Burlington City Arts

APRIL 13, 2015

2015 Barbara Smail Award Winner Announced


Burlington, VT: Burlington City Arts is proud to announce the 2015 Barbara Smail Award winner, Vermont artist Clark Derbes. The announcement was made during the opening reception of Sumru Tekin’s (2014 Barbara Smail Award Winner) exhibition One Day at The BCA Center on Friday, April 10th, 2015. Derbes is the recipient of the 13th annual Barbara Smail Award.

BCA Chief Curator DJ Hellerman says, "Clark is a tremendous presence in this community and we are really excited he is this year’s winner. Clark and I have already started to discuss his ideas for using the benefits of the award to experiment and try new things. We should all be looking forward to his exhibition next April.”

Clark Derbes was born in New Orleans, LA and raised in Baton Rouge. Derbes was exposed at an early age to the vernacular craft arts of the south, including; vibrantly painted carvings, quilts, and the beaded pageantry of Mardi Gras. These influences, along with the road-side chainsaw carvings witnessed in Vermont, collided with his practice of ab-ex geometric painting. His work employs a vocabulary of forms & shapes adapted from familiar architectures translated into sculptures of carved wood finished with a variety of complex patina processes or vivid color, sometimes in combination and all driven by his straightforwardness and skill. His current body of carved and poly-chromed wood sculpture are a synthesis of these influences; a ‘gumbo’ of American art history stirred with the wooden spoon of folk tradition. Derbes earned a BFA at Louisiana State University and exhibits extensively throughout the US. He currently lives and works in Vermont with his wife, artist Wylie Sofia Garcia, and their two children.

As the recipient of the 2015 Barbara Smail Award, Derbes is awarded a $1,500 cash stipend and $1,000 worth of class registration and/or usage of The BCA Center's studio facilities (this includes the Print and Clay Studio at 250 Main Street, as well as the Darkroom/Digital Lab at The BCA Center) for one year. Upon completion of the calendar year, BCA will host an exhibition of the artist’s work. Friends and family of Barbara Smail, a well-loved and highly respected artist from the Burlington area who died in the fall of 2001, established the Barbara Smail Award. The award is given to a mid-career Vermont-based artist who has a desire to expand his or her creative experience and has displayed an enthusiastic support of his or her peers. Previous award winners include Carol MacDonald, Jennifer Koch, Diane Gabriel, Catherine Hall, Lynn Rupe, Peter Gallo, Jude Bond, Anthony Sini, Kat Clear, Gregg Blasdel, Kate Donnelly and Sumru Tekin.

The Barbara Smail Award is an important part of Burlington City Arts, who is dedicated to the promotion of excellence, experimentation, and education in all forms of contemporary art. For more information about gallery exhibitions, special events, classes and workshops, please call 802.865.7166 or visit BURLINGTONCITYARTS.ORG.