On Friday 11 August, UNSW Galleries launches its new season celebrating early career and emerging artists with the much anticipated 2017 John Fries Prize one of five exhibitions revealing the talents of early career visual artists from Australia and New Zealand. 

Now in its eighth year, the $10,000 John Fries Award is presented in partnership with the Copyright Agency | Viscopy and this year is curated by well-known Sydney based artist and UNSW academic Consuelo Cavaniglia.

Twelve finalists have been selected to present multiple works in the 2017 exhibition.  According to Cavaniglia, “This year’s finalists are drawn from a broad cross-section of early career artists with diverse and engaging practices; the interdisciplinary nature of these is very exciting. Although there is no single curatorial theme, many of the finalists’ work engages with questions of cultural identity and consideration on landscape.”

The John Fries Prize was established by the Fries family in 2010 in memory of former Viscopy director and honorary treasurer, John Fries, who made a remarkable contribution to the life and success of the organisation. Its aim is to provide a platform for some of the most engaging and experimental works from the next wave of contemporary artists in the region.

The 2017 finalists include  Amanda Williams (UNSW Art & Design) – photography and installation; Angela Tiatia (UNSW Art & Design) – multidisciplinary; Anwar Young – sculpture and new media; Barayuwa Mununggurr – sculpture and painting; Ben Leslie  – sculpture; Bridget Reweti – video and performance; Claudia Nicholson (UNSW Art & Design) – multidisciplinary; Fayen d’Evie – installation, performance, writing and publishing; Ella Sutherland – text based art and graphic design; Kuba Dorabialski (UNSW Art & Design) – video and performance; Tina Havelock Stevens (Sydney, New South Wales) – multidisciplinary; and Kathy Ramsey – painting.

The 2017 John Fries Award winner will be determined by a panel of guest judges including: Consuelo Cavaniglia, Guest Curator of the 2017 John Fries Award; Melanie Oliver, Senior Curator and Programs Manager at The Dowse Art Museum, Wellington; Clothilde Bullen, Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia; UNSW Art & Design graduate Fiona Lowry, multi-award winning artist (Archibald Prize, Moran Prize, Fleurieu Landscape Prize); and Kath Fries, artist, Viscopy board member, Chair of the John Fries Award committee and daughter of the late John Fries.

According to Kath Fries, “The quality of the award is going from strength to strength each year, and I’m always excited to see how the finalists use the award as a springboard to ambitiously develop their practices. This year’s finalists’ exhibition offers a glimpse of what’s occurring at the dynamic ‘emerging’ edge of the contemporary art scene, heightening our expectations of the future.”

The John Fries Award runs from 11 August to 2 September 2017.  The winner will be announced at the opening on 11 August, 6-8pm. 

To find out more about this upcoming UNSW Galleries season visit.