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And The Winner Is...

MEDIA RELEASE – 4 October 2006 “And The Winner Is…”

Francis Upritchard has won the 2006 Walters Prize, New Zealand’s richest and most prestigious art award.

The London-based artist wins $50,000 and an all expenses paid trip to New York to exhibit her work at Saatchi and Saatchi’s world headquarters.

International judge Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev says the past and future seem to collide in Upritchard’s Doomed, Doomed, All Doomed.

“I found I was being looked at by a whole range of secret beings, people and animals looking at me from bodies that were lampshades or hockey sticks. Upritchard celebrates the hand-made. Her “poor technology” seems to me increasingly topical in today’s hightech digital age."

The prize was accepted on Upritchard’s behalf by her NZ art dealer Ivan Anthony. She is currently in London preparing for the Frieze Art Fair and an exhibition in Amsterdam.

Upritchard says; “I feel honoured to receive this award. It was a real privilege to be shown alongside Phil, Peter and Stella. Living abroad as I do, it means a lot to me to be recognised here, since my identity as a New Zealand artist informs everything I do. In some ways identity becomes all the more important the further away you are from home."

Born in New Plymouth, the 30-year-old artist grew up in Christchurch, where she graduated from Ilam School of Fine Arts in 1997.

Since leaving New Zealand, Upritchard has made waves internationally. She has featured in articles in The Guardian, The Independent, The Observer, Time Out London, New York Magazine, i-D Magazine, Vogue, Frieze and Dazed and Confused.

Upritchard was a 2003 finalist for the prestigious Beck’s Futures prize, which has a reputation for picking Britain’s most promising artists. Last year she held simultaneous shows at New York’s renowned Andrea Rosen and Salon 94 galleries.

Her work has been exhibited in Amsterdam, Vienna, Munich, Los Angeles, Berlin, London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Melbourne, Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington and Christchurch.

The four finalists; Upritchard, Stella Brennan, Philip Dadson and Peter Robinson were selected by an independent jury. Each has received $5,000 thanks to patron Dayle Mace.

Auckland Art Gallery director Chris Saines says; “The Walters Prize continues to do its job, bringing great new work into the foreground and sparking the conversation around contemporary art."

The biennial prize, named after pioneering modernist painter Gordon Walters, was established in 2002 by founding benefactors Erika and Robin Congreve and Jenny Gibbs to make contemporary art a more widely recognised feature of New Zealand cultural life.

Previous winners were Yvonne Todd in 2002 for Asthma and Eczema and the et al. collective in 2004 for restricted access.

Images are available at www.aucklandartgallery.govt.nz/press/waltersprize.asp

ENDS

See also... Judges statement (PDF)

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