The 2023 Recipients

PAAM congratulates the recipients of The 2023 Artist Grant: Brian Cirmo of Albany, NY; Frederick Hayes of NY, NY; Catherine McCarthy of Boston, MA; Terri Rolland of Sante Fe, NM; and Elizabeth Thach of Brighton, MA.

The artists were awarded a total of $36,000 and will have a group exhibition at PAAM in 2024.

The Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Grant is awarded annually to under-recognized American painters over the age of 45 who demonstrate financial need. The mission of this grant is to promote public awareness of and a commitment to American art, and to encourage interest in artists who lack adequate recognition. The Orlowsky and Freed Grant was started in 2010. There have been 40 recipients to date with more than $375,000 being dispersed to under-recognized American painters over the age of 45.


Brian Cirmo

I have spent the past two decades traveling throughout the country visiting museums, large cities, small towns, national parks, civil war battlefields, assassination sites, graveyards, and national monuments. I am a lifelong student of the vast profundity of American music as well as a glutton for American history, literature, western painting, film, comic strips, and cartoons. These interests and practices are harvested and used within my process to create intertextuality in the paintings. Greil Marcus, the American author, music journalist, and cultural critic writes, “There is no theme richer for the American artist than the spirit and the themes of the country and the country’s history. We have never figured out what this place is about or what it is for, and the only way to even begin to answer those questions is to watch our movies, read our poets, our novelists, and listen to our music… America is the life’s work of American artists because they are doomed to be American.”

Frederick Hayes

I make portraits of African Americans and other imagery that reflect my personal experiences and interest in the urban environment. My work is part history, part document and fiction with an emphasis on the singular image that has multiple readings and multiple images with a singular focus. I work across medial including drawing, painting, and sculpture and my images while locked into portraiture tend to view everything through the lens of portraits, whether its a car, a brick wall, a cityscape or a person. For me each image shares a human presence and spirituality that can only be found in the city and within my personal experiences. Of particular interest to me are the working class African Americans and how their presence is perceived through the headshot (mugshot), not fully formed only an expendable mass of humanity that lacks a physical presence or at least that physical presence is not respected or acknowledged as it should be. That lack of acknowledgement drives me.

Catherine McCarthy

Forging an understanding of my place in the world, in light of an identity that includes gender, family and memory, has been the subject of my paintings for the past forty years. ‘The world’ refers to both one’s inner construct and one’s tactile reality. My current series of paintings embrace the art historical and familial to explore the inner and outer life of a woman alive in the 21st century. The series expands a narrative that I began over twenty-three years ago in my series ‘Beautiful Girls’. That series grappled head-on with identity, relationships and the transition from girlhood to womanhood. In this current series of works my inquiry progresses into the elemental and eternal incarnation of the feminine.

Terri Rolland

Over the years, I’ve reduced my images toward a singular, elemental picture. Painting should provide a visually surprising experience that is bold and contemplative. I use abstract figuration that suggests land or monolithic shapes against sky. Using three delineated areas of color, I eliminate psychic noise to build a vibrational optic intensity. I use saturated colors against a neutral tone to build chromatic vitality, and apply smeared layers with brushes and rubber tools, and activate the paint by scraping or wiping. The result is a velvety, condensed surface that can seem like flesh, concrete, or tree bark. My work is steeped in the tradition of abstraction and modernist landscape painting, but I also consider my East-Coast, working-class roots and my queer sensibility to be factors in the development of my aesthetic. This means tactile, matte surfaces, blunt simplicity of form, and a straightforward use of materials to create a sense of something substantial, and well-formed.

Elizabeth Thach

I make paintings that are inspired by the human psyche and how humans negotiate their emotional lives via spaces, and words and images. Myths and symbols interest me, as does the tension between personal versus communal narratives. I am continually drawn to historical fragments. My work is strongly influenced by traditional European still-life painting, but rooted in abstract painting, and with visual references to popular culture, history, politics, and dreams. Images like “Untitled (TV/ Allegory of the cave)” and “Museum” explore language and language fragments using hieroglyphic characters and Egyptian decorative elements. My paintings emerge as the result of repeated accumulations of different paint layers over time, which also evokes my interest in artifacts and the effect of time on material culture.


Tim Doud

Tim Doud’s artwork addresses two seemingly distinct bodies of work, one figurative and one abstract. These bodies of works serve as a backdrop to broader discussions around constructed identities, clothing /textiles /branding, and commodity culture. He graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an M.F.A in Painting and Drawing. He also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. 

Doud has had solo/ two-person exhibitions of his work at Curator’s Office, Washington, DC; Galerie Brusberg, Berlin, Germany; Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland; MC Magma, Milan, Italy; Priska Juschka Fine Art, NYC; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL; RAYGUN, Toowoomba, South Queensland, Australia; Mono Practice, Baltimore, MD; the New Bedford Museum of Art and Hemphill Artworks, Washington, DC. His work has also been included in exhibitions at PS1 (MOMA), NYC; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington; DC, Artists Space, NYC; the Frye Art Gallery, Seattle, WA; the Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA; Kemper Contemporary Art Museum, Kansas City, MO; and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC.  He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (Arts Midwest); the Pollock Krasner Art Foundation; Grit Fund (Warhol Foundation and Deutsch Foundation), Baltimore, MD; Belle Foundation for Cultural Development, San Jose, CA and participated in residencies at BANFF, Alberta, Canada; Sharpe Walentas Studio Program, Brooklyn, NY: and the Golden Foundation, New Berlin, NY. He is co-editor of Out of Place, Artist Pedagogy and Purpose, (Punctum Press, Santa Barbara, CA) 2021.

Tim Doud is represented by Hemphill Artworks, Washington, DC, and is a Professor and Chair of the MFA Program is Studio Art at American University in Washington, DC.

Patricia Hickson

Patricia Hickson is a fine arts professional with thirty years of experience as a Modern and Contemporary art curator in museums working with collections, exhibitions, and publications. She held curatorial positions at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the San Jose Museum of Art in California, Williams College Museum of Art in Massachusetts, Des Moines Art Center in Iowa, and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut. In 2023 she established Patricia Hickson Art Advisory, specializing in Modern, Post-War, Contemporary, and Emerging art appraisal, collection consultation, and curatorial services. Immediately prior, for thirteen years, she held the position of Emily Hall Tremaine Curator of Contemporary Art at the Wadsworth Atheneum, where she led the acquisition of more than 250 objects and curated 60 exhibitions. Thirty exhibitions belong to the museum’s groundbreaking MATRIX series of solo projects with emerging and under-recognized artists. In 2015, Hickson also organized the landmark exhibition Warhol & Mapplethorpe: Guise & Dolls, which was accompanied by an extensive catalogue published by Yale University Press.

She earned a BA in art from Bates College, an MA in art history from Williams College, and certification from the Appraisers Association of America.

John Zinsser

John Zinsser (b. 1961, NY; lives Brooklyn, NY) is an abstract painter who has exhibited work in over 40 solo shows internationally since the late 1980s. In recent years, he has shown with Minus Space Gallery (Brooklyn, NY), Philip Slein Gallery (St. Louis, MO), Larry Becker Contemporary Art (Philadelphia, PA), Peter Blake Gallery (Laguna Beach, CA), Graham Gallery (New York, NY), and Galerie Gisela Clement (Bonn, Germany).

He received a BA in art history from Yale University in 1983. He co-founded Journal of Contemporary Art in 1988 and has written extensively for publications such as Art in America, ARTS and Flash Art. Zinsser is an assistant professor at New School University in New York, where he lectures on current exhibitions in New York galleries and museums.