Kylie Ford, an assistant professor of art at Fairmont State University, was awarded a solo exhibition through Real Art Ways in Hartford, Connecticut, that was partially funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Her work, Places/Space, is a site-responsive installation that explores the historic, architectural and functional correlations between West Virginia and Real Art Ways. Her sculptures and prints examine the various methods in which we socially understand and differentiate social, economic, and geographic differences between regions in the United States. Places/Spaces is a collection of sculpture and prints that attempt to directly tie West Virginia to Hartford using Real Art Ways as a conduit.
“'Places/Space' is a visual correlation between my home region of West Virginia and the venue of Real Art Ways (RAW),” Ford said. "The subjects of my work directly reference my home or the architecture at RAW as a means to explore the formal and conceptual relationship between place and space.”
The award meant having the space, time and support to bring new ideas to fruition, Ford mentioned, as well as the opportunity to challenge herself to integrate new concepts and inspirations within her work.
"I also valued the fortune of working with the amazing team of arts professionals at Real Art Ways to further my creative practice,” she said. "My initial response upon reading the Real Art Award acceptance email was a feeling of immense excitement, especially after seeing the competitive nature of the award and learning that I was one of six recipients out of 286 applicants to be chosen for this honor.”
Ford holds undergraduate degrees in Art Education and Studio Art with a 3D concentration from Fairmont State University and a Master of Fine Arts from Maine College of Art. She has also completed a summer intensive residency at Chautauqua School of Art in Chautauqua, New York and has recently been juried into the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh.
"Throughout this process, I have been so impressed by the depth in which Kylie has researched and considered the spatial and artistic history of Hartford and Real Art Ways,” said Real Art Ways Visual Arts Manager Neil Daigle Orians. “Her new works exhibited here utilize previously established methods and interests in architecture and place examined through a specific lens of Real Art Ways.”
The Real Art Awards is an annual juried competition open at no cost to emerging artists from the six New England states, New York and New Jersey. Winners are selected from hundreds of entrants. Each selected artist receives a $2,500 cash prize and a solo exhibition at Real Art Ways. The Real Art Awards is supported in part by the National Endowment of the Arts and The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation.
Real Art Ways is a contemporary arts center with a history of supporting artists. Founded in 1975, Real Art Ways presents visual art, with exhibitions, public art projects, and artist talks; cinema, with independent and international films seven days a week; music; performance; literary events; community and educational programs.