Outstanding talent of Southern Cross University’s emerging artists acknowledged

Published in the November 2016 issue

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Sarah-Jane McGrath with her installation ‘The decolonisation of nonesmannslond’

Sarah-Jane McGrath with her installation ‘The decolonisation of nonesmannslond’.

Two NSW North Coast galleries have recognised the talent of Southern Cross University’s emerging artists, with both set to exhibit the work of visual arts graduates next year.

The Lismore Regional Gallery Graduate Award and the Northern Rivers Community Gallery Award were presented to installation artist Sarah-Jane McGrath and ceramist Brooklyn Winter, respectively, at the opening of the 2016 Southern Cross University Graduate Exhibition on Friday November 11. Another four awards were announced at the event.

Both gallery heads said the awards, recognising an outstanding artwork or installation, were designed to help each artist take the next step in their careers.

“Now in its seventh year, the Lismore Regional Gallery Graduate Award encourages graduates in the daunting transition from art school to professional art practice by providing them with an opportunity to exhibit new work,” said Gallery director Brett Adlington.

The Northern Rivers Community Gallery Award is being offered for the first time this year. The Gallery coordinator is Lee Mathers.

“Having an exhibition to work towards directly on the back of a graduation show is very healthy for an artist, giving them the opportunity to keep developing and evolving their ideas,” said Ms Mathers.

Lismore Regional Gallery Graduate Award

Sarah-Jane McGrath’s prize is an eight-week exhibition at the Lismore Regional Gallery in 2017, artist fee and catalogue to help launch her professional practice.

Sarah-Jane explains the work, ‘The decolonisation of nonesmannslond’, in her artist statement:

My concept explores the phenomenon of the white colonial materiality, reflected in my collections, amplified with the radio, and heightened through the presentation. I aim to enhance the objectification of the original peoples’ first knowledge of colonial presence, and the rampant obsolescence in the relationship to the unwilling and trapped indigenous consumer of inanimate objects.

Through creating this discourse, the re-appropriated materials bare witness to the history of commodification, vulnerable and in a state of precarious de-constructivism, ready to collapse at any moment.

Mr Adlington said Sarah-Jane showed commitment to her practice.

“We were looking for a student who was focused on pushing their practice further and Sarah-Jane demonstrated that,” he said.

“She’ll have the capacity to show stronger work next year in our new building.”

Brooklyn Winter with 'The Hunted'.

Brooklyn Winter with ‘The Hunted’.

Northern Rivers Community Gallery Award

Brooklyn Winter’s prize is a four-week exhibition in 2017 at the Ballina-based gallery.

Ms Mathers said she was drawn to Brooklyn’s ceramic work, ‘The Hunted’.

“Her work is very evocative, it’s affecting. By representing cruelty to animals through the faces of her family and friends, she made it very personal. That really got me.

“Conceptually, Brooklyn’s work is tight, well executed and very professionally presented. I could see progression, a ‘where to next?’ opportunity where we can help her take it to the next level,” said Ms Mathers.

Brooklyn’s artist statement:

By sculpting the physiognomy of my friends and family, ‘The hunted’ depicts the sadness and disgust I feel when affronted by the blatant desecration and killing of wild animals in the form of trophy hunting. By using the likeness of my loved ones, I hope to instil a sense of injustice and confrontation within the viewer. My work’s innocent, deathshrouded faces, are a reminder that we are all animals and not ornaments or trophies.

'The seen and the unseen': Lynne Wallis.

‘The seen and the unseen (7)’, oil on linen: Lynne Wallis.

Other award recipients:

Southern Cross University Chancellor’s Art Prize

The prize is an acquisitive award worth $1000 and the student work goes into the University collection. For an artwork in any medium judged as demonstrating a high degree of artistic merit.

Awarded to painter Lynne Wallis.

National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) Ignition Prize

The prize is a one-year NAVA premium membership to the student who demonstrated the most professional development in their final year.

Awarded to 3D artist Georgina Milln.

'In one’s skin', made of banana fibre, by Georgi Milln.

‘In one’s skin’, made of banana fibre, by Georgi Milln.

The Visual Arts Prize

The prize is $500 to the student with outstanding artistic merit.

Awarded to painter and Honours graduate Jasper Hills.

The John and Sheilagh Kaske Memorial Fellowship

The $5000 prize is to the graduating student with the most outstanding performance in visual arts.

Awarded to painter and Honours graduate Dan McDonnell (who received his prize earlier in the year).

NSW Young Regional Artist Scholarship

Emily Imeson is a recipient of this new competitive scholarship, each worth $10,000.

The NSW Young Regional Artist Scholarships are offered by the NSW government to support innovative young (18 to 25 years) artists and arts and cultural workers from regional NSW to undertake a self-directed professional development program in their chosen field.

Emily will be undertaking a painting residency at Hill End and research across regional NSW to develop landscape painting skills. She will also undertake a mentorship with painters John Smith and Stephen Garrett and present an exhibition.

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