Wild, ec­cen­tric ce­ramic en­try takes top gong

Shepparton News - - NEWS - By John Lewis

A wild and ec­cen­tric col­lec­tion of beasts and plant forms has won Syd­ney-based artist Jenny Or­chard the $50 000 2017 Sid­ney Myer Fund Aus­tralian Ce­ramic Art Award.

Sid­ney Myer fund chair­man Car­rillo Gant­ner re­vealed the win­ner to about 70 art en­thu­si­asts from across Aus­tralia at Shep­par­ton Art Mu­seum on Satur­day.

Award judges were Mel­bourne’s Ian Pot­ter Mu­seum of Art cu­ra­to­rial man­ager Jac­que­line Doughty, Gee­long Art Gallery di­rec­tor Ja­son Smith, and SAM di­rec­tor Re­becca Coates.

In a col­lec­tive state­ment, the judges de­scribed Ms Or­chard’s SAM in­stal­la­tion as a ‘‘ tour de force that re­veals an artist . . . whose work has an un­ques­tion­able con­tem­po­rary rel­e­vance’’.

Ms Or­chard’s in­stal­la­tion ti­tled The Imag­ined Pos­si­bil­ity of Unity con­sists of brightly coloured ce­ramic ‘zooki­nis’ or ‘in­ter­be­ings’ which form sur­real hy­brids of plants and an­i­mals.

The works deal with her con­cerns around ge­netic mod­i­fi­ca­tion and in­dus­trial farm­ing.

Ms Or­chard was hum­bled and hon­oured to re­ceive Aus­tralia’s premier ac­quis­i­tive ce­ramic art award.

‘‘I be­lieve op­ti­mism is the only way of be­ing in the world,’’ she said.

‘‘Quan­tum me­chan­ics and bio-tech­nol­ogy are an ev­ery­day re­al­ity never dis­cussed and yet our fu­ture on the planet de­pends on our en­gage­ment with them, so my work is an at­tempt to pro­voke ques­tion­ing.

‘‘I choose not to use shock, but to try to ex­press won­der, and a gen­tle prob­ing or provo­ca­tion to look at the diver­sity and con­nec­tions in the lively world around us.’’

The 2017 Sid­ney Myer Fund Aus­tralian Ce­ramic Art Award ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes Ms Or­chard’s in­stal­la­tion as well the work of four other fi­nal­ists — Glenn Barkley, Karen Black, Laith McGre­gor and Yas­min Smith.

● The ex­hi­bi­tion con­tin­ues at SAM on Wels­ford St un­til Au­gust 13.

Win­ner: Syd­ney-based ce­ramic artist Jenny Or­chard has won the bi­en­nial 2017 Sid­ney Myer Fund Aus­tralian Ce­ramic Award.

Pic­ture: Chris­tian Ca­purro

Won­der­ful works: The Imag­ined Pos­si­bil­ity of Unity (de­tail), 2017 by Jenny Or­chard.

Cre­ative: One of Jenny Or­chard’s sur­real crea­tures from her win­ning work.

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