Karen Rifas wins The Ellies: Michael Richards Award

October 23, 2019


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Karen Rifas receives this year’s Michael Richards Award. This award was created in tribute to Michael Richards (1963–2001), an incisive, provocative and poetic artist whose body of work primarily addresses racial inequity and social injustice. An Oolite Arts alum, Richards passed away tragically in his art studio in the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The award of $75,000 celebrates a Miami-Dade artist who has created a recognized body of high-quality works, and who is achieving the highest levels of professional distinction in the visual arts through their practice. The award will support this practice over a two-year period, including a commission to create a work of art to be exhibited at The Bass. Rifas, who was chosen by a jury of national and local artists and curators, has amassed a body of work that endeavors to understand and reimagine space. Well known for her minimal cord and leaf installations, and precise, methodical line drawings, Rifas began a focused exploration into the constructive possibilities of color in 2016. Her most recent solo exhibition, at The Bass in 2018, opened to acclaim, and follows solo shows at the Museum of Art and Design at Miami Dade College, the de la Cruz Collection and the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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