ICA Foster Prize Winners

Cicely Carew, Venetia Dale, and Yu-Wen Wu

By: - Mar 29, 2023

Cicely Carew, Venetia Dale, and Yu-Wen Wu have been named the recipients of the 2023 James and Audrey Foster Prize Exhibition. Their exhibition at the ICA, on view August 24–January 2, will encompass a wide range of media—from sculpture and installation to time-based media and works on paper—examining how each of the Boston-area artists uniquely engages with the theme of states of change, the passage of time, and transformation. The 2023 James and Audrey Foster Prize Exhibition is organized by Anni A. Pullagura, curatorial assistant.

“Jim and Audrey Foster’s support of the exhibition and prize program have made it possible for the ICA to highlight some of the most exciting new art being made in Boston today, and we are ever thankful,” said Jill Medvedow, the Ellen Matilda Poss Director of the ICA. “This cross-generational trio of artists brings a spectrum of perspectives to this year’s exhibition, and we look forward to sharing their vision with all our audiences.”

“We are pleased to congratulate the 2023 Foster Prize artists. Their unique perspectives will bring a dynamic energy to the galleries,” the Fosters added. “Their work illustrates the creativity and diversity of Boston’s artistic community today.”

This year’s selection of artists for the James and Audrey Foster Prize Exhibition is informed by sustained and ongoing conversations with artists in Boston working through tenuous moments of social, political, and personal transition. The projects exhibited this year explore the idea of states of change, whether that refers to changes in personal or professional lives, the changing forces in our relational or ecological lives, or the very nature of materials undergoing transformation in the making of an artwork.

James and Audrey Foster endowed the prize and the exhibition to nurture and recognize exceptional Boston-area artists. First established in 1999, the James and Audrey Foster Prize (formerly the ICA Artist Prize) expanded its format when the museum opened its new facility in 2006.

Artist Biographies

Cicely Carew (b. 1982 in Los Angeles) wields the formal, material, and sculptural aspects of painting to evoke feelings of radical joy, hope, and liberation. Her works explore the fleeting magic of the present through vibrant color, rebellious mark-making, sweeping gestures, and references to the terrestrial and cosmic worlds. In addition to group exhibitions and commissions by Now + There at the Prudential Center in Boston, she has had solo exhibitions at the Fitchburg Art Museum, The Commons in Provincetown, Northeastern University, and Simmons University. She is the recipient of the 2021 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award, an Artful Seeds Fellowship, and a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award. Her work is in the collections of Fidelity, Simmons University, Northeastern University, the Cambridge Arts Council, and the Federal Reserve of Boston. In addition to her studio practice, she is a wellness coach and educator as the 2021–22 Artist in Residence at Shady Hill School, teaching workshops for the New Art Center in Newton and screen printing for Lesley University. Carew earned a B.F.A. from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a M.F.A. from Lesley University’s College of Art + Design, and resides with her son in Cambridge, MA.

Venetia Dale (b. 1981 in Winfield, IL) is an artist, mother, and educator living and working in Boston. Her sculptures—made of cast pewter, a malleable metal commonly found in historical kitchenware—and fiber artworks piece together fragments of mundane objects into new associations, drawing from food leftover from her children’s meals, to unfinished embroidery and hand-hooked rugs she sources online. She is interested in the material histories of embroidery and pewter in connection to the anonymous stewards who keep things clean, fixed, and loved. She re-contextualizes visible forms of care, growth, and change to evoke the intimacy and generative potential of domestic life. Dale has participated in group exhibitions at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (forthcoming), National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Villa Terrace Museum, and the Racine Art Museum, among others. Her work has been shown at 92nd Street Y Tribeca Gallery, Proof Gallery, and SOIL Gallery. She was the 2019 Polly Starr Thayer Visiting Artist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Prior, she was a resident artist at the Kohler Factory in 2013 and at the Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2010. Dale exhibits nationally and her work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Metal Museum in Tennessee, and the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Wisconsin.

Yu-Wen Wu (born in Taipei, Taiwan) is a Boston-based interdisciplinary artist. Wu’s subjectivity as an immigrant is central to her artwork, which examines issues of displacement, arrival, assimilation, and the shape of identity in a new country. At the crossroads of art, science, politics, and social issues, her practice includes drawing, sculpture, site-specific video installations, community engaged practices, and public art. Wu recently exhibited Lantern Stories at Chin Park in Boston’s Chinatown, a widely acclaimed commission by the Greenway Conservancy in 2020 and reinstalled in 2022; a similar project commissioned for San Francisco Chinatown also opened permanently in 2022. Other large-scale commissioned works include The Poetry of Reason, a recent wall sculpture spanning two stories at the Joyce Cummings Center at Tufts University, and Terrain, a 38-foot-long sculptural drawing for the Chao Center at Harvard Business School. Wu’s recent exhibitions include DISPLACED: Contemporary Artists Confront the Global Refugee Crisis at SITE Santa Fe, NM in 2020; her solo exhibition Internal Navigations at Praise Shadows Art Gallery in 2021; and her presentation at Independent Art Fair 2022 recognized by New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz as one of “The Best New York Art Shows of 2022." Wu is the recipient of the 2019 inaugural Prilla Smith Brackett Award and the 2021 Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship. Her work is included in several public and private collections, including Harvard Art Museums, the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Tufts University Art Galleries, the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, and the Weisman Art Museum.