NYFA Distinguished Artist Awards Go to Merion Estes and Mario Martinez

Merion Estes, Desolation Row, Fabric collage and acrylic on printed fabric, 2013.


The New York Foundation for the Arts has announced the winners of its 2017 Murray Reich Distinguished Artist Award: Merion Estes and Mario Martinez. Now in its third year, the award—named for the artist and educator Murray Reich, who died in 2012—honors established visual artists over the age of 50 and comes with $10,000 in unrestricted funds.

Nominees were selected by an anonymous group of art world professionals, and then nominees were asked to submit proposals to be reviewed by a panel made up of artists Cynthia Carlson, Alan Michelson, and Sanford Wurmfield; editor and educator Marcia E. Vetrocq; and art critic/curator John Yau.

Estes is known for mixed-media works that depict human’s relationship to nature. The Los Angeles-based artist plans to use her award to create a catalogue raisonné that will accompany an exhibition of her work at the Los Angeles Craft and Folk Art Museum in fall 2018. New York-based Martinez paints abstract scenes that draw on his heritage as a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona and plans to make large-scale murals with the money from his award.

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