Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Macquarie Street Hobart
Saturday 2 August- Sunday 14 September 2008
10am - 5pm daily
The City of Hobart Art Prize 2008 exhibition was opened by the Lord Mayor of Hobart, Alderman Rob Valentine at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery on the evening of Friday 1 August 2008. At the opening the winners of the two $7,500 acquisitive prizes were announced.
A message from the Right Honourable, the Lord Mayor of Hobart, Alderman Rob Valentine
It is with great pleasure that I welcome people to the 2008 City of Hobart Art Prize exhibition.
This year the City of Hobart Art Prize celebrates twenty years of exhibiting Australia's leading practitioners in visual art, craft and design. To commemorate this cultural achievement the Hobart City Council has invited previous winners to create a new work to exhibit alongside the first public viewing of the City of Hobart Art Prize Collection. The works created by the 45 practitioners featured in the exhibition span a notable breadth of time and current art practice. I sincerely congratulate them all for their significant contribution to the City of Hobart Art Prize. From this exhibition, the works of the two winners of each category will be acquired for the City of Hobart Art Prize Collection.
My congratulations to Martin Walch for his winning entry in 2D/Fine Art, Drowning by numbers - (mapping four seasons at one location) and to Mari Funaki for her winning entry in 3D/Craft & Design, Bracelet No.1, No.2 and No.3. Both winners receive a $7,500 prize provided by the Hobart City Council. Congratulations also to Anne MacDonald and Angela Valamanesh who received a commendation from the judges for their entries.
My thanks go to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery for their expertise and assistance and to our valuable sponsors for their contributions. Hobart City Council would also like to acknowledge the ongoing support and commitment of its Visual Arts Sub Committee.
My thanks also to this year's judges. Christopher Menz, Director, Art Gallery of South Australia and Tony Elwood, Director, Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art who have travelled to Tasmania and committed themselves to this always difficult role with enthusiasm and great professionalism. In addition I would particularly like to acknowledge our third judge, Sue Backhouse, Acting Senior Curator of Art, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery who has generously given her time, advice and energy in working with Council staff to make the City of Hobart Art Prize a truly professional event.
The Hobart City Council is very proud of its role in initiating and continuing to present this important national art prize. We believe it reflects our City's identity as a place where contemporary visual arts, craft and design are nurtured and celebrated.
2D / Fine Art
Drowning by numbers - (mapping four seasons at one location) 2008
Custom computer drawing program written in an Open Source software.
Variable size projected image.
"The way we see the world influences the way we value it. When all we know of a landscape is derived from a map, we miss the details and specifics that constitute variety and diversity on the ground.
Drowning by Numbers inverts this process, and instead uses the language of mapping (Eastings and Northings from GPS tracking of exploratory wanderings in an area), to re-create images of that specific place, as it has changed over a period of eighteen months. The area depicted is a drowned river valley above a Hydro dam on the Upper Derwent. The lake supply level varies seasonally according to rainfall and electricity usage, alternately draining and drowning the land. The art-work is constantly being generated by a computer program written in an open source java programming environment called "Processing". Thus the program builds each image differently every time, whilst also changing the overall order of the images."
3D / Craft & Design
Bracelet No.1 (2006), No.2 (2008), No.3 (2006)
Mild steel/heat coloured.
No.1 - 8 x 8 x 5cm, No.2 - 12 x 10 x 3.5cm, No.3 - 8 x 11 x 6cm
"The works I create become an expression of how I feel or see the world around me. People may see plants or insects inspiring the work, perhaps this was so early on, but now my personal visual language has its own momentum.
I work intuitively. Refining and adjusting the basic idea as I construct the forms with many thin sheets of metal. I see the piece from every angle, turning it and adding to it, sometimes referring back to the drawing. I consider all aspects through the process of making such as the interplay and the dialogue between negative and positive, between volume and space, between inside and outside.
When mild steel is heated, it creates a beautiful black, which adds depth to the shadows and delicate structures. The combination of the colour of black and the sculptural form gives the piece a sense of gravity, however when you pick up the piece, it is usually light. I like this ambiguity of weight and expectation, and the juxtaposition of solid areas against hollow delicate details. In this way I hope to make a work that can still retains a sense of surprise and mystery."
2D / Fine Art Highly Commended
At Rest 2008
Ink - Jet Print (1 of 4)
244.6 x 78.8 x 2.5cm
"The visual representation of transience, through the exploitation of the symbolic potential of objects in the genre widely known as still life, has pre-occupied artists throughout Western art history. There is a fundamental connection between the still life image, photography and death. All photographs in a sense still life, freezing it as something no longer living, but virtually embalmed. The still life, and its relationship to death, is being interrogated and reinvented by contemporary photo media artists, questioning our society's tendency to deny death.
My own photographic series and installations are symbolic distillations of death, eliciting the lost presence of beauty in objects reminiscent of the body and mortality. Flowers, wedding cakes and silk drapes are given a form of eternal life, but only at the cost of a certain petrification or entombment.
For the Ornament project I photographed Victorian floral grave ornaments at Highgate Cemetery, London, Rookwood Necropolis, Sydney and Cornelian Bay Cemetery, Hobart. Created for beauty with little interest in perpetuity, these decorative floral mementos, already disintegrating through the process of time, act as elegiac metaphors for the transience of existence."
3D / Craft & Design Highly Commended
Natural Histories # C 2008
57 x 172 x 9cm
"The series Natural Histories relates closely to my earlier work Animal, vegetable, mineral. They both use imagery derived from scientific observations and illustrations looking particularly at links between human, plant and mineral. I'm interested in how we see ourselves in relation to nature - as part of nature.
While I have worked for many years with clay I find it particularly appropriate as a medium for this work. The technical properties of plasticity in its wet form and its strength once fired are obvious attractions. Especially in its unglazed form it has even more obvious earthy qualities and it is such a common material that we are all somehow connected to."
2D / Fine Art
Max Angus, Lindsay Broughton, Tim Burns, Simon Cooper, Filomena Coppola, Maria Cruz, Merrin Eirth,
Lisa Garland, Patricia Giles, David Keeling, Anne MacDonald, David Martin, Selina Ou, Geoff Parr,
Sarah Ryan, Michael Schlitz, Martin Walch and Jenny Young.
3D / Craft & Design
Steven Carson, Cassandra Chilton, Tracey Cockburn, Giselle Courtney, Mari Funaki, Deb Jones,
Sara Lindsay, Fiona Murphy, Colin G. Reaney, Adam Rish & I Wayan Sumantra, Penny Smith,
Rodney Spooner, Leyla Tas, Itzell Tazzyman, Jenny Turner and Angela Valamanesh.
The members of the judging panel for the City of Hobart Art Prize 2007 were:
- Christopher Menz, Director, Art Gallery of South Australia.
- Tony Elwood, Director, Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art.
- Sue Backhouse, Acting Senior Curator of Art, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
The 2008 City Of Hobart Art Prize is a 20th anniversary celebration. All entrants are previous winners since 1988. Each artist was asked to submit a recent work for judging either in the fine art or craft and design categories. As a result the 2008 Prize exhibition provides the most diverse show so far, creating a visual challenge not only for judging but also in displaying the exhibition.
Unlike previous yearly Prizes, judged from only one and later two media categories, the 2008 Prize exhibition contains the greatest range of media including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, jewellery, glassware, ceramics, weaving, sculptural forms as well as new media.
In addition to their 2008 entries, previous prize winning works by the artists are also on display as a complete exhibition for the first time. This allows viewers the opportunity to compare development of an artist's early work with their recent piece.
As this year's winner of the 2D/Fine Art section, the judges have selected Drowning by numbers - (mapping four seasons at one location) by Martin Walch. This highly engaging and innovative work merges new technologies with traditional representational imagery.
The artist has created a computer drawing program based on GPS numbers relating to an area where he has walked at Lake King William, Tasmania. There are up to six images created randomly by an over layering of small, coloured numbers. The resultant mesmerising images projected onto the wall are reminiscent of pastel drawing or soft, textured layers of paint.
The winner of the 3D/Craft and Design Prize is Mari Funaki for her set of three, beautifully resolved bracelets which are both functional and technically proficient. These tough, yet refined works display quality of idea and concept. They are superbly made with a design so complete and carefully considered that the artist has created dynamic spaces within the metal forms.
The judges have chosen the work of two artists for commendation. It was felt that Angela Valamanesh's beautifully composed Natural Histories # C successfully balances colour, surface and composition, and also displays careful attention to detail. The unusual presentation of Anne MacDonald's set of photographs, At Rest, creates a compelling and evocative work reminiscent of death and ceremony. It is commended for its technical proficiency and finely constructed original concept.
Sue Backhouse, Tony Elwood, Christopher Menz
View the 2008 City of Hobart Art Prize Catalogue