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Margo Sawyer wins 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship


margo sawyer in black and white jacket

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship awards to 173 scholars, artists, and scientists this past Friday, April 6, including The University of Texas at Austin Studio Art Professor Margo Sawyer. Each fellowship recipient is granted $45,000 to support future creative endeavors. 

Since its establishment in 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has granted more than $360 million in Fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, poets laureate, members of the various national academies, and winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Turing Award, National Book Awards, and other important, internationally recognized honors.

Recognized for her prior achievements and significant contributions to the field, Sawyer’s selection for the Guggenheim Fellowship comes on the heels of the tenth anniversary of Houston’s Discovery Green where one of Sawyer’s most celebrated works, Synchronicity of Color, Red & Blue (2008), resides. From site-specific installations to public art, Sawyer’s artistic practice investigates the relationship between space and transcendence. In a review of her latest exhibition at Holly Johnson gallery in Dallas, Glasstire’s Christina Rees writes, “[Reflect, 2017] is incredibly evocative of Buddhist notions of contemplation, meditation, deliberateness — that delicious push-pull of an active mind that’s also deeply relaxed.”

public artwork synchronicity of color red and blue

Synchronicity of Color (Red & Blue), 2008

Sawyer’s work explores the places where architecture and ritual converge to create transcendent qualities that encourage a state of contemplation within the viewer. The central actor in her work is color. Through color, Sawyer joins exquisite objects and materials into domestic spaces, and turns large public spaces into intimate refuges. 

“The Guggenheim Fellowship would allow me time and resources to cultivate designs of spaces transcendent,” Sawyer said in the Austin American-Statesman’s coverage. “Public places that foster contemplation.”