It's the time of year when attention turns to Guild Hall's Annual Artists Members Exhibition. Winning Top Honors is a big deal. All winners receive a solo show at the museum's Spiga Gallery. Knowing that a solo museum show is waiting can push an artist to create new work, develop a series or drive their creativity in unexpected directions, according to artists who have already gone through the process.

With Stephanie Brody-Lederman winning the 2013 Top Honors, it seemed timely to wander through the past to spotlight a few of the earlier Top Honors winners of the long-held exhibition. Just for fun, additional artwork images are included to grab a broader view of the artist's work.

Please note that the professional credentials of each judge describes the position held at the time of he or she judged the exhibition.

2012 Top Honors - Mary Ellen Bartley 

Mary Ellen Bartley's photograph was selected by Lilly Wei, independent curator, essayist and critic. Wei writes regularly for Art in America, Art in America.com and is a contributing editor at ARTnews.

Bartley won for her photograph A Road Divided. Her solo show will be held at Guild Hall in 2014. Bartley exhibited recently at The Drawing Room in East Hampton, NY.

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A Road Divided by Mary Ellen Bartley.

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Blumen by Mary Ellen Bartley.

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Hiroshi Sugimoto by Mary Ellen Bartley.

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2011 Top Honors - Christa Maiwald

Christa Maiwald won for her mixed media work Latin Songbirds. The judge was Deborah Cullen, Ph. D., Director of Curatorial Programs at El Museo del Barrio, NY. Maidwald's solo show will be held at Guild Hall from Oct 24 2013 through Jan 15, 2014. Her work was recently exhibited at ILLE Arts in Amagansett, NY.

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Latin Songbirds by Christa Maiwald.

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Dancing With Myself by Christa Maiwald.

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2010 Top Honors - Frank Wimberly

Frank Wimberly's painting was selected for Top Honors by Benjamin Genocchio, an art Critic, The New York Times. Shortly afterwards, Genocchio left the NYT to take a position as the Vice President of Editorial and Editor in Chief of Art + Auction. 

Wimberly's solo exhibition was held in 2012. His work is represented by Spanierman Modern in New York City.

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Tony Williams, Homage by Frank Wimberly, 1996. Acrylic on canvas, 54 x 54 inches.

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Vortex by Frank Wimberly, 1990. Acrylic on canvas, 46 x 46 inches.

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2009 Top Honors - Drew Shiflett 

Drew Shiflett's delicate mixed media artwork was awarded Top Honor by Jodi Hauptman, Curator in the Department of Drawings at The Museum of Modern Art. Her solo show was held at Guild Hall in 2011. Shiflett recently had a solo show at Lesley Heller Workspace in New York City.

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Untitled #63 by Drew Shiflett, 2011. Watercolor, ink, Conte' crayon, graphite, handmade paper. 12.375 x 20.875 x 1 inches. Photography by D. James Dee.

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Untitled #59 - Detail by Drew Shiflett, 2011. Watercolor, handmade paper, cheesecloth. 44.75 x 52.75 x 2.25 inches. Photography by D. James Dee.

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2008 Top Honors - Carolyn Conrad and Elizabeth Sloan Tyler

Both artists work was selected by Linda Yablonsky, Art Critic, Bloomberg News.

Carolyn Conrad creates sculptural tableaus before raising her camera to make photographs with psychological tension. Her work incorporates painting, printmaking, assemblage, sculpture and photography. Some of her art, like the Dyer Lint series, forgoes the photography entirely. Conrad recently had a solo show at The Garner Center at the New England School of Photography in Boston, MA. Her solo show at Guild Hall was held in 2010.

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Zen and the Art of Helter Skelter by Carolyn Conrad. Dyer lint and wood.

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Folding and Hanging by Carolyn Conrad. Dryer lint, wood and brass.

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2007 Top Honors - Kevin Teare and Priscilla Heine. Selected by Faye Hirsch, Senior Art Editor, Art In America.

2006 Top Honors - Jane Martin. Selected by Magdalena Dabrowski, Special Consultant, Nineteenth-Century, Modern and Contemporary Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

2005 Top Honors - Rima Mardoyan. Selected by Holly Block, Director of Art in General.

2004 Top Honors - Linda Alpern. Selected by Tracy Bashkoff, Associate Curator for Collections, Guggenheim Museum.

2003 Top Honors - Stephanie Brody-Lederman. Selected by Carolyn Lanchner, Former Curator, Museum of Modern Art.

Before Brody-Lederman won the 2013 Top Honors, she said that the 2003 win allowed her art to receive increased visibility in the "art making and art collecting community" of the Hamptons and New York City.

“And most importantly,” she said, “seeing my work up on the wall of the museum helped me understand where I had come from with my work and the direction in which it was going.”

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Begging the question by Stephanie Brody Lederman. Oil on canvas.

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Moonshine by Stephanie Brody-Lederman. Oil on canvas.

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2002 Top Honors - Darius Yektai. Selected by Amei Wallach, free lance art critic. Yektai's work is the subject of a solo show at Tripoli Gallery of Contemporary Art in Southampton from May 23 through June 20, 2013.

2001 Top Honors - Walter Schwab. Selected by Raphael Rubinstein, Senior Editor, Art in America.

Schwab's win for his photograph Golden Boy was especially meaningful since photographers were only allowed to submit work to the Artists Members Exhibition five years prior to his win, said Schwab. He described winning Top Honor as like "...'winning the impossible dream' as Don Quixote said in Man of La Mancha."

All of the follow photographs depict the same "Golden Boy."

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Golden Boy by Walter Schwab.

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Golden Boy by Walter Schwab. Photograph.

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Golden Boy by Walter Schwab. Photograph.

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BASIC FACTS: Guild Hall's annual Artists Members Exhibition is held every spring. Solo shows are typically held in late fall in the East Hampton museum. The exhibition is open to all artists who are museum members. www.guildhall.org. All of the archival information detailing past Top Honors winners and their respective judges was gathered and supplied by Guild Hall.

RELATED STORIES: "Winners Revealed for Guild Hall's Annual Artists Members Exhibition." Published May 16, 2013.

“People and a Promise Packs the Guild Hall Artists Members Show." Published May 12, 2012.

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