Werner Sun,  A Random Walk: Tapestry,  2018. Archival inkjet prints mounted to canvas, 75 x 105 x 2 inches.

Werner Sun, A Random Walk: Tapestry, 2018. Archival inkjet prints mounted to canvas, 75 x 105 x 2 inches.


CUE Art Foundation is pleased to announce the second recipient of our annual art prize with Aon, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. The Aon-CUE Artist Empowerment Award recognizes one emerging or under-recognized artist annually with a generous honorarium and a year-long exhibition in Aon’s offices in downtown Manhattan.

The 2019 recipient of the Aon-CUE Artist Empowerment Award is visual artist Werner Sun, who is exhibiting a series of sculptural prints inspired by his background in physics and desire to methodically observe and record data in an exhibition titled Closed Systems.

Applications are accepted annually via an opt-in option on our Open Call for Solo Exhibitions.


The Aon-CUE Artist Empowerment Award is for artists who:

  • Have not had a solo show in a commercial NYC gallery within the last five years

  • Do not have current, consistent commercial gallery representation in the United States

  • Are not currently enrolled in a degree program

  • Have a demonstrated, consistent studio practice outside an academic setting for three or more years

  • Must currently live and work in the United States



Aon-CUE Artist Empowerment Award 2019
Werner Sun: Closed Systems

Information washes over us in waves, day in and day out. I am fascinated by the manner in which we manipulate information to synthesize knowledge and beliefs, both true and false. We routinely devise new conceptual tools from sheer thought, making leaps of intuition triggered by the simple act of paying attention. Having a background in physics, I have relied on these creative habits to tackle not only abstract scientific questions but also mundane technical tasks. As an artist, I take a similar approach with the images I select as my raw materials, dissecting and combining them both digitally and physically as if they were scientific data to be analyzed. This process results in folded paper sculptures that, when photographed, serve as starting points for future work. Thus, one piece leads to another just as knowledge and ideas build on themselves. Folding images is therefore my way of actively perceiving the world, of shaping facts into a digestible form, and of giving voice to the irrepressible human impulse to observe, record, and comprehend — an impulse that underpins both art and science.

Werner Sun is a visual artist who lives and works in Ithaca, NY. A particle physicist by training, Werner has exhibited his work at the Garrison Art Center, Manifest Gallery, the Islip Art Museum, the Schweinfurth Art Center, the Azarian McCullough Art Gallery, and the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. His essays and images have been published in Stone Canoe, SciArt Magazine, and The Brooklyn Rail.


Aon-CUE Artist Empowerment Award 2018
Beverly Acha: Interlude

I create paintings that respond to shifts in the physical environment, and am particularly interested in the psychological aspects of space. I observe and explore the relationship between time, light, and color in nature, especially when visible in landscapes. I am also influenced by images from NASA, old astronomy textbook images, and observations through telescopes and microscopes.

These paintings grasp moments between spaces. Thresholds are represented within the image as archways, mandorlas, or oval forms. They also exist between the viewer and the painting where grids and repeating lines block entry into the pictorial space. These visual blocks command pause, creating an interlude at the threshold.

Grids in my work measure intervals, create rhythm across the surface, and mark time. Gradations of color, intensity, and tone both open and collapse space, pull the eye (and body) in and out. I want the viewer to move through, within, and across the paintings, following their vibrations, wobbles, and breaks. Through subtle asymmetries, inconsistencies, and irregularities in the structures - errors in the system - I want to encourage a tactile and physical experience of light and space. I want my paintings to give physicality to the intangible.

Beverly Acha is a visual artist born in Miami, FL. Recent solo shows include Warm Form at Underdonk in Brooklyn, NY (2018) and Mutualities at the Roswell Museum and Art Center in Roswell, NM (2016). Acha has been awarded residencies from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2018), Lighthouse Works (2017), Wassaic Project (2017), and Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program (2016-17). Acha is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in Studio Art at Oberlin College. She holds a BA from Williams College and an MFA from Yale University School of Art.