The overtly religious paintings hung side-by-side with the secular ones like Lu Cong’s The Canary Bride (right, oil, 80×48), a stark minimalist portrait of a young woman with pearls. Granted an observer might argue that Cong’s bride looks a bit virginal. In September 2005, the editors of Southwest Art chose Cong as an emerging artist in our annual 21 Under 31 themed issue.
On Saturday night, the editors at Southwest Art also awarded Cong an award of excellence—it was a tough call with more than 120 wonderful paintings on view. But there was the sense with this award we were bringing our 2005 discovery and introduction of Cong full cycle. Ben McPherson and Dan McCaw received Southwest Art’s two other awards of excellence. The show is on view through Oct. 23.