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Art Students Honoured At Emerging Artist Awards

23rd August 2005

Art Students Honoured At Emerging Artist Awards

Bernadette Ballantyne and her winning piece

Twenty two year old Fine Art student, Bernadette Ballantyne of the Wanganui Quay School of Arts has been awarded first prize in the national Mazda Emerging Artist Award for her piece entitled ‘Orifice’, winning her $10,000 cash.

Sarah Woodward from the University of Auckland and Jonathan Brown from Auckland University of Technology were placed 2nd and 3rd, winning $5,000 and $2,500 respectively.

They were three of the 146 Fine Art students from throughout New Zealand who entered the national competition – the largest Award on offer for up and coming artists.

Bernadette Ballantyne said her winning piece, entitled ‘Orifice’, was part of a series on the abstract body she has been working on.

“My work looks at the parts of the body that have been dispelled, the bits of the body we think are taboo and don’t talk about. My piece is taking these body parts and dispelling this myth by making something beautiful out of it.”

Acrylic paint, stitching and holes cut into the canvas represent various bodily parts and fluids while a number of other materials including beautiful patterned fabric have been carefully worked into the piece.

‘Orifice’ was described by judge John Daly-Peoples as inhabiting a place between realism and abstraction.

“There are the objects on the surface, the fabric with its patterns, the stitches and traces of blood that all contribute to the work being a simple assemblage of objects or a piece of excised evidence from a crime scene. Then at another more abstract level what we encounter is like a hand made model of the cosmos or a microscopic investigation of cellular life.”

Auckland’s Sarah Woodward won second place and a cheque for $5,000 for her painting, ‘Trisomy 21’ - named after the chromosome which produces Downs Syndrome.

“I like the way the figure emerges from the dark surrounding,” said Daly-Peoples. “It is like the process of art should be, of an idea being revealed and captured. The barely decipherable words, a cross between graffiti and the personal notebook underscore the need to communicate but often with a language that does not suffice.”

James Woodward also from Auckland, was placed third and received $2,500 for his piece, ‘Action 40.8’. Judge John Daly-Peoples commented: “All art begins with a basic plan or idea, sometimes these ideas are on paper other times they reside in the mind. Action 40.8 makes real that feverish attempt to deal with those ideas which bust forth.”

The Mazda Emerging Artist Award attracted a diverse range of works from students from all over New Zealand with the influence of the growing number of Asian students as well as the Maori and Pacific dimension clearly evident.

The three winning pieces will be auctioned off for charity with the remainder of the emerging art on display and available for the public to purchase as part of the wider Mazda Artworks Charity Art Exhibition and Sale at the Hilton, Auckland.

Peter Aitken, Mazda New Zealand’s managing director and founder of the Mazda Emerging Artist Award stressed the importance of encouraging the country’s emerging talent.

“Tertiary art students often face significant financial hurdles and the Mazda Emerging Artist Award is a means of offering reward and recognition for New Zealand’s up and coming artists,” said Mr Aitken. “However, it is not just about coming first, second or third, but about providing a medium for the students to gain exposure of their art to a wide public audience and in many cases secure the first sale of their own work.”

Commission from the sales of emerging art and all other ticket and art sales at Mazda Artworks will be split between; Variety – the Children’s Charity, The Dymocks Literacy Foundation, The Spirit of Adventure Trust, The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research and the Liggins Institute. Mazda Artworks has already raised over half a million dollars in the three years it has been running.

This year marks the third year of the Mazda Emerging Artist Award and exhibition. The annual competition is open to 3rd and 4th year and studying post-graduate students from tertiary fine art institutions nationally.


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