The Houston Chronicle reports that Texas visual artist Robyn O’Neil has won the richest art prize in North America — the Hunting Prize, sponsoring by the oil services company, Hunting PLC.
The company launched the prize in 1981 to recognize an artist from the United Kingdom before moving it to Houston in 2006. More than 1,500 artists submitted digital files last fall for the first round of judging. Each artist entered one two-dimensional painting or drawing no larger than 72 inches on any side. The contest was open to established, emerging and amateur artists from across Texas.
O’Neil was chosen from 129 finalists in the second round of judging for her graphite drawing A death, a fall, a march: toward a better world.
Previous Texas winners include Houston artist Francesca Fuchs in 2006, Michael Tole of Irving in 2007 and Wendy Wagner of Houston in 2008.
O’Neil is known for her haunting, surreal landscapes with their barren snowfields and their solitary symbols: a fallen owl, a floating tree branch, a horse with its head smudged out. She also once autographed her underwear for Howard Stern. In Dallas, her work has been shown at the DMA and at Dunn and Brown Contemporary Gallery.