Internationally recognized FSU art professor wins Guggenheim Fellowship

Lilian Garcia-Roig, chair and professor in the Department of Art, is one of 184 Guggenheim Fellows selected to the class of 2021.
Lilian Garcia-Roig, chair and professor in the Department of Art, is one of 184 Guggenheim Fellows selected to the class of 2021.

Florida State University’s Lilian Garcia-Roig, an internationally recognized visual artist specializing in painting from the College of Fine Arts, has been awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship.

 Lilian Garcia-Roig, chair and professor in the Department of Art
Lilian Garcia-Roig, chair and professor in the Department of Art

Garcia-Roig, chair and professor in the Department of Art, is one of 184 Guggenheim Fellows selected to the class of 2021. They were among a group of about 3,000 artists, writers, scholars and scientists who participated in the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation’s 97th competition. Her fellowship is in the Creative Arts: Fine Arts category.

“Professor Garcia-Roig receiving this fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation is wonderful news,” said James Frazier, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “It is an acknowledgment of the caliber of her work and her exceptional achievements as an artist. Anyone who knows her knows of her passionate commitment to the arts and to the arts at FSU. Personally, I am extremely happy for her. As dean of the College of Fine Arts, I couldn’t be prouder of the recognition she has received with this prestigious award.”

Born in Havana, Cuba, Garcia-Roig is most known for her visceral, on-site painting series of dense landscapes from across the country and her large-scale painting installations that overwhelm the viewer’s perceptual senses. She works on-site, creating each painting over the course of the day in an intense wet-on-wet cumulative manner that underscores the complex nature of trying to capture first-hand the multidimensional and ever-changing experience of being in that specific location.

“I am greatly humbled and honored to have received this award,” Garcia-Roig said. “I am grateful to the Foundation for believing in my project and for all those who have believed in my work and helped me better contextualize it along the way; especially to be included alongside this list of fellow artists whose work and careers I have admired for some time.”

Garcia-Roig is the recipient of a long list of significant national awards and fellowships, including a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in Painting, a Mid-America Arts Alliance/NEA Fellowship Award in Painting, State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship Award in painting and a Kimbrough Award from the Dallas Museum of Art. Her residencies include time as a visiting artist at the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, a Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Fellowship, a Vermont Studio Center Artist Fellowship and a MacDowell Colony Milton & Sally Avery Fellowship.

In 2017, she served as artist-in-residence at the Joan Mitchell Center in NOLA where she developed an entirely new body of work (“Hecho Con Cuba”) that responded to her experience of finally being able to work in her homeland. While in Cuba, she was able to walk in the footsteps of the great landscape painters who had worked in the iconic Viñales Valley before her. She developed a series of perceptually based work (“Hecho En Cuba”) while also thinking about the idea of a “hyphenated-nature” and hoping that the Cuban-American perspective she brought with her would produce new works that ultimately offered a pictorial reconciliation between her Cuban and American identities.

“Hyphenated Nature: Northern Florida-Cuba Painting Relations (after Carta).” 30” x 78,” oil on canvas (left & right) & acrylic with Cuban dirt pigment on canvas (middle) 2020.
“Hyphenated Nature: Northern Florida-Cuba Painting Relations (after Carta).” 30” x 78,” oil on canvas (left & right) & acrylic with Cuban dirt pigment on canvas (middle) 2020.

Her Guggenheim project proposal, “Hyphenating Natures by Re-collecting Roig,” builds on her new Cuba-centric works and centers on discovering links between her work as an on-site painter and the scientific work of her great uncle, the renowned Cuban botanist Juan Tomás Roig, who cataloged, collected and even had some endemic Cuban plants named after him.

Garcia-Roig’s works have been exhibited nationally and internationally in numerous museum group and solo shows, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Art Museum of the Americas, both in Washington D.C., the Americas Society Gallery in New York, and El Chopo Museum in Mexico City.

Her recent significant shows include “Rational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago,” which opened at the Museum of Latin American Art in California. The show was part of Getty’s Pacific Standard Time LA/LA initiative and traveled to several museums across the country. In Florida, she was included in the 2019 Florida Prize Exhibition at the Orlando Museum of Art and The Florida Biennial at the Hollywood Art Center in Miami and currently has some large works at the Florida Contemporary at the Baker Art Museum in Naples.

“I want to give extra thanks to the FSU Office of Sponsored Research for supporting various creative projects over time and to my FSU colleagues Peggy Wright-Cleveland, Meredith Lynn and Judy Rushin-Knopf for their keen editing eyes, as well as to Alec Kercheval for always supporting me and for his infinite patience with my maximalist approach to life,” Garcia-Roig said.

The great range of backgrounds, fields of study and accomplishments of Guggenheim Fellows is a unique characteristic of the Fellowship program. In all, 49 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 73 different academic institutions, 28 states and 2 Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of Fellows, who range in age from 31 to 85. Edward Hirsch, president of the Guggenheim Foundation, said he is thrilled to announce this new group of Guggenheim Fellows especially since this has been a devastating year in so many ways.

“A Guggenheim Fellowship has always been meaningful, but this year we know it will be a lifeline for many of the new Fellows at a time of great hardship, a survival tool as well as a creative one,” Hirsch said. “The work supported by the Fellowship will help us understand more deeply what we are enduring individually and collectively, and it is an honor for the Foundation to help the Fellows do what they were meant to do.”

Since its establishment in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted nearly $400 million in Fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are more than 125 Nobel laureates, members of all the national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, Turing Award, Bancroft Prize, National Book Award and other internationally recognized honors.

For more information on the fellows and their projects, visit the foundation’s website at