Press Release on winner
What a fabulous exhibition event the National Contemporary Art Award at the Waikato Museum is. This year was especially great as the judge, curator Aaron Kreisler offered insights into as to why it's important to engage in contemporary art and identified major themes that he thought were relevant. He then pointed to the finalist works which embodied those themes.
Challenges for contemporary art included:
He talked about how important it is to stay open to other people perspectives and contemporary art requires this of you. You need to engage in why and how someone else is making and thinking to 'get' the work. It can be annoying to not understand and we tend to blame the inanimate objects instead of asking ourselves why we are reacting in the way that we are. I can so relate to that, sometimes objects can be so obstinate and will not give up there secret meaning and it's a brain strain to wade through an artist statement and then have to rethink the concept through looking at the work. You have to be in the mood for that.
There were many, many works that I thought were superb; Deborah Crowe's sumptuous digital print, Madeleine Child's very clever installation (below), Max Bellamy's humorous and Louise Lever's probing video works, Virginia Leonard's outrageous clay work, and Francis van Houts's sharpie in a found book work (below), which was my absolute favourite.