New Orleans artist Deborah Luster is the winner of the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art, given by the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston. The $10,000 prize is presented to an artist whose work contributes to a new understanding of art in the South. The museum received over 275 submissions from artists in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
The other finalists included Aldwyth, Andrea Keys Connell, Kevin Jerome Everson, George Jenne, and Ebony G. Patterson.
Luster, who is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery, is known for her series One Big Self, for which she made thousands portraits of inmates in the Louisiana prison system, and another series, Tooth for an Eye, stark black-and-white images of desolate landscapes where murders have occurred. Luster’s work is informed by her mother’s murder in 1988.
A selection of photographs from Tooth for an Eye will be featured in the Gibbes exhibition “The Things We Carry: Contemporary Art in the South,” scheduled to open in the spring of 2016.