Congratulations to all students who were recognised as finalists for the 2021 Jenny Birt Award.
For more than 25 years, Jenny Birt has been encouraging and supporting young artists to pursue and build careers as professional practicing artists. One of the ways she has supported young and emerging artists is through an annual award – the Jenny Birt Award at UNSW Art & Design.
The Jenny Birt Award was initiated in 1995 by the ‘U Committee’ and is the longest running and most prestigious award for Painting within the UNSW Art & Design academic calendar. Candidates are nominated by academic staff and then selected for inclusion in the exhibition and consideration for the $3,000 Jenny Birt Award.
This year’s exhibition at AD Space (17-26 June 2021) featured the work of eighteen finalists:
Alix Crowe, Anna Seymour, Astrid Elouise Bell, Calina MacGinley Jamieson, Claude Platzer, Dana Hubraq, Edwina Huang, Fiona Macpherson, Francesca Athas, Lileana Colarelli, Mahitha Ramanathan, Matti, Meredith Toyama, Nitasha Chaudhary, Patricia Potter, Remy Faint, Sabrina Santana, Sophie Waddington
The judging panel included Amrit Gill (Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and UNSW alumnus) and Dr David Eastwood (Lecturer and HDR Director UNSW Art & Design).
Congratulations to the winner of the 2021 Jenny Birt Award, Astrid Elouise Bell for their work 'Saying the quiet part out loud’.
Bell’s work is selected for its confident handling of the medium, merging form and content to explore a sense of loss and absence. The materiality of the work stands out, with the wood textures and painting techniques amplifying the ghostliness of the imagery. The recurring motif of the candle, as physical object and painted subject in the work, subtly references painting’s vanitas tradition and invites reflection in the viewer. The installation also provides clues to hidden meanings and narratives, and demonstrates Bell’s sophisticated but understated approach as an artist. Congratulations to Astrid.
Congratulations also to the two highly commended students:
Sabrina Santana for their work 'Amber light, dead of night’
Santana’s work is highly commended for the way it skilfully conveys a sense of foreboding in relation to the suburban experience. The depictions of streetscapes at night are cinematic and evocative. The artist demonstrates an admirable control of the material processes of painting, with the surfaces not overly laboured and the small scale adding to the strong atmospheric qualities of the work.
Alix Crowe for their works ‘The teddy bear you gave me and other things my dog destroyed’, ‘I need a man that writes me poetry’, and ‘Romance is not dead’
Crowe’s work is highly commended for its ability to reclaim agency and power in response to personal experiences. The use of text, found objects, and imagery allow Crowe to create tensions between the kitsch sensibility of the materials and the motivations driving the artwork. The multiple elements are successfully integrated without becoming literal or reductive. The work is brave, complex, and emotionally affecting.
Alix Crowe, 'The teddy bear you gave me and other things my dog destroyed, I need a man that writes me poetry, and Romance is not dead' 2020. Teddy bear, dog toys, dog blankets, faux fur, teddy bear, Barbie dolls, Ken dolls, lace, chocolate tin, felt, fake flowers, teddy bear, pipe cleaner, synthetic fur on canvas. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Anna Seymour, 'Mapping' 2021. Installation, inks, earths and beeswax on paper, rocks, soundscape. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Astrid Elouise Bell, 'Saying the quiet part out loud' 2021. Installation, acrylic on plywood, candle. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Calina MacGinley Jamieson, 'Opulence (the saga of the eight eyed walrus)' 2021. Seed beads, bugle beads and acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy: the artist.
Claude Platzer, 'MDF is the fabric of reality' 2021. Acrylic paint and pencil on MDF. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Dana Hubraq, 'Skin in Various Forms with Various Degrees of Seriousness' 2021. Acetate, poster paint, ink and fishing wire. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Edwina Huang, 'Childhood, DIY Dad, and Merrylands Station' 2020-2021. Oil on canvas paper, oil on MDF board. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Fiona Macpherson, 'Like Water in Your Hands' 2021. Oil and acrylic yarn on canvas. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Francesca Athas, 'Take a Seat at the Table' 2021. Coloured crayond pencil, acryliv paint on canson paper, found chair, perspex. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Lileana Colarelli, 'Pieta (mum holding Vio while she cries), Pieta (mum comforting Alex while he cries), and Pieta (mum pitying me as I cry)' 2021. Oil and acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Mahitha Ramanathan, 'Banana Republic' 2019. Watercolour and texta on watercolour paper, sticker paper, bananas. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Matti, 'Tote Bag 3: Purple (recto and verso), Tote Bag 1: Yellow (recot and verso), Tote bag (installation view)' 2021. Acrylic painting on gesso on (damaged and found) canvas. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Meredith Toyama, 'Depersonalise Goshiki - Yellow and Hachidori No Iyashi' 2020. Acrylic, flowers and resin on canvas board and acrylic, marker, pastel and flowers on wood. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Nitasha Chaudhary, 'Garden of Covid, and Raji in Bed' 2021. Oil and acrylic on canvas and oil on wooden board. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Patricia Potter, 'The Golden Years' 2021. Installation, oil on canvas, green wall paint, lamp, chair. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Remy Faint, 'Warm Folds, Cool Shades' 2021. Foldable wood screen, acrylic and aerosol on canvas and linen. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Sabrina Santana, 'Amber light, dead of night' 2021. Oil on canvas, shelf. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.
Sophie Waddington, 'Lips' 2021. Miscellaneous scrap fabric, sewing pins, metallic paper, plastic garbage bag. Image courtesy: the artist. Photo: Anna Kucera.