Supporting emerging talent - Glaister Ennor Graduate Art Awards
Since 2006, the Glaister Ennor Graduate Art Awards have encouraged Auckland’s emerging artists, and each year, we ask Auckland art schools to nominate their top honours and masters students. We then engage art judges to examine the work of all the nominees' entries at an exhibition at Sanderson Contemporary Art Gallery.
Art Awards 2018 winner Hannah Valentine
This year I was invited to co-judge the Glaister Ennor Graduate Art Awards, held at Sanderson Contemporary in Newmarket. The Awards provide a stepping stone for graduate artists eager to forge a career in the arts. But the awards are also valuable for curators, collectors, and gallerists eager to know more about the artistic concerns of a young and emerging generation of artists. The Awards then function as a meet and greet, a valuable bridge between the respective circuits of tertiary study and professional practice.
The Art Awards exhibition features a shortlist of 16 works, four from each tertiary art institution in Auckland. Collectively, the artworks impressed in their focused intent, self-awareness, and engagement with both materiality and wider societal concerns. Across many of the works is strong sense of the autobiographical. Sholto Buck’s text work The Blood of Sensibility is Blue acknowledged the constant negotiation of one’s selfhood in a range of situations while Oliver King’s video offered a self-aware take on privilege. Alexander Schipper also made purposeful use of video to consider the acts of self-imaging that in turn inform how we see ourselves. Closely related to this is an exploration of the interior mind, which was particularly evident in the paintings of Yvonne Abercrombie, Abbey Lynman and Priscilla Hunter.
Moving from the interior to external concerns, many works also showed a concern with our relationship to wider context. Danae Ripley’s painting Dull It Down places people into ambiguous proximity with each other. Hannah Rose Arnold’s photographic diptych Tributary considers both the relationships between people and people’s relationship to interior and natural environments respectively. The fragility of our impact on the Waitakere Range’s ecology - evidenced by the rahui - is well expressed in Chervelle Athena’s photographs.
This awards exhibition also presented non-complacent interrogation of materiality, from Monique Lacey’s rejection of minimalism through to Scarlett Cibilich’s use of the stretcher as a the starting point for a series of compositional investigations. Possibly one of the most playful engagement came from Vaimoana Eves’ humourous, pendulous fabric works, which, together with existing objects, have been stashed away in lockers, daring us to unlock them.
Other works considered how materials can unlock history. Arapeta Ashton’s reference to the Maori rain cloak reminds us of the time, knowledge and links to nature embodied within the Pake. Similarly, Aydriannah Tuiali’i’s video considers what is passed on through waiata and kapa haka.
So how do you approach selecting only two works from such an impressive array of options? At the end of the day, myself and co-judge Adrienne Schierning were drawn to works that lingered; works that offered up both a timely commentary on current societal concerns while also holding some kind of tension that refused reprieve.
The Barfoot and Thompson Award went to Mish O’Neill for her stunning photograph. The work’s full title is Kawarau (The Remarkables) 5 January 2018. 10.35 - 11.05am. It stood out for the way it triangulated landscape, photography, and time. Recognising that colonial impulses are implicated in the history of landscape photography, the work seems to ask how you might approach photographing place ethically. The artist’s response seem to be one the embraces the camera obscura as a technique that questions what knowledge a photograph produces.
The Glaister Ennor Graduate Award went to Hannah Valentine, for Shifting Sensibilities. Hannah’s work stood out for its smart and insightful interplay between the language of display and the commercialisation of exercise. The work warns of the increasing commodification of exercise, where an activity that we associate with immediate bodily actions is increasingly mediated by capitalism, co-opted into a fitspo revolution. And yet the barbell like object still beckons, or at least suggest, touch. You can see fingerprints. You want to test the weight. The work suggests the potential risk of losing a fulfilling sensory experience, not only of things, but the very exertion of your own body.
By Ioana Gordon-Smith – Curator, Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery
Glaister Ennor belongs to “The Starship Guardian Angel Society,” which was formed to recognise the importance of bequests to Starship Hospital. The Society gives members the opportunity to see first-hand how bequests are used in the hospital - this ensures that gifts are wisely used.
If you would like to know more about leaving a bequest in your will to Starship Children’s Hospital, see www.starship.org.nz.
Through Jack Porus’ active involvement in Rotary, Glaister Ennor has been pleased to support a number of Rotary events and the efforts of Auckland Rotarians.