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Controversial Wallace Art Awards at The Dowse

1 November 2004

Controversial Wallace Art Awards at The Dowse

13 November - 5 December

New Zealand's biggest, longest running and often controversial contemporary art awards has left Auckland and is now headed for The Dowse. For the first time in the Wallace Art Awards' 13 year history, a selection of 40 finalist works will be on display at The Dowse, Lower Hutt from 13 November - 5 December. The Wallace Art Awards are awarded for contemporary New Zealand artists working in painting, sculpture and unique photography. The Wallace Arts Trust and its Founder, James Wallace, see the awards as a way of acknowledging, encouraging and financially rewarding artists currently producing outstanding works.

Over its 13 year history the Wallace Awards have developed into New Zealand's best known and richest contemporary art prize. In 2004 there were 429 entries received from throughout the country. The works in this exhibition are a selection of Finalists.

Winner of the 2004 Wallace Art Award, Jim Speers, received $35,000 and a UK residency for his work English Electric (nb. image below). His stunning large-scale luminous neon light-box is intended to "rekindle those warm feelings that you get as night is falling and you're walking towards the fish and chip shop and you see the neon light and think 'Oh, that's a nice sign'," he says.

"This is a great opportunity for The Dowse to showcase the work of New Zealand's leading contemporary artists. We are thrilled to have been chosen as the only North Island venue outside Auckland - and look forward to playing host to this challenging look at the latest contemporary New Zealand art." say Dowse Director Tim Walker.

"The Wallace Awards provide an unparalleled opportunity to catch up with the work of established and emerging cutting edge artists from around the country", says Walker. "I've often seen the work of a new artist I've never heard of before in the Wallace Awards exhibition, that's part of it's excitement". Auckland artist Matt Ellwood won the Wallace Development Prize, which includes a residency in New York.

The runners-up were Aucklanders Katja Fabig and Miranda Playfair. Robert McLeod of Wellington received a jury prize. Their works are included in the exhibition.


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