Tackling violence and sociopolitical concerns, Bernardo Vallarino receives the Meadows Museum 2020 Moss/Chumley North Texas Artist Award . BY TERRI PROVENCAL PHOTOGRAPHY BY BERNARDO VALLARINO
ernardo Vallarino, a Colombian-American mixed-media sculptor and installation artist who explores themes of human suffering, social injustice, and geopolitical conflicts, and their correlating apathy, has won the Moss/Chumley North Texas Artist Award. Established in 1995, the award is presented annually to an outstanding North Texas artist who has exhibited professionally for at least ten years and has established a proven track record as a community advocate for the visual arts. Known for engaging his audiences visually, morally, and philosophically, Vallarino holds a BFA from Texas Christian University and an MFA in sculpture from Texas Woman’s University in sculpture. Vallarino’s work has been exhibited at the Amarillo Museum of Art, the Dishman Art Museum at Lamar University, the Arlington Museum of Art, and North Texas gallery and art spaces, including Ro2 Art and Artspace111. The Moss/Chumley Memorial fund was established in 1989 by Frank Moss and the Meadows Museum as a tribute to Jim Chumley, with Moss’ name added to the fund posthumously in 1991. Both art dealers, the pair operated Nimbus Gallery in Uptown and the Moss/Chumley Gallery at the Crescent Court from 1986 to 1989 and made their own outstanding contributions to the visual arts in North Texas during the 1980s. In addition to pursuing his own practice, Vallarino, a 2019 graduate of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture’s Leadership Institute, is the coordinator of the Fort Worth Art Collective, a multidisciplinary group of artists who promote “compelling raw talent” through a variety of spaces. He is a board member of Art Room, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting underrepresented youth and adult artists in the Fort Worth community through sustainable programs and arts education. As well, he is a board member and gallery programming chair for Artes
de la Rosa Cultural Center for the Arts, a venue for Latino art and cultural performances. As a committee member of Nuestro Kimbell, he has served with a group of Latino civic and community leaders who, together with Kimbell Art Museum staff, plan and produce dual-language museum resources. Employing formal elements, plurality, scale, and anonymity, Vallarino’s own work confronts topics of violence and its resulting victims by bringing awareness to the toll of human suffering. “It is part of the human experience to avoid pain, and humanity prefers to ignore painful truths rather than to confront them. As an artist addressing social issues, I feel a responsibility to create artworks that evoke questions with respect to our own behaviors towards others,” imparts Vallarino. Shelley DeMaria, curatorial assistant for the Meadows Museum and chair of the Moss/Chumley jury stated, “We found Vallarino’s work aesthetically and conceptually impactful and were impressed by the manner in which he addresses relevant and pressing social issues with quietly powerful visuals that draw viewers in, facilitating careful consideration and meaningful conversations.” The jury for the 2020 Moss/Chumley award included De Maria; artist, curator, and writer Carolyn Sortor; Leigh Arnold, associate curator, Nasher Sculpture Center; Anne Lenhart, collections manager, Meadows Museum; and David Sedman, interim chair of the art department, associate professor of film and media arts, and associate dean, Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University. Juror Carolyn Sortor, a past Moss/Chumley recipient, believes Vallarino’s work “successfully integrates urgent sociopolitical concerns with beautiful and moving aesthetic forms. His works evince sensitivity, complexity, and depth, and I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to help bring more attention to his work.” P
From left: Bernardo Vallarino, Tribute to Grandma's Sacrifice, 2020, lace, faux dollars, white cloth, bandana, and gold leaf, 90 x 40 in. ; Bernardo Vallarino, iPhone selfie; Bernardo Vallarino, Carved Souls with Help (detail), 2018, paper, carved donated immigrant shoes, soil, installation 25 x 8 x 4 ft. All photographs courtesy of the artist.