US artist June Edmonds has been named the inaugural winner of the $10,000 Aware Prize at the Armory Show. Presented by the Paris-based nonprofit Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions, (Aware), the juried award goes to one female artist whose work is shown as a solo booth presentation within the fair’s Galleries section.
"There are a lot of prizes today, but very few women [get them],” Aware cofounder Camille Morineau says. “A few years ago we launched a French Aware prize in Paris, and when I was invited by the Armory to walk through the fair [around then], I became conscious that there were quite a lot of women in the fair and solo booths, and this felt new, interesting and strong.”
Edmonds was unanimously selected by the jurors who coalesced around the discovery of her new Flag Paintings—a brand new body of work presented by Luis de Jesus Los Angeles gallery at this year’s Armory Show. “We were all flabbergasted by Edmond’s work. I think that’s what fairs are about, discovering work and having strong experiences of the art that is beyond words,” Morineau says. "I didn’t know June’s work well, and fairs are a place of surprises and a place to learn. I hope that the prize will be about sharing these surprising and strong moments with other people.”
“We are very proud to partner with Camille Morineau and Aware for this year’s Armory Show,” says Eliza Osborne, the fair’s deputy director. “Her thoughtful and erudite commentary on the work of women artists address our greatest goal—to give a platform to and to reward exceptional work.”
Other shortlisted artists included Rina Banerjee (Galerie Nathalie Obadia), Yuko Nasaka (Axel Vervoordt Gallery), Aase Texmon Rygh (OSL contemporary) and Alexis Smith (Garth Greenan Gallery).