John Fries Award 2015 call for entries

The John Fries Award 2015 is currently calling for entries from Australian and New Zealand emerging and early career artists. Aiming to encompass the multiplicity of contemporary practice, the award is open to artists of any age, working in all mediums - from painting to conceptual art - to performance and photography.

John Fries Award 2015 call for entries poster, featuring the 2014 winning work:
Bridie Lunney, This Endless Becoming, (James Lunney & Lily Paskas), 2013.

This year I'll be joined on the judging panel by our guest curator, Oliver Watts; Head of International Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Justin Paton; and two acclaimed Australian contemporary artists Fiona Foley and Nell. more info

The $10,000 prize money for this annual non-acquisitive award is donated by my family in memory of my late father, John Fries, a Viscopy director who made a remarkable contribution to the life and success of the organisation. The exhibition and award is administered by Copyright Agency | Viscopy, who I have worked with closely since 2009, to develop the award into a unique platform presenting the most engaging and experimental works by emerging and early career artists from Australia and New Zealand.

Video - JFA curator Oliver Watts talks about the kinds of things he's 
looking for in the entries to the John Fries Award 2015. link

In 2015 Viscopy is pleased to be paying all finalists an artist fee at NAVA recommended rates and will also assist with freight costs to support artists from interstate and New Zealand.

The finalists’ work will feature in a month-long exhibition to be held during September 2015 at UNSW Galleries at UNSW Art & Design – the Award’s presenting partner for the second year running. This continued partnership reflects both Copyright Agency | Viscopy and UNSW Art & Design’s desire to build a professional and resilient creative economy through recognising outstanding talent in the emerging arts sector.

Call for 2015 entries - featuring work by John Fries Award 2014 finalists:
Heath Franco, Bridie Lunney, Abdul Abdullah, Tim Bruniges, Omar Chowdhury

Entries close 19 February 2015

Paramor Prize Finalist: Casula Powerhouse

Kath Fries, Bind, 2013, bronze, sisal and beeswax, 52x126x92cm

My bronze sculpture, Bind, has been selected as a finalist for the inaugural Paramor Prize at Casual Powerhouse Arts Centre. This award has been launched in memory of the artist Wendy Paramor (1938-1975) and aims to encourage new ways of seeing, experiencing and interpreting the world around us.

Bind imitates that change is inevitable, despite human persistence at trying to halt its progress. Cast in bronze, the twisting growth of this magnolia branch is permanently paused just on the point of blooming, the small buds are representative of life and its possibility, symbolising of the fleetingness of time. The branch was cast directly into bronze using a ‘lost wax’ technique, which burns the branch from the inside outwards replacing the impermanent wood and fibres with metal, rendering temporal growing shapes into static forms. This casting process demands an act of destruction, so the original living form no longer exists and all that remains is an inert object. Sisal rope  tightly wrapped around the central stem of the branch is sealed with beeswax, physically conveying further attempts at constraining, sealing and holding still the changing nature of the growing branch. As such Bind metaphorically reflects our frequent human endeavours to render permanent that which is impermanent, and the futility of attempting to influence the progression of time.

Finalists: Marian Abboud, 
Tim Andrew, 
Clark Beumont, 
Damien Butler, 
Penelope Cain, 
Carla Cecson, 
Simon Alexander Cook and Geoff Sellman, 
Gary Deirmendjian, 
James Dodd, 
Jacquelene Drinkall, 
Kath Fries, 
Sarah Goffman, 
Tim Gregory, 
Freya Jobbins, 
Yvette Hamilton, 
Joanne Handley 
Ash Keating, 
Karena Keys, 
Rosalind Lemoh, 
Owen Leong, 
Leon Lester, 
Liana Lewis, 
Lorraine Maggs, 
Megan McPherson, 
Louise Paramor, 
Katy B Plummer, 
The Polka Dot Sisters (Sally Atkins and Kate Stewart), 
Diego Ramirez, 
Merri Randell, 
Erica Seccombe, 
Paul Snell, 
Susannah Strati, 
Ioulia Terizi, 
Mimi Tong, 
Frank Trimarchi, 
Undrawing the Line (Zanny Begg), 
Carla and Lisa Wherby, 
Julie Williams, 
Gabriella and Brent Wilson, 
Jason Wing.

Paramor Prize opening invitation, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre

31 January – 15 March 2015
Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre
1 Powerhouse Road, Casula NSW 2170
(Enter via Shepherd Street Liverpool)
Monday to Sunday 10am - 5pm

Silence Awareness Existence February residency at Arteles Creative Center, Finland

In February I will be joining the Silence Awareness Existence international group residency, at Arteles Creative Centre, Haukij√§rvi Finland This residency will enable me to research how our awareness of our sensory engagements with our surroundings are experienced in such an extreme and specific time and place. I plan to create new ephemeral installation work in response to the unique climate and landscape of Finland, working alongside a diverse range of participating international artists whose work also focuses on the themes of silence, awareness and existence.

The Silence Awareness Existence residency takes place in the extreme weather conditions of February, one of the darkest months of the Finnish winter, which is an essential factor of this unique group residency structured to deepen our thinking and practices responding to the sensory impact of time and place. The residency’s themes resonate in my creative process of quiet contemplation and tactile engagement with my surroundings. Working with the site, trace and ephemeral natural materials I will be researching circadian rhythms, how we experience time in relation to sunlight, and how these sensory influences - temperature, low light and muffled sound - can become embodied experiences in art practice.

In several of my recent projects, I've focused on the duration and movement of sunlight and shadows, permeating interior spaces to track a visual, natural awareness of the passage of time. The cold dark snowy winter of February in Finland will be a stark contrast to the hot bright summer Februaries in Sydney, and this will be key to my project. The lack of sunlight in the Finnish winter causes most creatures, even insects like honeybees, to hibernate. Beeswax as material and honeybees as metaphor, feature prominently in my work, and the agricultural farmland around Arteles will be essential to my research about honeybees in Finland. Honeybees communicate the position of the sun through their waggle dances telling other foraging bees flower locations; they are obsessive about sealing up cracks in their hives, and experts at storing honey for the colony’s survival in winter. Like honeybees in winter, humans spend most of their time indoors, sealing themselves into interior sanctuaries protected from harsh external elements.

Much of my work explores how humans are inextricably part of nature; we are fragile and vulnerable, despite our ceaseless efforts to separate and contain nature and natural cycles. I am interested in experiencing this human containment as it manifests in a Finnish winter, when the necessity of keeping nature outdoors becomes truly essential for survival. To some extent the outside environment will always permeate our interior spaces, as sunlight and ice on windows, and draughts through cracks in the walls and around doorways. These uncontainable natural elements will influence how I experience and document my physical and mental adjustments to Finnish winter sensory experiences, which dramatically contrast Sydney’s February summer climate.

I’m looking forward to meeting the other nine international artists on this residency who all work with the themes of silence, awareness and existence in their practices. We'll be  sharing our experiences of the time and place of Arteles in winter, and discussing how it informs our practices. This will be my first overseas residency, my first visit to Finland and first experience of a northern Scandinavian winter!

Ian Potter Cultural Trust recent grants -

Thank you to Ian Potter Cultural Trust for their supporting grant to take up this important  overseas professional development opportunity; to Arteles for their resident grant covering half the program fee; to the SCA Postgraduate Support Scheme for assisting with my field research at  Arteles, which will inform my PhD; and to Arts NSW's Artists' Grant Scheme, a devolved funding program administered by the National Association of the Visual Arts on behalf of the NSW Government

I'm going to post updates here on my studio blog while I'm in Finland, so you can read about my experiences and see my Silence Awareness Existence project as it develops. 

Research preparation - YouTube video of honeybees hibernating during winter in Finland (link). Interesting... however beekeepers wouldn't usually open a hive during winter as the honeybee colony will die if exposed to the cold for too long. During winter honeybees hibernate - they don't leave the hive. Instead they all huddle together in the naturally insulated centre of the hive, they survive by eating their stores of honey and vibrating their wings to keep warm.