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All-Baltimore Sondheim Prize finalists announced

Baltimore artist Ryan Syrell.
Baltimore artist Ryan Syrell. (Kenneth K. Lam, The Baltimore Sun)

Six artists and one duo, all from Baltimore, have been named as finalists for this year's $25,000 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize.

The finalists, announced Wednesday by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, are Mequitta Ahuja, Zoë Charlton, Benjamin Kelley, Magnolia Laurie, Jim Leach, Ryan Syrell and the duo of Malcolm Lomax and Daniel Wickerham, known as Wickerham & Lomax.

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Work from all seven finalists will be on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art from June 24 through Aug. 9.

The winner of the $25,000 fellowship — established to "assist in furthering the career of a visual artist or visual artist collaborators living and working in the Greater Baltimore region" — will be announced during an awards ceremony and reception scheduled for July 11 at the BMA. The other six finalists will each receive $2,500 honorariums.

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A bit more on the finalists:
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Ahuja, who has been in Baltimore since receiving an artists' residency at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2011, draws on her African-American and East Indian background to to produce figurative paintings and works on paper.

Charlton, an associate professor of art at American University, "creates detailed drawings that explore the ironies of contemporary social and cultural stereotypes," according to a press release.

Kelley, a 2010 masters of fine art graduate of the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art, "re-contextualizes found objects with altered and fabricated structures," driven by "the smell of oak, high heels on glass, and the elegance of precision."

Laurie, a member of the faculty at American University and MICA, "creates detailed paintings and installations that reference the sustained need to try and to build, with sometimes precarious results."

Leach, recipient of the 2012-2014 Rinehart Scholarhsip from MICA, is a sculptor whose work has been exhibited at Baltimore's Creative Alliance and Maryland Art Place, Philadelphia's Vox Populi, Brooklyn's The Gowanus Loft and Cleveland's Legation, A Gallery.

Syrell, who last year received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Art Council for his work in sculpture, produces work that "focuses on the interrelationship between cartooning, abstraction, perception, and the recollection of visual data."

Wickenham & Lomax, who both received their Bachelors of Fine Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2009 and have been collaborating since, "have created a body of work that is focused on the deviation from the digital space to the physical space," working in sculpture, installation, websites, prints, video and performance.

For more information, call 410-752-8632 or go to artscape.org or artbma.org.

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