Burlington City Arts

APRIL 18, 2016

2016 Barbara Smail Award Winner Announced


For more information:                   

CONTACT Sara Katz                                                                               
P 802-865-5356

Burlington, VT (April 18, 2016): Burlington City Arts is proud to announce the 2016 Barbara Smail Award winner, Vermont artist Wylie Sofia Garcia. The announcement was made during the opening reception of Clark Derbes’ (2015 Barbara Smail Award winner) exhibition at The BCA Center on Friday, April 15th, 2016. Garcia is the recipient of the 14th annual Barbara Smail Award. 

BCA Chief Curator DJ Hellerman says, "Wylie is a tremendous artist. Her community mindedness and consistent artistic growth make her a great recipient for the award. We are all excited for this opportunity to work closely with Wylie this year.”

Wylie Sofia Garcia was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She received her undergraduate degree from The University of Chicago and her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA.  Her work has been exhibited in museums and institutions across the United States. She has been the recipient of a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, a St. Botolph Club Foundation Fellowship, and a Vermont Arts Council Creation Grant. She currently lives and works in Burlington, Vermont with her husband, artist Clark Derbes, and their two children.

In her artist statement, Garcia says about her work, “My art, which is heavily influenced by textiles, balances between soft sculpture and drawing with ink, gouache, and graphite. I create soft veiled spaces with reflective embellished decorative surfaces. I tend to focus on the ornamentation of surface such as lace, embroidery, trapunto, tassels, tufted plush, sequins, etc. These decorative surfaces obscure the veneer and are used to hide deeper details related to memory and experience. Hash-mark like stitch-work records the passage of time and also acts as a covering. Lace and flowers are connected to a sense of mourning and dissociative nostalgia. Curtain like layers, become a stage for isolating developing narratives that emerge out of the work.”

As the recipient of the 2015 Barbara Smail Award, Garcia 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, Sumru Tekin and Clark Derbes.

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.