Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery has announced the shortlist for the new National Still Life Award.
Image: Kellie Leczinska, Mortgage – Death Pledge, 2016. Digital Medium Format Photograph printed on Platinum, 118cm x 93cm.
‘STILL as a genre based award — being still life — is now open to all artists regardless of medium,’ said Cath Fogarty, Gallery and History Services Coordinator at Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery.
Building on a 10 year foundation of a still life painting prize, the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery has reinvigorated the award by challenging our preconceptions about the genre.
'When we called for entries we asked artists to think about still life in more exploratory ways, to consider the enduring themes of still life and to look at how they might be interpreted,’ said Fogarty.
One of those enduring themes is ‘memento mori’ ( remember you die) and this resulted in many entries that mourned the state of our environment and passage towards extinction and others that commented on our disposable society.
‘While many people still associate still life with paintings of tables of fruit and flowers it has been artists like Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, who have had a huge influence on the way artists and audiences think about still life. It is refreshing to have three dimensional works in the exhibition that not only explore the nature of composition but also the enduring themes of life and death and the passage of time and memory.’
The overall winner will receive $20,000 and the winner of the People’s Choice Award will take home $5,000.
Fogarty believes the new direction of the gallery and the award is positive and reflective of changes occurring within council as well as the community. Coffs Harbour has grown rapidly in recent years and is seen as a major population growth area due to the great climate and good infrastructure (the airport, rail links and NBN) It also has a diverse and interesting culture with a strong and proud Gumbaynggirr heritage, a vibrant creative industries sector and as designated refugee resettlement area there are many new influences coming in and shaping the community.
As a signature event in the gallery’s calendar Still has created a national platform for all visual artists in Australia to consider. From a gallery perspective,‘it has created an opportunity to rethink what we’re doing, contemporise the award and, reach out to new artists and engage them with the genre.’
A total of 63 artists have been shortlisted (listed below). The selected artworks include painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, ceramics, glass, sculpture, video, printmaking and textiles.
The STILL award and restructuring of the Council isn’t the only change in Coffs Harbour’s cultural sector. The city will also be home to a new purpose-built gallery and library that reflects the growing community and new phase of development across the city.
‘Council has made a commitment to build a new gallery and library in the CBD to support this growth.’
‘Population is 75,000, which is quite big compared to other places that have much larger libraries and galleries than ours. I think there is a recognition that supporting arts and culture is critical and our current cultural facilities are too small for the size of this city.’
STILL: National Still Life Award opens 6pm on Saturday, 25 November 2017.
2017 STILL finalists
Karl de Waal
Laura E. Kennedy
Anselm van Rood