Congratulations to Richard Lewer, winner of the 5th Basil Sellers Art Prize!
Now in its final year, the Basil Sellers Art Prize is a $100,000 acquisitive prize, with a focus on the theme of ‘art and sport’. The exhibition creates a mutual appreciation between the two, providing a platform for artists to discuss issues that impact sporting culture. The Theatre of Sports is a large 12 panel piece presenting Lewer’s dedication and passion, examining the close relationships between sport, mental illness and failure.
Samantha Comte The Theatre of Sports
“Art and sport are not so different: “both are public spectacles that reflect society and depend on paying customers. The only real difference lies in the uncertainty of the outcome.”1 If you attend the theatre you will generally know, unlike a sporting event, the result in advance. The fascination with watching sport is the unknown. The drama is often in the moment of winning or losing – a remarkable turn-around, the tragic downfall of the top team or a heart-breaking career-ending injury. Sport, like theatre, can reveal so much about who we are – our fears, our capacity for resilience and our need to belong.
Richard Lewer’s The Theatre of Sports (2016) is a compendium of twelve paintings that form one work. It represents Lewer’s sustained passion for art and sport, and examines the role sport can play in relation to mental illness. His practice looks at extremes of behaviour, centering in this work on the very public moments of failure of well-known sporting figures.
Fascinated by the highly publicised story of swimmer Ian Thorpe’s struggle with depression, Lewer started to investigate elite athletes who suffer from extreme mental stress. He then began to research events in which those athletes had lost, come second or been injured. Having gathered hundreds of images from the web, television and magazines, Lewer selected twelve that document public scenes of the athletes’ despair, anger, frustration and dejection, rendering these in paint. Tennis player Nick Kyrgios throws his racket to the ground in frustration and rage; disbelief is written on the face of martial arts champion Ronda Rousey as she loses her title; Olympic champion Sally Pearson clutches her broken wrist in agony after crashing over a hurdle; Ian Thorpe is dejected in the pool; and a moment of despair is shared by an AFL football team. Lewer is interested in the person who comes second and what happens next to these athletes.
Years of hard training have gone into the twelve sporting moments Lewer depicts. Sport, like art, requires discipline; the ability to take risks and to keep going despite failure. Embedded in the surfaces of the paintings are the struggles, the risk-taking and the failures of the artist. Layer upon layer has been rubbed back, built up again and changed over the months that the works have taken to complete. Lewer’s Theatre of Sports documents the struggles of elite athletes. It captures the moment of loss, the agony and the disbelief. We watch the athletes struggle very publicly and are left wondering what will happen next. It is, perhaps, not through the triumphs but through the tough moments that we truly find resilience and a deeper understanding of ourselves.”
The Basil Sellers Art Prize exhibition is on display at the Ian Potter Museum of Art until November 6. Be sure to see this work alongside the entries of William Mackinnon, Trent Parke & Narelle Autio. These artists were selected from over 100 entires to make the 15 finalists.
You can view the catalogue here.
Image: Richard Lewer, The Theatre of Sports, 2016, oil on canvas, 12 panels of 70 x 70 cm
Congratulations to Justine Varga on winning the 2016 Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award!
The $20,000 prize has been awarded to Justine for her work ‘Marking Time’. This is the second time Varga has won this prestigious prize, the first being in 2013. This year the prize was judged by Professor Susan Best from Griffith University’s Queensland College of Art. In addition to this prize the Gold Coast City Gallery has acquired Marking Time.
“Marking Time is a chromogenic, hand-printed, cameraless photograph that sits at the edge of forgetfulness. The product of a duration of bodily actions (in which a piece of film was drawn on and handled, among other things), each mark, action and moment slips into the next. The palimpsestic quality of this photograph, where a drawn layer submits to, is subsumed by, the laying down of yet another – manifests the act of remembering as a kind of magic writing pad. These elements are embodied within the photograph, which has become a bruised skin of emulsion supported by a fragile armature of memory.”
All finalists work will be exhibited at the Gold Coast City Gallery from 25 June – 21 August 2016.
We’re very excited to see Varga’s most recent work in September for her solo show Memoire at Hugo Michell Gallery.
See Gold Coast City Gallery website for additional programs and more information.
Image: Justine Varga, ‘Marking Time’, 2016, from ‘Memoire’, type C photograph, 143 x 109.6 cm, ed. of 5.
Professor Susan Best (Judge), Win Schubert & Justine Varga with her winning work.
James Dodd has completed his Adelaide City Library, Francis St Residency. Machines to Save A City is a project born out of Dodds keen ability to engage community and is on display in Francis St from June till August.
“The Adelaide City Library has had a number of artist residencies in the last couple of years. They aim to both engage their community of users, creatively, and develop outcomes that can invigorate their Francis Street entrance (just off of Rundle Mall). Over the next couple of months I will be working together with the City Library on a project that will result in a fantastic cargo tricycle that will make its home in Francis Street between June and August this year. The premise of my project is to engage the notion of ‘Ideas for machines to save a city’ (of which I believe a bicycle may be). Drawings, notes and ideas developed during workshop sessions will form the external embellishment of a structure that will be carried by the machine that I am making.”
You can see more images of the individual Machines to Save A City here
Slipstitch a touring exhibition curated by Dr. Belinda von Mengersen has arrived at Latrobe Regional Gallery. Featuring the work of Lucas Grogan and Sera Waters, Slipstitch considers the growing pursuit of figurative embroidery in contemporary art. Giving reference to embroidery as a traditional tool for autobiographical story telling the exhibition includes a diverse group of emerging and established artists.
“In recent years contemporary artists in Australia have embraced embroidery for its capacity for poignant and reflective narrative. The re-emergence of embroidery is part of a broader questioning of the hierarchy of materials that has gained momentum since the 1990s. Embroidered objects have often been read literally and relegated within a domestic framework. These new contemporary works break down preconceptions by exploring what embroidery can become once it transcends the regularity of pattern and decoration. Historically, embroidery like the Bayeux Tapestry, was used as a tool for personal or political narratives. Slipstitch aims to introduce a contemporary audience to the capacity of embroidery for drawing and communication in this mode.”
This exhibition has been touring regionally since 2015 and will open in Bendigo on the 28th of May and run till the 26th of June you can find out more about this exhibition here.
Image: Sera Waters, The Great Australian Bite: Gums, 2011, linen, cotton, crewel, breads, sequins, trimmings, chain, card, stuffing, leather, tea-towel and felt, 54 x 61 x 3 cm
Image: Lucas Grogan, The Universe Quilt 2013, cotton thread on laminated cotton cloth, 200 x 175 cm
Congratulations to Justine Varga who has been announced as a finalist in the National Photography Prize at MAMA (Murray Art Museum Albury). Established in 1983, the biennial prize is valued at $50,000 making it the richest photography prize in Australia.
Opening on Saturday the 21st of May, the selected acquisition from this prize will join a collection of more than 90 works.
For more information click here!
Tim Sterling has been shortlisted for the Deakin University, Contemporary Small Sculpture Award! The winner of this prestigious award will be acquired by the Deakin University and awarded $10,000. Sterling has created a piece titled Bessa block, comprising of over 6000 cable ties and 3500 paperclips and standing at only 24cm high, this impressive work has taken over 2months to make.
We congratulate Tim on this impressive work! The winner will be announced on the 8th of June at the launch of the exhibition at Deakin University, more details here.
Image: Tim Sterling, Bessa block, 2016, paper clips, cable ties, 24 x 44 x 17.5 cm
Justine Varga is presenting work in an exhibition titled Emanations – The Art of the Cameraless Photograph at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Zealand. Exhibiting alongside other artists: Thomas Ruff, Shimpei Takeda and Christian Marlay we’re thrilled for Justine and this international opportunity.
The exhibition runs from the 29th of April till the 14th of August
(Left) Image: Exit, 2015, from Accumulate, type C hand print, 122 x 98.5 cm, edition of 5
(Right) Image: Desk Lamp, 2012, type C photograph, 104.8 x 83.6 cm, edition of 3
Telltale is a writing and exhibition project curated by Justin Hinder and Anna Louise Richardson. The project centres on a narrative conceived by ten artists, written by Justin Hinder and explored in pairs over a series of collaborative workshops and studio sessions, Richard Lewer has been working closely with Eden Menta.
Telltale takes you through the dusty corridors of a once majestic hotel, steeped in the echoes of a mysterious past. A place where lovelorn ghosts float through tumbling children, and where laughter, tears, breakfast and booze blend into a heady cocktail of comic tragedy. Ten artists cross paths as guests in a story that unfolds through fact, fiction and somewhere in between, revealing lost secrets of the scandalous Telltale family before checkout closes for the last time.
This project was produced through Next Wave’s Emerging Curators Program with Arts Project Australia.
Exhibition to be opened by Georgie Meagher, Artistic Director & CEO, Next Wave.
The final works will be on display for Next Wave Festival 2016, launching May 7!
Congratulations to James Dodd who has been selected to undertake the SALA Festival, Artist in Residence at the Adelaide Festival Centre in 2016! Dodd plans to respond to the iconic Murray River murals of Fred Williams, which were commissioned by the Adelaide Festival Centre for the original opening in 1978.
“I am looking forward to spending time on the Murray developing paintings as one part of my outcome. During my residency I will also be developing a river-oriented vessel that responds to the Murray, Adelaide Festival Centre’s Torrens site and my ongoing interest in pedal powered vehicles and their potential as art. ” explains Dodd.
Drawing links to the representation of landscape, Dodd’s residency will present a contemporary view of the ever changing Murray, coinciding with the redevelopment of the theatre and surrounding plaza. Dodd has a career rich in using modern and varied materials often with public interactions and outcomes, this residency is sure to be a fascinating development and we look forward to seeing the results!
The work will be on display during this years SALA Festival from the 1st – 31st of August.
You can hear James Dodd speaking about this upcoming residency on Radio Adelaide here.
Image: James Dodd, Blue Rock Painting, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 76 x 102 cm
““It’s a strangely confronting video which will attract people as they walk into the entrance,” Roet says.””
Lisa Roet’s Heart Beat is an immersive installation exhibited at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation. The work is on display until April 2nd. To read Jane Llewellyn’s article in the Adelaide Review click here!