Thomas Broadbent Wins 2016 PULSE Prize for Out-of-This-World Artwork

He was selected among 14 total nominees.

Thomas Broadbent, Lunar Mosaic (Challenger Craters).
Photo: courtesy Front Room Gallery.

PULSE NY has announced that Thomas Broadbent has won the 2016 PULSE Prize for his outer space-themed “Inertia” series, presented by Williamsburg’s Front Room Gallery.

Selected from among 14 total nominees, each of whom exhibited a mini-solo show at the fair, Broadbent walks with a $2,500 cash grant.

Thomas Broadbent, "Inertia" at PULSE New York.<br>Photo: courtesy PULSE New York.

Thomas Broadbent, “Inertia” at PULSE New York.
Photo: courtesy PULSE New York.

Broadbent’s win follows that of Trong Gia Nguyen, who took home the top honor at the fair’s most recent Miami edition for his work at Milan’s mc2gallery.

Inspired by outer space exploration, Broadbent’s “Inertia” imagery draws heavily on NASA space photography.

The booth includes two entrancing sculptures of near-Earth asteroids cast in porcelain. In his other works on view, asteroids are rendered in beautifully-detailed watercolors, but the black emptiness of space that surrounds such bodies has been replaced with the white of the page.

Broadbent gives an astronaut on a space walk a similar treatment, as the man floating in a stark white expanse. This surreal inversion adds to the sense of loneliness and isolation. The history of the space program is referenced in Lunar Mosaic (The Challenger Craters), a multi-sheet watercolor work tiled together in much the same way NASA once had to combine individual photographs to capture larger views of the Moon’s surface.

Thomas Broadbent, <em>Spaceman</em>.<br>Photo: courtesy PULSE New York.

Thomas Broadbent, Spaceman.
Photo: courtesy PULSE New York.

“There’s something kind of retro and futuristic about it at the same time,” Daniel Aycock, the gallery’s co-owner, told artnet News, pointing out that the Moon landings happened decades ago.

The other nominees for the 2016 New York Prize were Isidro Blasco at Black and White Gallery, Jaq Chartier at William Baczek Fine Arts, Lars van Dooren at Honey Ramka, Oliver Dorfer at Hilger NEXT, Tony Gum at Christopher Moller Gallery, Sergei Isupov at Ferrin Contemporary, Brookhart Jonquil at Emerson Dorsch, Ryan McGinness at Lower East Side Printshop, Ciro Quintana (Acacia Gallery), Yumi Janairo Roth at Sienna Patti, Hiba Schahbaz at Thierry Goldberg Gallery, Sue Williams A’Court at bo.lee gallery, Bradley Wood at Sim Smith Gallery.

Thomas Broadbent, <em>Neo</em>.<br /> Photo: courtesy PULSE New York.

Thomas Broadbent, Neo.
Photo: courtesy PULSE New York.

“Most art, especially at art fairs, looks a whole lot like other art,” judge and artnet News contributor Anthony Haden-Guest wrote in an e-mail to artnet News. “Thomas Broadbent’s work absolutely stood out for me. Also, I really like the idea of meteorites as found objects.”

Matthew Israel, Artsy’s curator-at-large; Larry Ossei-Mensah, curator and ARTNOIR co-founder; and Hrag Vartanian, Editor-in-chief of Hyperallergic joined Haden-Guest on the jury.

PULSE New York is on view at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, March 3–6, 2016.

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