The Jacqueline Casey Hudgens Center for the Arts has awarded the Hudgens Prize to Gyun Hur. At the November 30th awards ceremony, Hur received a $50,000 cash prize along with an invitation for a solo exhibition at the Hudgens Center for the Arts in December of 2011. One piece has been selected for the Hudgens Center’s permanent collection.
Hur, a transplant from Taegu, Korea, completed a Bachelors of Art in Painting at the University of Georgia, followed by a Masters of Fine Art in Sculpture from SCAD Atlanta just two years ago. Hur’s work explores elements of the ephemeral nature of beauty and life through installations of re-appropriated garments carefully arranged into immaculate, streamlined patterns. Her work for the finalist’s exhibition, entitled She Prays Happiness, continues her series of intricate rainbow installations, in which deconstructed silk flowers inspire recollections of her past and ties to Korea and her family. (You can view these family ties on Hur’s blog, which reveals her parents assisting in creating her installations.)
With experience in installation, painting, sculpture, and performance, Hur is a well-rounded, albeit young, contender for the prize. The four other finalists were Jiha Moon, Hope Hilton, Scott Ingram, and Ruth Dusseault.
Many hope that the Hudgens Prize will help elevate Georgia’s art profile, as the prize is one of the largest allotments currently awarded artists worldwide. It’s hard to say what effect the prize will have on anyone other than Hur, however; the prize was slated to be a one-time, winner takes all opportunity rather than an annual event. Atlanta’s arts community can only hope that the anonymous donors who financed the cash prize will be able to furnish more awards in the future. Indeed, it would be nice to find that this was only the beginning of a generous and exciting tradition, followed, perhaps, by a smaller, annual prize.
Works by the five finalists, including Hur’s piece, She Prays Happiness, are currently on display at the Hudgens Center until February 19th. Graciously, the center is waiving its entry fee for the month of December.