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Featuring themes of narrative, language and intergenerational learning, the 10th John Fries Award exhibition opens at UNSW Galleries on 21 June

BY Copyright Agency | 07-May-2019
One of Australia’s most anticipated early-career contemporary art events, the 2019 Copyright Agency John Fries Award exhibition, will open at UNSW Galleries on 21 June, when the winner of the $10,000 award will be announced.
Venue: UNSW Galleries
Address: Cnr of Oxford St and Greens Rd, Paddington NSW
Date: Friday 21 June - Saturday 27 July 2019
Time: 10am-5pm daily, except Sunday and Monday
Ticket: The exhibition is free of charge and open to the public
Web: www.johnfriesaward.com
John Fries Award exhibition
Image caption: Madison Bycroft, Gong Farmer Shit Stirrer and the maiden of grief, 2019. Two channel digital video, colour, sound via walkie talkie, second channel of text via small monitor. Long pile fur, plaster, jesemonite. 18:41 mins loop.
This year’s John Fries Award exhibition, “There is Fiction in the Spaces Between”, brings ambitious new works by the ten finalists in painting, sculpture, and photography, video and installation.

John Fries Award 2019 Curator Miriam Kelly says, “The return to narrative in contemporary practice, particularly over the last decade, is fascinating and rich territory. This exhibition includes works that give new energy to the role of storytelling in visual art and seek to rewrite histories of division, with a view to valuing shared collective futures.

“Other key ideas that have arisen in the development of this show include the importance of intergenerational learning and exchange,” says Ms Kelly.

“For example, mother and daughter duo Betty Chimney and Raylene Walatinna, paint their large scale works together as a way of sharing time, stories and challenging each other creatively; while Nadia Hernàndez draws on the words, teachings and writings of family and friends living in Venezuela as a way of giving a personal face to the country’s extraordinary social and political crisis.”

This year’s ten finalists (in alphabetical order) are:
1. Madison Bycroft (Marseilles, France/Adelaide, SA);
2. Betty Chimney & Raylene Walatinna (Indulkana Community, APY Lands, SA)
3. Dean Cross (Sydney, NSW)
4. David Greenhalgh (Canberra, ACT);
5. Nadia Hernàndez (Sydney, NSW);
6. Jenna Lee (Brisbane QLD/London, UK);
7. Hayley Millar-Baker (Melbourne, VIC);
8. Elena Papanikolakis (Sydney, NSW);
9. The Ryan Sisters (Pip and Natalie Ryan, Melbourne, VIC); and
10. Justine Youssef (Sydney, NSW)

Since its inception, the coveted award has become a springboard for artists at a key moment in their career. Previous success stories include that of 2013 and 2015 finalist Vincent Namatjira, whose paintings were subsequently collected nationally and internationally, including by the British Museum.

Award winners, including Bridie Lunney and Sanne Mestrom, have similarly been supported through acquisition and selection for exhibitions at state and private institutions, while award-winner Jacob Leary was included in the 2017 Qantas Curates Initiative that saw his work featured on the airline’s Business Class resources.

Copyright Agency CEO Adam Suckling says, “The John Fries Award affords early career artists the invaluable opportunity to further develop their artistic practice, build industry networks and gain professional experience to enhance their careers. And because of its crucial role in identifying and showcasing Australia’s emerging talent, it’s a must-see exhibition for any arts enthusiast.”

The John Fries Award prize money is generously 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 the organisation.

This milestone year also brings together a stellar line-up of new judges, including Indigenous artist Fiona Foley, UNSW Galleries Director José Da Silva, CEO of Studio A Gabrielle Mordy, as well as the award’s Patron, the artist and daughter of the late John Fries, Kath Fries, along with 2019 John Fries curator Miriam Kelly.

EXHIBITION DETAILS:

Title: There is Fiction in the Spaces Between: John Fries Award 2019
Winner announcement: 6pm, Friday 21 June
Where: UNSW Galleries, Cnr of Oxford St and Greens Rd, Paddington NSW
Opening hours: 10am-5pm daily, except Sunday and Monday
Final day: Saturday 27 July 2019
Cost: The exhibition is free of charge and open to the public.

NOTE: On Saturday 22 June at 10am, a number of the artists will speak about their works.