’s been the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants, fellowships to Yaddo, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Millay Colony, the Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant, a Hand Hollow Foundation Fellowship and scholarships to the New York Studio School, the Skowhegan School, and the Yale Norfolk Program. Sisto received the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts 183rd Invitational Inglish Griswold Nelson Prize in painting.

Sisto is newly affiliated with Lori Bookstein Fine Arts where she will be presenting her first exhibit entitled Between Silver Light and Orange Shadow, which will be on view from April 25th through June 1st, 2013.

Elena Sisto, Bubble Wrap, 2013, oil on linen 27 x 37 inches.

Leigh Behnke

Represented by Fishbach Gallery since 1978, Leigh Behnke is an NYC painter who teaches Foundation Painting (Honors) and Contemporary Imagery at the School of Visual Arts, where she has been a faculty member since 1979. She became interested in the formal properties that make up an image and how those properties could recontextualize the way we perceived it while she was in grad school at NYU. “By working with multiple images she could change one element in a work, and compare it to others to see how its ‘reading’ is affected. The study of perception in this manner has been the basis of her work ever since.”

Her work has been reviewed in the New York Times, Art Forum, Arts Magazine, and the Washington Post, among print forums. She has been included in numerous museum shows nationally and internationally, as well as a number of public collections.

Leigh Behnke, Bacchus, 2013, color pencil on paper, 9 x 11.5 inches. Courtesy of Fischbach Gallery

Susan Wanklyn

Born and raised in Montreal, Susan Wanklyn lives and works in Brooklyn. According to the info posted on her previous gallery’s website, Wanklyn “has long been interested in the relationship between form, shape, space, the limitation of the canvas surface, the idea of speed and the mechanism of memory. Using stenciling as the basis for her work process, Ms. Wanklyn may outline a fan, a cone, a circle or a square – which are left identifiable by their loose imprint. The result is a template for an abstract image in transition — the initial step to a juxtaposition of painterly ideas-each layer minutely thought and beautifully rendered in soft jewel-like tones. Ms. Wanklyn’s preferred material of depiction is home-made casein, an undisguised medium which denotes translucency and luminosity. Applied to board, the casein imparts a sensuous velvet-like surface. A quality of lyricism and expressionism transpires from Ms. Wanklyn’s work. Looking at her paintings is not unlike reading a poem– each stroke of hand a verse of its own.”

Susan Wanklyn, Plateau, 2012.

Congratulations to the 2013 Fellows, and better luck next year to everyone else.

Related posts:
A good year for painters at the Guggenheim Foundation (2012)


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  1. Thanks for the post! Some of these painters are new to me.


  2. Thanks for the comprehensive post. Ann Pibal has a nice show up through May 4th at Steven Zevitas Gallery in Boston.

  3. While 2013 Guggenheim recipient David McDonald is primarily a sculptor, he also paints. I think it bears mentioning that his sculpture is fully informed by his practice as a painter. His artwork certainly bears a look from the painters who follow the fantastic "Two Coats of Paint."

  4. This post makes me happy to be living at a point in history where so many ways of seeing – and painting – can be appreciated. Is this not the absolute zenith of civilization?

  5. Odd that most represented are women. But what the heck! Odd that most were men in the past. Right?
    But you have to really be kidding that the work of Harriet Korman, Elena Sisto, Susan Wanklyn, Ann Pibalis of merrit. Seariously?
    You got to be kidding? Right?

  6. Pingback: Cora Cohen (1943-2023) – Obituaries & Remembrances

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