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 Cavaniglia, says: “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 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
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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