The Department of English at the University of Rochester honored digital artist Cary Peppermint as this year's Lillian Fairchild Award recipient, during a ceremony on Friday, Jan 31.
The annual award is given to a Rochester-area resident who has "created extraordinary artistic work in any artistic medium in the past year." Rosemary Kegel, chair of the English department said the selection committee chose Peppermint for his portfolio of innovative and collaborative projects, which include Basecamp.exe, a workshop and art installation that explores environmental awareness, and INDUSTRIAL WILDERNESS, an online and community-based artwork that explores connections between industry and nature.
"One of the things I try to do as an artist who works with new and emerging technologies is to somehow interrupt the use of those technologies so that it causes people an unexpected or renewed awakening or sensibility of those devices being in our lives," said Peppermint, an professor of art at Rochester.
Peppermint and his partner Leila Nadir, a writer and lecturer on sustainability at Rochester, are the co-founders of EcoArtTech, a collaboration that explores technology and environmentally focused work with other artists and organizations. Their work, which uses new media to inspire awareness of nature in everyday life, can currently be found in the collections of the Whitney Museum, Walker Art Center, and New Museum. Their research has received awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In 2013, the pair created Indeterminate Hikes (IH+), an art app for mobile devices that encourages participants to experience nature in unexpected urban spaces.
Established by University of Rochester Professor Herman L. Fairchild in 1924, the award is in memory of his daughter, an accomplished designer who died of tuberculosis at the age of 32. It is given out annually to a local visual artist, writer, or composer for his or her commitment to the arts in the Rochester area. Peppermint is the first digital artist to receive the award for visual arts. In the past, the awards have been given for painting and drawing, sculpting, and printmaking.
"I feel honored to receive this year's Fairchild Award," said Peppermint. "It's incredibly humbling to see my name associated with such an important and longstanding award."
For more information on Peppermint and Nadir's work, visit http://ecoarttech.org/