2017 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award

Please note: this is an old article.

This article was published on 17, June, 2017. The infomation contained wihin may be out of date or inaccurate.

Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) is excited to announce the winner of the biennial Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Art Award (SMFACA), the premier national Award for artists working in the ceramic medium.

This year’s exhibition supports the rich, vibrant and diverse use of the ceramic medium, and includes the work by five contemporary artists Glenn Barkley, Karen Black, Laith McGregor, Jenny Orchard and Yasmin Smith. Works are on display at SAM from 17 June to 13 August.

 The prestigious $50,000 prize has been awarded to Jenny Orchard for her work The Imagined Possibility of Unity (2017).

Judges of the 2017 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Art Award are Jacqueline Doughty, Curatorial Manager, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne; Jason Smith, Director, Geelong Art Gallery; and Dr Rebecca Coates, Director, Shepparton Art Museum.

 Judges’ comments:

“Jenny Orchard’s installation is a tour de force that reveals an artist in full command of her medium, and an artist whose work has an unquestionable contemporary relevance.

Orchard has been at the forefront of ceramics as a contemporary medium for more than 40 years.  In an outstanding field of five leading contemporary artists working in clay, Orchard’s work is utterly compelling. 

Her figures are invested with an exceptional life force that emanates directly from the organic medium of clay. The Judges were dazzled by Orchard’s range of expert modelling and glazing techniques.  While Orchard’s work has clearly acknowledged references to art and design histories, including the Italian art and design The Memphis Group (1981-87), the judges feel strongly that Orchard’s work transcends all influences and powerfully communicates a singular vision.” 

Inaugurated in 1991 as the Sidney Myer Fund Australia Day Ceramic Award, the award has evolved into what is now known as the Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award. The Sidney Myer Fund have tenaciously supported the development of a now nationally-renowned ceramic collection at the Shepparton Art Museum, as well as artists through their support in this award, which has previously awarded now-distinguished artists Stephen Benwell, Deborah Halpern and Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran.

Jenny Orchard commented on being shortlisted for the 2017 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award in February:

“Being part of the 2017 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award is very exciting for me. This show makes it possible for me to bring together aspects of my practice which have been quite scattered over the last decades. I moved my studio home in 2015 and built a “shed” with transparent walls and roof to see the sky, trees and birds in 2016.

I believe optimism is the only way of being in the world. 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.”

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IMAGE: Jenny Orchard, The Imagined Possibility of Unity (detail), 2017. Photo by Christian Capurro. Image courtesy the artist and Despard Gallery, Hobart.

Media: SAM Marketing Coordinators - p (+61 3) 5832 9494
Amina Barolli - amina.barolli@shepparton.vic.gov.au 
Sarah Werkmeister - sarah.werkmeister@shepparton.vic.gov.au