Big Medium, an Austin-based organization that supports contemporary artists, has announced Rodell Warner as the 2023 Tito’s Prize awardee.
Now in its sixth year, the annual prize is funded by Tito’s Handmade Vodka and grants one Austin-area artist an unrestricted award of $15,000 and a solo exhibition. Last year’s Tito’s Prize winner was sculptural artist Tammie Rubin. This year’s artist was selected by a curatorial panel including Erika Mei Chua Holum, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Assistant Curator at the Blaffer Art Museum; Phillip Townsend, the Curator of Art at Art Galleries at Black Studies (AGBS) at The University of Texas at Austin; and Coka Treviño, Curator and Director of Programming at Big Medium.
Regarding the significance of the award, Mr. Warner stated, “Immediately for me the Tito’s Prize means that I’m able to focus on projects that I would otherwise not be able to devote enough time to. My 3D-modeling work is particularly labor-intensive because I don’t typically use any scanning tools. Instead, I manually build my models by drawing in virtual 3D space… Sculpting a face and head could take me weeks. This kind of work doesn’t usually generate income for me in the short-term so, often, projects involving 3D-modeling (which include some of my most important work) have to take a back seat to projects that more quickly generate income.”
Mr. Warner also explained that the funding will enable him to use his time to experiment and refine new ways of working which ultimately will expand his practice. Though Mr. Warner, a Trinidadian artist, has been in Austin for four years, all of his solo exhibitions and larger projects have been overseas, in cities like Toronto, Canada; Nassau, The Bahamas; Port of Spain, Trinidad; and Johannesburg, South Africa.
The solo exhibition that comes with the prize will be his first major exhibition in the city. As of last month, Big Medium has moved out of its longtime gallery space at the Canopy complex. Details about the location of Mr. Warner’s solo exhibition have not yet been shared.
Learn more about the Tito’s Prize at the Big Medium website, and read about Mr. Warner below, via his biography provided by Big Medium.
Rodell Warner (b. 1986) is a Trinidadian artist working primarily in new media and photography. His works have been exhibited at The Art Gallery of Ontario in Fragments of Epic Memory in 2021, at The Whitney Museum of American Art in the 2016 Dreamlands exhibition as part of the collective video project Ways of Something, and at The National Gallery of Jamaica in the 2016 exhibition Digital. Mr. Warner is a recipient of the 2011 Commonwealth Connections International Arts Residency, the 2014 summer residency at NLS Kingston, and, recently, The World Reimagined Residency and commission in England and Scotland in 2022. Mr. Warner lives and works between Port of Spain in Trinidad, Kingston in Jamaica, and Austin, Texas, in the U.S.