November 12, 2018

2018 Stone & DeGuire Contemporary Art Award Winners

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis

[1] Jill Downen. Courtesy of the artist. [2] Ebony G. Patterson. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.*

Multimedia artist Ebony G. Patterson and sculptor Jill Downen have won the 2018 Stone & DeGuire Contemporary Art Awards, each receiving 25,000 USD.

Presented by the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, the awards support alumni artists in their studio practices.

“Ebony and Jill are both incredibly strong and ambitious artists,” said Carmon Colangelo, the Ralph J. Nagel Dean of the Sam Fox School. “Ebony’s installations and multimedia projects are conceptually bold, materially complex, and emotionally overwhelming. Jill challenges viewers to explore new perspectives and to acknowledge the limits of their own perceptions. We are deeply proud to support their work.”

An associate professor at the University of Kentucky, Patterson has earned an international reputation for large-scale, richly detailed works that explore questions of race, class, gender, and identity. Her work has been featured in solo shows at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, and the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, among many others, and she has participated in major international group exhibitions such as the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil; Between the Idea and Experience, 12th Havana Biennial; and Jamaica Biennial 2014. She earned her MFA from Washington University in 2006 and is represented by the Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago.

Patterson is using the award to expand sculptural elements already present in her practice, with the aim of developing immersive, larger-than-life garden tableaux. “As the content of my work continues to grow and address more complex issues and questions, I find that I am increasingly seeking to challenge my process in terms of scale and materiality,” she said.

Downen, an assistant professor and chair of sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute, investigates the symbiotic relationship between the human body and architecture. A recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, Downen has created site-specific installations for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, American University, and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. She earned her MFA from Washington University in 2001 and is represented by Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis.

Downen is using the award to develop a permanent outdoor reworking of her installation (dis)Mantle (2010), which she said will serve as a “meditation place for reflection and the contemplation of truth in our post-truth culture.”

"The process of reflection, which leads to new perspectives, is not easily learned in contemporary culture," Downen explained. "A population full of conflict and anxiety is in need of places to slow down to reflect.”

About the award
The Stone & DeGuire Contemporary Art Award honors Nancy Stone DeGuire (1947–2013) and Lawrence R. DeGuire Jr. (1947–2006), who met as undergraduate art students at Washington University, were married, and worked closely together in a studio practice. It was their desire to help fellow alumni artists advance their own studio practices. Created in 2017, the award is given every one to two years. The inaugural recipients were Ericka Beckman and Ian Weaver.

Call for applications
The Sam Fox School is accepting applications for the next round of Stone & DeGuire Contemporary Art Awards. Washington University alumni of the MFA and BFA programs working in the contemporary art forms of sculpture, painting, and expanded mixed media are eligible to apply, with the exception of alumni who are full-time Sam Fox School faculty. Application materials must be submitted online at; the application fee is 10 USD. The deadline is January 15, 2019.

*Full image credits at

Thank you!

An email with a confirmation link has been sent to the email address you entered. To complete your subscription, click this link.