The Walters Prize 2018

Sat 18 Aug 2018 — Sun 20 Jan 2019

The Walters Prize 2018

Sat 18 Aug 2018 — Sun 20 Jan 2019

New Zealand's contemporary art award, the Walters Prize returns to the Gallery in 2018 for its ninth iteration.

Named in honour of pioneering modernist painter Gordon Walters (1919–1995), the Walters Prize is awarded for an outstanding work of contemporary New Zealand art produced and exhibited during the past two years. The biennial Prize aims to make contemporary art a more widely recognised and debated feature of cultural life.

Previous winners were; Yvonne Todd for Asthma and Eczema (2002), et al. for restricted access (2004), Francis Upritchard for Doomed, Doomed, All Doomed (2006), Peter Robinson for ACK (2008), Dan Arps for Explaining Things (2010), Kate Newby for Crawl out your window (2012), Luke Willis Thompson for Inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam (2014) and Shannon Te Ao for Two shoots that stretch far out and Okea ururoatia (never say die) 2016.

Finalists

Ruth Buchanan

Jury statement:

'In the exhibition BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS, Ruth Buchanan provocatively blurred the roles of artist, designer and curator. Her complex installation incorporated text, video, sound and a variety of large-scale sculptural features in order to fundamentally alter the way the site was navigated and how artworks were encountered. A series of motion-activated speakers served as audio-guides for the exhibition coming to life as audience members moved towards them, videos were experienced alongside gallery hosts, and room dividers rearranged familiar spaces, disrupting existing way-finding and skewing the perception of historical features of the building. Buchanan strategically included key artworks by fellow artists Marianne Wex and Judith Hopf, weaving these into the fabric of the exhibition through her unconventional display systems. Their presence in the show further positioned her thinking within a lineage of feminist discourse that values collegiality over the individualist aspirations of a solo exhibition. The exhibition represented an extraordinary achievement in Buchanan’s constantly expanding practice.'

Jacqueline Fraser

Jury statement:

'The Making of Mississippi Grind 2017 operates as a sponge for an array of popular cultural references, casting a seductive gaze towards celebrity, rap culture and high-fashion. The installation exemplifies Jacqueline Fraser’s ability to create viscerally charged domains at an architectural scale; complete with a gold ceiling reflecting pink and gold tinsel from the walls and chandelier, and pumping sound tracks including Rhianna and Migos. The light from the film ‘Mississippi Grind’ was projected across the space, its soundtrack muffled every five minutes by one of the 19 rap songs. As well as large-scale, site-specific installations, Fraser’s THE MAKING OF series includes thousands of individual collages, three significant examples of which featured in the exhibition. Each collage in the series references a film, from mainstream Hollywood movies to cult classics. But in titling her works as fictional ‘making of’ documentaries, Fraser’s intention is less to represent these films than to position her own collages and installations as short-form documentary mash-ups: instigating an irreverent procedure of exhibition making that uses the content from the films as a prompt to lay bare the production of image culture.'

Jess Johnson and Simon Ward

Jury statement:

'Jess Johnson’s five-channel video installation Whol Why Wurld, made with Simon Ward, expands her drawing practice into digital and architectural space. Johnson’s distinctive drawings collect together rich tapestries of imagery drawn from a plethora of sources, including cosmic mythology, science fiction, early video games, RPG modules, architecture of the middle ages and traditional quilt-making. Optically complex and unsettling, Whol Why Wurld creates a collision between Johnson’s manually produced paintings and cutting-edge moving image technology. Whol Why Wurld builds on an active collaboration, where over the past five years Johnson has worked with Wellington-based animator Simon Ward in order to digitise her drawings and create dynamic computer-generated worlds. Grounded in a shared interest in retro aesthetics, these complex HD video installations occur within a speculative space, complete with sound by Andrew Clarke and computer graphics by Luke Rowell.'

Pati Solomona Tyrell

Jury statement:

''Fāgogo’ is a traditional practice that involves theatrical and performance-based forms of storytelling, which take place at night, before sleep. Pati Solomona Tyrell’s video work Fāgogo, likewise, explores this border between sleeping and waking. Individual figures merge into trios of fragmented bodies which continually mirror and fold into one another, conveying fluid gender and sexual identities. The powerful rhythmic texture of the video sustains this sense of bodies undergoing transformation in time, and in tune with a natural world which shuns the singular or, to quote, Tyrell: ‘I am not an individual’. Instead bodies are kaleidoscopic, iridescent and shape-shifting; figures move in liquid rhythms. At once intense and gently dreamlike, the work creates passages between the disparate notions of sea and land, ancient imagery and new media. Alongside Fāgogo, the exhibition hosted performances, research and events associated with the collective FAFSWAG, of which Tyrell is a founding member and principal photographer.'

Jury

  • Stephen Cleland, Curator, Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi
  • Allan Smith, freelance curator and Senior Lecturer, Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland
  • Lara Strongman, Senior Curator, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū 
  • Megan Tamati-Quennell, Curator Modern & Contemporary Māori and Indigenous Art, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

 

 

 

 

Jury's statement

'In selecting this years’ nominees, we tabled over 30 projects by New Zealand practitioners, realised both within New Zealand and offshore. The selection represents our genuine attempt to work across multiple fronts within a continually shifting contemporary art scene – by consolidating and considering practitioners who have, within their distinctive artistic practices, made outstanding contributions to the contemporary art field.

Our selection includes work that expands ideas of sex, gender and ritual; installations exploring the legacies of feminism; and an immersive work that embraces and pushes technologies of moving image and animation.'

Events

View Event
She Claims: Art Matters #5 – Ruth Buchanan and Natasha Conland
She Claims: Art Matters #5 – Ruth Buchanan and Natasha Conland

5.30–7.30pm

Members $25, non-Members $75 Book now

Join us at She Claims: Art Matters, a series of events where you’ll rub elbows with creatives and critics while celebrating the ideas, voices and power of creative women. In session five of this series visual artist Ruth Buchanan will talk with curator Natasha Conland about her creative practice, drive, culture and the key topics in her work she cares deeply about.

View Event
Preview: Walters Prize 2018
Preview: Walters Prize 2018

12–4pm

Members-only

Be one of the first people to enjoy The Walters Prize 2018 before it opens to the public. 

Preview: Walters Prize 2018

12–4pm

Members-only

View Event
Curator's talk: Natasha Conland on The Walters Prize 2018
Curator's talk: Natasha Conland on The Walters Prize 2018

2pm

Members-only

As part of the Preview day for The Walters Prize 2018, coordinating curator Natasha Conland presents a special talk for Gallery Members in the auditorium on this year's nominated artworks.

View Event
The Walters Prize unlocked: The 2018 jury speaks
The Walters Prize unlocked: The 2018 jury speaks

2pm

The invited jury for the 2018 Walters Prize discuss the four finalist’s works that were chosen by them as the most outstanding contributions to contemporary art in New Zealand during the last two years.

View Event
The Walters Prize unlocked: The 2018 finalists speak
The Walters Prize unlocked: The 2018 finalists speak

2pm

Ruth Buchanan, Jacqueline Fraser, Jess Johnson and Simon Ward, Pati Solomona Tyrell with Natasha Conland

Extras

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