Every Year, the Hunting Art Prize is given to some lucky painter from Texas. The prize is $50,000. Needless to say, tons of folks enter. The Hunting Prize people have just sent out letters telling artists whether they have been selected to be finalists. The winner will be announced May 3 at a gala hosted by Hunting PLC, an oil and gas service company.
The prize has garnered some controversy in the past, but it has also given prizes to some excellent artists who probably really appreciated the cash! Previous winners are Francesca Fuchs (2006), Michael Tole (2007), Wendy Wagner (2008), Robin O'Neil (2009), Lane Hagood (2010), Leigh Ann Hester (2011), Michael Bise (2012) and Marshall K. Harris (2013).
Several of the finalists this year have shared their work on Facebook. I thought the pieces looked pretty good; I suspect the judges will have a tough time deciding. Here are a few of them.
Cary Reeder, High Noon,acrylic on canvas, 30 x 38 inches
Cary Reeder's minimalist clapboard houses are always appealing to me. She recently had a great solo show at Lawndale.
Catherine Colangelo, Giant Quilt Square #10, gouache and graphite on paper, 28" x 28"
I have seen nice work by Catherine Colangelo at the late, lamented Darke Gallery. This piece looks excellent.
Tropical Storm, Veracruz, Gulf of Mexico
David Smith's Tropical Storm, Veracruz, Gulf of Mexico is an unexpectedly 19th-century-style entry. It's refreshing to see it included.
Hannah Celeste Dean, Re-Veiled
Hannah Celeste Dean calls her work "haunting but not ghostly," but I think "ghostly" is an excellent word to describe Re-veiled.
Hogan Kimbrell, Conjure, oil on canvas, 54 x 54 inches
I've seen a couple of excellent paintings by Hogan Kimbrell at past Lawndale Big Shows. The double image here is a bit different from what I've seen before. But his subject matter--beautiful women--seems constant.
John Adelman, 61,988,ink on panel, 38 x 30 inches
John Adelman premiered these architectural process drawings at a recent show at Nicole Longnecker Gallery. I've long admired his rigorous, obsessive work.
Joseph Cohen, Proposition 360, Pigment, diamond dust, and varnish on birch 29" x 24"
You can see another piece by Joseph Cohen (quite different from Proposition 360) at the CAMH through March 23. Cohen has been one of my favorite Houston painters for a while.
Lee E. Wright, The Captain of Industry, oil and ink on prepared paper, 32 x 44
I don't really know anything about Lee E. Wright, but based on his website, he appears to be a portraitist--an honorable specialization.
Saralene Tapley, Flourish, acrylic on watercolor paper, 29 x 41 inches
I saw this piece by Saralene Tapley in last year's Big Show. I believe it's a portrait of her fellow artist, Bryan Keith Gardner.
According to various sources, there are typically between 100 and 150 finalists. Out of that crowded field there can be only one winner. Any bets on who it will be?