We are pleased to announce the ArtSlant Prize 2016 exhibition, which will be taking place at SPRING/BREAK! We are very excited to be a part of this curator-centric, site-specific fair. This year, SPRING/BREAK is setting up shop at 4 Times Square, the neon center of a world on the brink. Get your guest passes here.

From 1,800 entries over the course of 2016, whittled down by 9 panels of independent guest jurors, the final winners are selected by our editorial staff on the merit of each artist’s commitment to their work as well as their engagement with contemporary society and culture.

The ArtSlant Prize 2016 Winners:


FIRST: Brigitta Varadi

Artist Statement:

As an artist who works predominantly with the biodegradable and renewable medium of pure wool, Varadi communicates in a very direct manner her commitment to sustainability and environmental concerns engaging in projects relating to fracking (to voice the current concern of the local people and to raise the issue of hydraulic fracturing) and more recently in the decline of sheep farming in the North West of Ireland. Working with different types of natural fibers and using techniques such as dyeing, felting, and sculptural manipulation, Varadi searches for pattern and repetition of gesture that relate to the invisible and everyday rituals of working life and the constructed environment.


Brigitta Varadi was born in Hungary and currently divides her time between the County of Leitrim, Ireland, and New York. Brigitta participated in the NYFA IAP Program (2016) and been awarded fellowships by the Wassaic Project (2016), Leitrim Sculpture Centre (2015), Textile Arts Centre Brooklyn (2014), LOCIS, European Cultural Program (2014), and TRADE (2011). She has been artist in residence at the NARS Foundation, NY, Chashama, NY, Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland and KulttuuriKauppila, Finland. She is a recipient of numerous awards from the Arts Council of Ireland, Leitrim County Council and Culture Ireland. Her work has been reviewed in the Irish Times and included in several books.


SECOND: Tiffany Smith

Artist Statement:

Tiffany Smith​ is a visual artist from the Caribbean diaspora who uses photography, video, design, and installation to create conceptually based work focused on identity, cultural ambiguity, and representation—particularly within minority communities. Her work examines individual narratives pulled from an array of multi-cultural influences, derived from her upbringing between Miami, Florida, Nassau, Bahamas, and Jamaica, and molded by her current home of Brooklyn, NY. Smith’s practice searches for new perspectives on dominant historical narratives and aims to provide insight into issues surrounding communities and how they are formed, defined, and identified.

Smith’s current works in progress react to a history of photographic representation of people of color by focusing on how identity is constructed. For Tropical Girls…​ presents photographic self portraits that question identity constructs and the psychological implications of iconography. Smith’s staged ethnographic survey of invented personas who author their own representations of a blended cultural heritage use her own experiences and recalled memories to create performative studies that empower reclamation of representation. A Woman, Phenomenally collects photographic portraits that feature subjects who can be classified generally as “women of color” despite the specifics of their identity. Through a collaborative process with each woman, a constructed environment is created that empowers each subject to create an idealized image of herself that reclaims agency in “performing the other.”

Photographs from the series are presented within contextualizing multi-media installations, creating site specific environments that reference domestic space through cultural signifiers and decor elements recalled from Smith’s own memories of a fluid definition of home. Custom-made decor items such as wallpaper, or a decorative screen wall, are paired with readymade objects and both real and artificial plants to extend the photographic plane and provide a pathway for the viewer to more deeply access the narratives of the women depicted.


Smith received a BA in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design and an MFA in Photo, Video and Related Media from School of Visual Arts, NY. Smith’s work has been exhibited internationally and throughout the United States including shows at The National Gallery of Jamaica during the 2014 Jamaica Biennial, Photoville 2015, New York, International Photo Festival, Leiden, Netherlands, and Photo NOLA, New Orleans; public art installations in Newark Penn Station through The Gateway Project and in Marcus Garvey Park during Flux Art Fair, Harlem; and most recently at Long Gallery, Harlem.


THIRD: Sterling Crispin

Artist Statement:

Technology is an extension of humanity, an embodiment of the human spirit, rather than an external force that we must mitigate. Yet this distributed life form pulsing on the surface of the earth has its own agency and agenda. My artistic practice explores the relationships between this exponentially growing techno-organism as it relates to our human bodies, minds, and psyches.

By technology, I mean individual devices and networked systems, like cameras and software, but also what I call the “Technological Other,” a living global super-organism of all machines and software.

In my artwork I often misuse or reverse-engineer this technology in order to give form to things that are otherwise formless. I’m interested in the creation of new dialogues, signs, and symbols which challenge societal power structures. And I believe that earnestly reaching toward objective beauty and truth in an effort to produce the real, rather than an image of the real, is itself a political act.

In this spirit I attempt to depict the landscape of our consciousness as it is transformed by the Technological Other, and create objects that embody the conflicting cultural narratives that exist about the future, and thus the present.


Sterling Crispin is an artist and technologist born in 1985 in Maui, Hawaii. He received his Master of Fine Arts and Master of Science in Multimedia Engineering from the University of California Santa Barbara. His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and has been published in Frieze, Wired, BOMB, Rhizome, Creators Project, Fast Company, Y-Combinator’s Hacker News, and the Post Internet Survival Guide. He was an invited speaker at the first annual Drones and Aerial Robotics Conference in NYC as coauthor of OpenDroneControl, an open source software platform for developing interactive artworks and research projects with aerial robotics. Lectures include Stanford, NYU ITP, LACMA Art + Technology Lab, SFAQ, YouTube LA, and UCLA Art Sci Center.


Honorable Mentions:


Bex Ilsley

Artist Statement:

I work primarily within the fields of self-portrait photography, video, and digital performance. Broadly, my work explores concepts of the performed personality in virtual space and the ways in which that practice has the potential to be both more and less honest than the performance of personality in physical space.

All of my work responds in some way to the performativity of being or the predicament of being seen. I use repetition, merchandising strategies and deification to create paradoxical narratives of the self and the Other. These narratives twist in and out of the real and the virtual, the artificial and the authentic, progressing through journeys of discovery, only to end up where they began.


I’m a recent graduate of Fine Art (Manchester School of Art 2016). I am currently artist-in-residence for Make Liverpool CIC at Elevator Studios, Liverpool, UK. I have exhibited and sold work internationally—most notably to singer Miley Cyrus. My recent group exhibitions include The New Flesh, VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada (2015), the Woon Foundation Prize shortlist show, BALTIC 39 (2016) and the Recent Graduates exhibition at the Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London (2016), where I live-streamed a performance for 37.5 hours. My first solo show is upcoming in 2017 at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, UK.


Zzin (Jinhee) Park

Artist Statement:

Drawing upon temporal realities, my painting changes and newly regenerates. Data are gained from observation and literature and reconstructed by my own inference. My experience of staying abroad in New York, Berlin, Seoul and London, and my knowledge of various languages gave more comprehensive viewpoints and made me more like me.

Spending one year in London and making duvet paintings (2015–16), my painting has been deconstructed and subdued. Gracefully levitated, London’s air concedes to heterogeneous existences, and contemplation. Its controlled yet muted atmosphere is very different from that of New York’s boisterous yet systematic one. I have been making works that cross these two different rhythms.

My works seem to be roaming and changing every moment. However, the palette links them together, as if in a dream. The overall relaxed tone uplifts the nerves; semi-mechanized, I appear to enjoy such contradictions. They have sometimes seemed to represent the male body, as is clear in these recent sculptural paintings. They breath rhythmically between tension and looseness.

My painting recalls dreamy memories of childhood. One misses this most beloved time, though it is an inherent space already in their consciousness. The works reorganize virtual space inside this faint recollection so one can leap over from a real world. I create a transitional space enabling one to correspond with this archetypal memory.


Jinhee Park (b. 1984 in Seoul) is a MA student at Royal College of Art, London, and studied for his BFA at the School of Visual Arts, New York. He has had exhibitions in New York, Berlin, Seoul and London, and was awarded an Art-Uni-On scholarship (funded by Hyundai Motor Company and Seoul National University). 

Oscar Wilde famously suggested great art must “reveal beauty and hide the artist.” For the 2017 BLACK MIRROR exhibition at SPRING/BREAK, more than 100 curators will feature artworks that explore the dance of identity the artist undergoes—between showing what’s unseen and hiding in plain sight—especially in the face of modern technology, political unrest, and glimmers from ghosts of Art History’s past.

Guest passes are available here. Proceeds from guest passes help support our initiative to offer free exhibition space to independent curators. We appreciate your continued support of our program!

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