Friday, June 19, 2015

2015 Yen Art Award at Gaffa - 19 June

"Now in its 4th year, the Yen Staedtler Female Art Awards is back to bring you the best in homegrown female talent".  Well, with promo copy like that, who is the Big Lamington to resist saddling up again to see who is emerging in 2015 (you can click here for 2014 and 2013).

I missed the opening but thankfully the organisers were keeping the winner a big secret, seriously I had to google this after my visit, which meant I was able to pick my point winner without bias (ha!). On the whole, I didn't think this was as strong as the prior years, and I am not sure why that is.  The prize is fantastic for an emerging artist, you get a solo show at Gaffa as well as a feature in the magazine.  As well, the judges seem to favour the "serious" artists that have graduated from a top art school (last years winner was a BFA (Hons) and this years winner is doing her MFA).  I recognised Eliza Slater's work immediately.  Eliza had taken a point in the NAS graduate show last year and had entered the same work here, nice work being selected as a finalist (image above on the right).  I liked Miranda Lorikeet's name and her entry, 'Dive / Survive'  According to the bio she did this in her lunch break on MS-Paint.  Great to see some amateur's / hobbyists involved.  This work (image above, middle) was a little pixellated when printed out to 100 x 80cm, but that could have been on purpose.  I don't think it is a Yen art prize unless there is a bit of embroidery involved and I wasn't to be disappointed this year.  Annie Comelli has made the cut with a collection of works focusing on her vajayjay.  I liked the illustrator style of Anna Gareeva (image above on the left) and similarly the rough graphic design style of Nicola Mitchell.  A standout was Louise Zhang, who I recognise from Artereal.  Her colourful, abstract work 'and it came from Goo Lagoon' (pictured top) was also big (125 x 126cm) so really differentiated itself from the mostly figurative crowd.

Points:   I am going to agree with the judges here and give 3 points for big and colourful.  Well done Louise.  Eliza is going to take the 2 points for her screen prints.  I will give one point to Annaliesa Horne for the North Sydney Bears inspired drawing (pictured above).  Always great to see some cross over between NSW Cup teams and the arts.  Also highly commended to the team from Yen for keeping this going.  And they do a handy little online publication where you can see all the finalists and get a bit more info, it's here.

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