BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) has
announced that David Schirm of Batavia, professor of visual studies
at the University at Buffalo, has received one of its 2012 Artist
He is one of 94 recipients in five disciplines, and one of 32 in
the field of painting, selected by a statewide panel of their peers
out of 4,317 applicants. Each will receive an award of $7,000 to be
used in any manner the artist chooses.
Schirm heads the Painting Program in the UB Department of Visual
Studies, and his paintings subvert traditional landscape imagery in
insistent, powerful and unnerving commentaries on social, cultural
and environmental abuses.
Some recent work focuses on the destruction of life on earth,
and it serves as a dire warning, at best, or at worst, reportage.
In more than one, blood fountains up from the ground in plant
forms, soaking the surrounding land. In another it splatters across
a serene blue visual field. In another it represents either a blood
red sky or a burning earth against which birds migrate northward.
In "End," one iconic iceberg floats in a sea of blood.
And from the land of cultural abuse comes "Madonna Con," an
unsettling painting that references the Madonna Con Leche paintings
and fuses humor with the succor offered by the political
Schirm has received a variety of awards and grants, including a
New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship in Drawing and Fulbright
Fellowships in 1995 and 2004. These took him to India and to Sri
Lanka, where he helped the Institute of Aesthetics at Sri Lanka's
Eastern University develop a fine arts graduate degree.
Schirm received his MFA in painting from Indiana University,
Bloomington and, before joining the UB faculty, taught at Carnegie
Mellon University, the University of Cincinnati, UCLA, the
University of Southern California and the Otis/Parsons School of
Art and Design.
His work has been exhibited widely. Major exhibitions include
the Carnegie International exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art
and "Directions" at the Hirshhorn Museum.
The NYFA's Artist Fellowship Program was launched in 1985 and
since then has distributed more than $26 million in unrestricted
cash grants to artists in 15 disciplines at critical stages in
their careers. Past recipients include the winners of five Academy
Awards, five Tony Awards, eight Pulitzer Prizes and 15 MacArthur
"genius grant" Fellowships.