2017 John Fries Award Finalists

Copyright Agency | Viscopy has announced the twelve finalists for the John Fries Award 2017www.johnfriesaward.com
The award, curated by interdisciplinary artist, academic and curator, Consuelo Cavaniglia, is an annual $10,000 art award recognising the talents of early career visual artists from Australia and New Zealand. The award winner will be announced at the exhibition opening on 11 August 2017. Each finalist will present multiple works in the exhibition, open to the public at Sydney’s UNSW Galleries from 12 August – 2 September 2017.
Now in its eighth year, the annual award is a platform for some of the most engaging and experimental works from the next wave of contemporary artists in the region. The award was established by the Fries family in 2010 in memory of former Viscopy director and honorary treasurer, John Fries, who made a remarkable contribution to the life and success of the organisation.
Guest Curator for 2017-2018, Consuelo Cavanigliasays: “This year’s finalists are drawn from a broad cross-section of early career artists with diverse and engaging practices; the interdisciplinary nature of these is very exciting. Although there is no single curatorial theme, many of the finalists’ work engages with questions of cultural identity and consideration on landscape. Conversations with artists about new commissions for the award are currently underway, with many artists electing to expand their modes of practice in experimental ways.”
The JFA 2017 finalists are:
Amanda Williams - Sydney, New South Wales
Angela Tiatia - Sydney, New South Wales
Anwar Young - Amata, South Australia
Barayuwa Mununggurr - Wandawuy, Northern Territory
Ben Leslie - Adelaide, South Australia
Bridget Reweti - Wellington, New Zealand
Claudia Nicholson - Sydney, New South Wales
Fayen d’Evie - Muckleford, Victoria
Ella Sutherland - Christchurch, New Zealand
Kuba Dorabialski - Sydney, New South Wales
Tina Havelock Stevens - Sydney, New South Wales
Kathy Ramsey - Warmun, Western Australia
The 2017 John Fries Award winner will be decided by a panel of guest judges: Consuelo Cavaniglia, John Fries Award Guest Curator; Melanie Oliver, Senior Curator and Programs Manager at The Dowse Art Museum, Wellington; Clothilde Bullen, Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art; Fiona Lowry, multi-award winning artist (Archibald Prize, Moran Prize, Fleurieu Landscape Prize); and Kath Fries, artist, Viscopy board member, Chair of the John Fries Award committee and daughter of the late John Fries.
Kath Fries says, “The quality of the award is going from strength to strength each year, and I’m always excited to see how the finalists use the award as a springboard to ambitiously develop their practices. This year’s finalists’ exhibition will offer a glimpse of what’s occurring at the dynamic ‘emerging’ edge of the contemporary art scene, heightening our expectations of the future.” 


2017 John Fries Award
Winner announced 6pm Friday 11 August
Finalists Exhibition 12 August to 2 September 2017
UNSW Art & Design Galleries cnr Oxford St & Greens Rd, Paddington 
Galleries open Tuesdays to Saturday 10am-5pm

Sculpture Award Winner - North Sydney Art Prize

My beeswax installation Within and without has been awarded the 2017 North Sydney Art Prize  $10,000 Sculpture Award! 
I'm proud to be part of this year's all female line up of winners, in the Coal Loader's underground chambers and tunnels, with Janet Tavener, Denese Oates and Gloria Florez
Thank you to the curator Alison Clark; the judges - Cassandra Hard Lawrie, Monica McMahon and Oliver Watts; arts officer Lisa Sammut; North Sydney Council and the prize sponsors... and to my lovely friends who cheered so loudly at the award announcements! 


North Sydney Art Prize: 11-26 March 2017
The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability 
2 Balls Head Road, Waverton NSW
Artist talks Saturday 25 March 11am (more info link)
Download exhibition catalogue here


Kath Fries, Within and without, 2017, beeswax and oyster mushroom mycelium (detail view with sign), installed in chamber three, tunnel two at The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability.
Kath Fries, Within and without, 2017, beeswax and oyster mushroom mycelium, installed in chamber three, tunnel two at The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability, Waverton NSW. 
Kath Fries, Within and without, 2017, beeswax and oyster mushroom mycelium, installed in chamber three, tunnel two at The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability, Waverton NSW. 
Kath Fries, Within and without, 2017, beeswax and oyster mushroom mycelium, installed in chamber three, tunnel two at The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability, Waverton NSW. 
Kath Fries, Within and without, 2017, beeswax and oyster mushroom mycelium (detail view), installed in chamber three, tunnel two at The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability, Waverton NSW. 
Kath Fries, Within and without, 2017, beeswax and oyster mushroom mycelium (detail view), installed in chamber three, tunnel two at The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability. 
Kath Fries, Within and without, 2017, beeswax and oyster mushroom mycelium (detail view), installed in chamber three, tunnel two at The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability. 
Kath Fries, Within and without, 2017, beeswax and oyster mushroom mycelium, installed in chamber three, tunnel two at The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability, Waverton NSW.
Kath Fries, Within and without, 2017, beeswax and oyster mushroom mycelium, installed in chamber three, tunnel two at The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability, Waverton NSW.
Kath Fries, Within and without, 2017, beeswax and oyster mushroom mycelium, installed in chamber three, tunnel two at The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability, Waverton NSW. 

Within and without @ the North Sydney Art Prize

Kath Fries, Within and without, 2016, beeswax and growing oyster mushrooms

Next week, I'll be installing my beeswax and oyster mushroom installation, Within and without, underground in one of The Coal Loader Tunnel's cave-like chambers as part of the North Sydney Art Prize. This work considers how fungi and insects are often overlooked or dismissed as pests, but they are actually essential for sustaining bio-diverse ecosystems. Within and without reflects mycorestoration processes, where fungi are used to rehabilitate contaminated environments. Underground, the mushroom mycelium absorbs pollutants and facilitates robust soil foundation, nurturing the regeneration and balanced interdependence of plants, insects, animals and humans. More info and images link

North Sydney Art Prize exhibition invitation 

All the works in the North Sydney Art Prize address a local or global issue broadly related to the curatorial theme of Sustainability, such as mass production, consumer culture, food technology, climate change, environmental, cultural, social and/or economic. Many of the works respond to a cultural, historical, social or metaphorical aspect of the Coal Loader site, and its preexisting features such as the harbour foreshore, regenerated parklands or surrounding bushland, readapted dwellings or disused tunnels. The curatorial theme embraces innovation and diversity in contemporary art and provides an entry point into the many conversations about our complex relationship with the world around us. 

The North Sydney Art Prize
11- 26 March 2017
The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability
2 Balls Head Drive, Waverton NSW

Site vist to my installation location in the underground The Coal Loader Tunnel caves

Governance - group exhibition

Interweaving new with old, artists who have worked at Parramatta Arts Studios respond to and articulate the complexities of the role of governance in contemporary society in the context of Old Government House. In a world saturated with media, surveillance, tracking devices, security, self-absorption, environmental crisis, identity issues and religious intent; these artists explore the idea of governance through systems of power, self-regulatory systems of belief, historical significance, civic pride and locale. Governance forms a unique partnership between three iconic cultural institutions; Old Government House, Parramatta Artist’s Studios and the City of Parramatta. 2017 also marks the 50th anniversary of the National Trust NSW looking after this World Heritage property.

Displayed throughout Old Government House, Governance features work by: Marian Abboud, Liam Benson, Linda Brescia, Fiona Davies, Kath Fries, Nadia Odlum, Naomi Oliver, Abdullah M.I. Syed, Salote Tawale, and Hanna Toohey. Curated by Lizzy Marshall, a broad array of diverse artworks including digital mappings, drawings, iterations of in-situ performances, sculptures, suspended installations and mixed media artworks will be installed in situ amongst Old Government House’s renowned colonial narratives. 

Exhibition invitation

Old Government House is Australia's oldest intact former vice-regal residence and was the residence and offices of prominent governors of New South Wales, from 1799-1856. Here decisions were made about the control and administration of the colony and management of convicts. In 2010 Old Government House was UNESCO World Heritage listed as a unique convict site. The Australia Convicts Sites tell the story of the largest forced migration the world has ever seen, and the development of punishment and reform of criminals during that era. This exhibition will be held within the heritage building of Old Government House with contemporary responses interwoven to the existing objects of the house museum.

Governance Today 
10 March - 16 April 2017
Old Government House
Parramatta Park NSW
OGH entry $16

My work in the exhibition, Reservations, considers issues of containment, control and bio-power governance. In these sculptures, beeswax polyps push up against glass, gazing out at us, trying to escape from orb terrariums. Like micro greenhouses, the glass barrier suggests the imposition of divisions, boundaries and separation, as well as surveillance. Reservations questions the enthusiastic escalation of indoor horticulture, asking if such technical feats of exclusivity will really assist with global food security while the environment outside is exploited and neglected. These spherical forms conjure fortunetelling crystal balls – perhaps predicating future ramifications and distress. A larger standing glass-pane filled with beeswax, is similarly ghostly and prophetic, mirroring the present physical space of a human body.

The title, Reservations, implies the enforcement of limits and containing conditions; having misgivings or concern about a situation; keeping something back; preservation for later; setting aside land or food for specific use; and watching with concern but failing to take action.

Beeswax as a material conjures the necessity of insect pollination for crops and the wider complexities of bio-diverse ecosystems. Western honeybees (Apis Mellifera) play an essential role in global food security, pollinating almost 75% of the world’s agricultural crops. But these bees are in currently in crisis, dying on mass in a decade long global epidemic termed Colony Collapse Disorder. Now honeybees are frequently referred to as the earth’s ‘canary in the coalmine’, their deaths are foretelling our own – as human impact on the environment brings us to the brink of catastrophe.

Historically, the first fleet’s initial attempts at agriculture failed and the colony nearly starved until crops were eventually cultivated at Parramatta. Subsequently western honeybee colonies were imported for crop pollination and they proliferated across the continent. However, today Australia imports more food than is exported, and globally intensifying pressures of worldwide overpopulation, climate change and food insecurity are leading to future predictions of suffering, gross inequality, riots and revolts.

Kath Fries, Reservations, 2017, beeswax and glass, 13cm diameter