Congratulations Sanné Mestrom - winner of the John Fries Memorial Prize 2011 for emerging visual artists. Mestrom was announced as the winner of the $10,000 prize at the finalists exhibition opening, Tuesday 9th August, at Viscopy’s contemporary art space in Chippendale, Sydney. The prize was presented by benefactor Vivienne Fries and acclaimed Sydney artist, Lindy Lee, who commented on the excellence of each of the finalists artworks and the consistently high standard of the exhibition.
The finalists and the winning entry were selected by a panel of judges including Anna Davis (Museum of Contemporary Art curator), Hannah Bertram (artist and John Fries Memorial Prize winner 2010), Danie Mellor (artist and Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award winner 2009) and Kath Fries (artist, Viscopy Board member and John Fries' daughter).
Sanné Mestrom, Thinking Props, 2010, 120x100x100cm, Mixed media sculptural installation, (wood, bronze, resin, found broom stick, copper). Image courtesy the artist.
Mestrom's sculptural installation Thinking Propsplays with the idea of a physical prop designed to promote cerebral and psychological contemplation. Made from everyday found objects, the work consists of three components: a table, a cluster of door handles and a “joy prop”. Her table is tailored to one assuming the classic position of Auguste Rodin's The Thinker, with elbow placed on table enclave and chin on cupped hand. It is a physical prop that encourages cerebral revelation. A grid of door handles below the table suggests opening doors, that endless possibilities and zones of discovery are just a simple action away. In front of the table sits a “joy prop” constructed of a cast bronze mould hypothetically designed to be fitted into the mouth to force a smile.
Danie Mellor says of the Mestrom’s artwork: Through her interest in human intimacy ... she presents playful and thought provoking arrangements of objects that recall Modernist engagements with the readymade... (but) an intimacy is invoked that allows a bodily interaction with form, if only through the viewers’ realisation that in fact "this is what you (can and are supposed to) do" with the objects. They are both familiar and out of reach as fragile objects in a gallery space, a temptation for the curious. The complexity of the potential interaction that the installation suggests, and its resolution as an intricate and multi-layered object, lends this work its intrigue and place as a well deserving winner.
Mestrom's winning artwork, Thinking Props features in the exhibition with the other fourteen finalists: Cyrus Tang, Erica Molesworth, Eva Hampel, Heath Franco, Jennifer O'Brien, Karl Khoe & Tessa Zettel, Keiko Matsui, Kristel Britcher, Kurt Sorensen, Nathan Taylor, Pauletta Kerinauia, Sanné Mestrom, Susie Nelson, Wade Marynowsky and Walter Brecely. Curated by Venita Poblocki, runs until 30 September and is open between 1pm and 5pm from Wednesday to Friday. 1 Blackfriars Street Chippendale NSW 2008 Australia.
The John Fries Memorial Prize for emerging visual artists is an annual prize donated by the Fries family in memory of former Viscopy director and honorary treasurer, John Fries, who made a remarkable contribution to the life and success of Viscopy. The competition is open to emerging Australian and New Zealand artists of all ages and disciplines who are not currently studying and whose work has not yet been collected by a regional, state, territory or national public gallery.
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I'm an artist based in Sydney, Australia. My practice explores how our senses connect us to our surroundings, engaging with the immediacy of present time experience and the impermanence of existence. Working with tactile materials and embodied entanglements with place, my sculptural installations grow from a process of quiet observation to reflect on instability and fragility. By developing attentive focus and working with found, natural or everyday materials, I link sensate experiences of materiality and haptic thinking to evoke direct empathetic and palpable experiences of time, fluctuation and change. www.kathfries.com