The Department of Art and Art History and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin are pleased to announce artist Merideth Hillbrand as the 2019 recipient of the St. Elmo Arts Residency and fellowship. The residency will take place over the 2019-20 academic year and will include a solo exhibition at the Wildflower Center. 

The St. Elmo Arts residency aims to support emerging artists and the creation of new work by providing dedicated studio and living space in South Austin in addition to a $30,000 award to a newly minted M.F.A. artist in painting, drawing, print, photo, sculpture or multimedia. The success of the fellowship’s inaugural year saw artist Katy McCarthy engaged with the UT Austin community through courses in Transmedia, talks at the Wildflower Center, exhibitions hosted at the South Austin studio, and participation in the city’s West Austin Studio Tour. 

This year’s fellow, Merideth Hillbrand, earned her M.F.A. in Studio Art at University of California, Riverside, this past May, and joins the department this year as a visiting professor in Sculpture. 

“Merideth’s works exhibit a keen sensitivity to architecture, form, and material as she proficiently involves an abundant number of techniques,” said Studio Art faculty and St. Elmo committee member Eric McMaster. “We are very excited for her expertise in making and thoughtful observation to be shared with our students.”

Arranging objects to consider the relations between body and architecture, Hillbrand points toward how our constructed environments, in turn, organize us. Her objects serve as surrogates, stand-ins, and models for thinking about the relationships between how different materials and objects relate or differ. 

“I use a formal language of construction to build with found and hand-made components that are modular and moveable to speak to the potential for multiplicity within an object,” writes Hillbrand. “I find sculpture to be inherently linguistic— mimicking the dialectics, difference, and opposition found in language to investigate wider syntactic meaning.”

In the coming year, Hillbrand will embark on a new chapter in her investigation into the transformative qualities of materials while deepening her practice of art as a conversation through public programming and a final exhibition at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. 

“Art is one lens through which people can connect with and communicate about the environment, and the natural world has been an inspiration for artists throughout human history,” said Patrick Newman, executive director of the Wildflower Center. “We are excited to welcome Merideth and see our environment in new ways through her work.” 
About the Department of Art and Art History
The Department of Art and Art History at The University of Texas at Austin includes the divisions of Art Education, Art History and Studio Art. It reflects the rigorous standards of a flagship institution, while offering an intimate environment for students to train as scholars, artists and educators in the arts.

About the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
As the Botanic Garden of Texas, The University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center inspires the conservation of native plants through its public gardens, education and conservation programs, research, and consulting work. It is internationally renowned for its leading role as a champion of native plants and resilient landscapes.
About the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin 
The College of Fine Arts educates artists, scholars and future arts educators in a context that emphasizes artistic excellence, advanced technology, cultural diversity and best professional practices. The college places a high priority on research and the creation of new work through its many divisions and departments, including among others, the Butler School of Music, the Department of Art and Art History, the Department of Theatre and Dance, the School of Design and Creative Technologies, Texas Performing Arts, the university’s arts presenting organization, and Landmarks, the university’s public art program. A comprehensive visual and performing arts college, degree concentrations from the B.A. to Ph.D. are offered in classical music and composition to acting, dance and scenic design to studio art and arts education, as well as the scholarly study of the arts in a broad range of disciplines.  

Sept. 9, 2019
Faculty & Staff
Studio Art