Small Sculpture Prize 2015

2 April - 4 May 2015
Free Entry

The 2015 Small Sculpture Prize is proudly presented by Davis Funerals in association with the Waiheke Community Art Gallery and Te Motu Vineyard. This is a National Award for an original free-standing or wall sculpture up to 800mm in any dimension. The Award is $3000.

The selector and judge for the 2015 Small Sculpture Prize is Finn McCahon-Jones, Curator Applied Arts & Design at the Auckland Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira. The selected finalists for the 2015 exhibition are: Janet Belton, Mark Schroder, Philip Jarvis, Ryder Jones, Anah Dunsheath,Suzan Lee, Sena Park, Chris Mules, Sarah Lenton, Kim Logue, Doug Marsden, Jonathan Campbell, David McGill, Jennifer Mason, Kiya Nancarrow, Liz Fea,Helen Holmes, Jane Downes, Mia Hamilton,Alvin Xiong, Sally Smith, Graeme McKay, Murray Swan, Jamie Pickernell, Kay Bazzard, Ashley Grant, Fran Dibble, Virginia Leonard.

The Gala Ceremony and Award announcement took place on Saturday 4 April 2015 at 5pm. 

Auckland sculptor Ryder Jones is the recipient of the 2015 Small Sculpture Prize, winning $3,000 for his work Z (You Saw Me Standing Alone). This national award was announced at Waiheke Community Art Gallery on 4 April by Craig Little of Davis Funerals, sponsors of the award. The Merit prize went to Jonathan Campbell for his work Quietus, a bronze candlestick surrounded by cigarette buts evoking memory. Selector Finn McCahon-Jones, Assistant Curator Object and Design at Auckland Museum, commented that he was pleased to see the juxtaposition between commercial and conceptual artists and the work of new graduates alongside more established practitioners. In judging the exhibition he looked for aesthetic, being the materials and finish, as well as narrative, that the work matches the artists statement and physicality, being how it engages the space and the viewer. The exhibition of all 28 works selected from multiple submissions is on until 04 May 2015.

“Now in its sixth year the Small Sculpture Prize is the only exhibition for small sculpture in New Zealand, it is becoming the bench mark for sculptural exploration offering artist the opportunity for critical review before enlarging and furthering their concept,” said Linda Chalmers, Gallery Director. For further information about the artists or their exhibition works and for photos of artists’ works please contact: Linda Chalmers on 3729907.

Following are Finn McCahon-Jones  selector notes from the award evening:

 “Kia ora koutou e huihui mai nei i te kaupapa o te mahi toi.

For the past 11 years I have worked with the collection at Auckland Museum. Over these years I have been fortunate to handle 1000s of pieces of work, and meet many artists, who draw me into their worlds teaching me about form and technique. Prior to the Museum, I studied at AUT majoring in sculpture, under the tutorage of Monique Redmond, who was the judge of these awards last year. When judging the works I look for three main elements – aesthetic (materials, finish & formal qualities); narrative (whether the artist’s statement matches or enhances the work); and physicality (the affect of the work in the space, and how it engages the viewer). In this show it's wonderful to see new graduates along side more established practitioners; and the juxtaposition between commercial and conceptual artists. The 30 works you see in this gallery were selected from nearly 60 submissions. I was impressed by the quality of the work and the full range of techniques and materials used. Two works that explore the qualities of wood are Graham MacKay( depiction of a whale diving through solid wood) and Doug Marsden (netsuke of an orang-utan). Both works are highly technical and master the material. Doug’s netsuke could comfortably sit beside those in the Mackelvie collection, held at Auckland Museum. The quiet bronze and metal works by Fran Dibble (nut-shell sailing boats, on a book), Helen Holmes (kauri wreath) and Jonathan Campbell (candle on a plate). These works pulled me into their space, and had me dreaming up questions and provoking thoughts. Jonathan Campbell’s work makes a memorial for an everyday person, capturing the moment of someone’s last gesture, a contemporary memento mori. The stone works in this show have all the physicality that you would expect from the material. Ashley Grant’s wall piece draws from the history and language of architecture and commands the space; James Pickerall’s rock with wire rope, feels more like a relic from an event in New Zealand’s engineering history, the object holds a certain uneasiness. David McGill’s discus’ somehow focus my attention on their form, and how effortlessly they float on top of their plinths, rather than the extreme weight of the material (despite watching three men lift them into place!). Philip Jarvis (ceramic toothpaste), Kiya Nancarrow (ceramic ribbon), Senna Park (plaster and cloth form) and Jennifer Mason (silicon rubber stack) play with structure and form and materiality. Jennifer Mason’s silicon rings make the most satisfying visceral ‘peel and stick’ as you place the rings one-on-top-of-the-other. Kiya Nancarrow’s technical mastery of her dynamic ribbon defies the materiality of clay. Kim Logue (glass saw), Jane Downes (illuminated bee structure), Suzanne Lee (glass nest) and Mark Schroder (deconstructed architecture & ball) all allude to environments and activities. These works transport me to times and places by opening strange heterotopias. Mark Schroder manages to conflate a familiar yet foreign architecture into a capsule, here on the floor. Kim Logue gives thought to the colonial trade of kauri and the past histories of the wider region. Anna Dunsheath (BOMB lightbox), Ryder Jones (bowling ball in sling) and Alvin Xiong (mirror shards on canvas). All these works exist within the boundaries of the work itself. Anna Dunsheath’s slick work BOMB sits lit, waiting to be deciphered; here light quietly ‘paints’ the surface of Alvin Xiong’s mirror work. While Ryder Jones’ sculpture is playing against itself, where each element of the work relies on the other to create the environment in which the piece exists. Hermetically sealed it plays with structure, materiality and gravity. Sarah Lenton (leather pod), Virginia Leonard (pink blobject), Janet Belton (steel Möbius strip), Chris Mules (fur & feijoa), are all wonderfully tactile objects, the surface and use of material drew my eye into the minute detail where I found myself inspecting the microscopic parts of the object. Liz Fea (butterfly vases), Kay Bazzard (sitting boy), Sally Smith (birds), Murray Swan (titanium flower), are works that come from observing and pondering their environments. Mia Hamilton (cray pot), warns the viewer that taking things as they come can be a trap. Each flower represents a day from her life, is a bed of roses as good as it sounds?

As you have just heard, the thought, techniques and genre of these works couldn’t be more varied. It is a difficult job comparing these works to each other, yet I have really enjoyed thinking about them. I would like to thank Linda and the rest of the gallery staff for making the selection process and the delivery of this show so straight forward. You are rigorous and relaxed – a great combination. Now I would like to hand over to the sponsor of the award – Craig Little from Davis Funerals, to announce the winner. “ Finn McCahon-Jones, Waiheke Small Sculpture Awards, 2015 Speech notes

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