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.
I collect images from everywhere and have hundreds that are my favorites from over the last 20 years or so. When I start with a new body of work, I sift through them all, which is what I have been doing recently.
Often selecting and collecting an image is a clue to some as yet unrealized work or layer of a work of the future, a kind of map that I might follow in some way. Sometimes the image may have some uncanny reference to one of my own completed works, sometimes it's just satisfies a particular aesthetic craving for a colour or form or pattern or composition or feeling or metaphor. Sometimes I don't know why the image is holding my attention, speaking to me in such a strong way that it stays in the collection. The random juxtapositions when I sift through the images can suggest new entry points too. I have photocopies and drawn some onto transparencies that I will project onto surfaces. I am about to do that.
Thank you artists, photographers, writers for your inspiring images and words that I have mixed in with some of my photos and drawings below.
YES! Won't pretend I'm not thrilled, I am! Second year in a row as a finalist in the most prestigious National Contemporary Art Award in the country - why the most prestigious? Well it's really competitive, and at the gorgeous Waikato Museum for a start and it's there for over 3 months. The space and physical position my work was given last year, in the same award, took my breath away; the show looked fantastic. The opening had delicious food and wine, great speeches and a real buzz.
The snapshot of contemporary art is a great insight into what's happening in NZ at a given point in time. I love how it's so subjective and all left to one person. It's like lotto in terms of who wins, not the best necessarily, just what the judge happened to like.
This years judge, Aaron Kreisler, is a respected curator and he had to blind judge the entries, although he is bound to have recognised a lot of the work. When I look at the list of 52 finalists, from the 352 that entered, I know only a handful which means that most are young and emerging artists and it's great to be selected to be amongst them.
Last year very little of the work was actually painting, perhaps 7 paintings out of 50 finalists, and I expect this year will be the same. Painting struggles to be as hip as multimedia or sculpture or any kind of high tech installation in the contemporary art world. It has its limitations (which I love) but does look quite frumpy sometimes next to sleek screens, moving and aural technological processes. Mind you my process is a highly technological process, if you consider technology means, art, skill, and cunning of hand (Wiki).
Winners in the past have been: a pile of rubbish, a bush shelter, a photo of a soap dish, and last year a florescent tube balanced on a shelf, that shattered during the opening. All conceptually challenging and controversial work.
Watch this space.
Finalists Announced for National Contemporary Art Award
National Contemporary art award judge Aaron Kreisler has selected 52 entries as finalists for this year’s National Contemporary Art Award hosted by Waikato Museum.
Faced with a record number of entries this year, Aaron Kreisler met the challenge, selecting the 52 finalists through a blind judging process.
"It is always exciting to get an opportunity to discover the rich layers and diversity of talent present in this bustling little country and the National Contemporary Art Award provides this in overwhelming abundance."
Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham says the National Contemporary Art Award promises artists a chance to win an art award of national significance and their work to be seen in a professionally managed gallery.
“The National Contemporary Art Award exhibition is always a highlight on our arts calendar and we’re preparing for a full and very vibrant gallery experience this year. As well as the exposure it gives to these New Zealand artists, all works are for sale, giving visitors the opportunity to view and purchase the finalists’ artworks.”
The winner and merit award winners of the National Contemporary Art Award will be announced on Friday 17 July. The exhibition will open from Saturday 18 July until Sunday 1 November 2015.
The winner of the 2015 National Contemporary Art Award will receive S15,000 from the major joint sponsors, Chow:Hill and Tompkins Wake.
For more information, follow the award on Facebook or visit waikatomuseum.co.nz
The paintings above are 3 of 8 small works (300mm x 300mm) in my exhibition at OREXART. They are in the office, not hung and not competing with the larger works. They are a starting point and a little foray into what I have been thinking of doing next on a large scale.
There is an interactive element with all my painting, as I work with reflective and matt surfaces. The glossy under-paint catches the light and follows the movement of a body as it moves past or around the work. It's an effect that I love living with as its eye-catching and makes you hover around the work even more to look at see how the light moves. I love watching people do this in front of my work.
A bright light shinning on the work in a domestic setting becomes like a sun of intensity, it's like the painting has an ability to radiate from it's own source.
The new work has maximum paint variance and luminosity. It needs to be held up to see just how changeable the surfaces are under the natural variance of a range of light sources.
Arts Dairy Link, with view of show