Presented biennially by the Art Gallery of South Australia, the prize is open to artists working in any medium, including sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, installation and motion pictures.
The 2021 Prize draws entries from over 350 artists.
“We are excited to present contemporary talent from every state and territory for the first time in the third iteration of the Ramsay Art Prize,” said Art Gallery director Rhana Devenport.
“AGSA continues to champion contemporary art practice in exhibitions that celebrate the pulse of artistic practice in Australia today.”
Finalists included South Australian musician and painter Zaachariaha Fielding, of the electronic music duo Electric Fields, who presented his inaugural visual arts exhibition, Gold and Silver Coating at the APY Gallery last December, and Port Augusta artist Juanella McKenzie, winner of Country Arts SA’s 2020 Breaking Ground visual arts development award, whose Ramsay entry Yurndu (Sun) using the traditional technique of weaving emu feathers.
Other SA artists shortlisted for the prize were installation artist Kate Bohunnis, glassblower Liam Fleming, painter Solomon Kammer and textile artist Kasia Tons.
Adelaide-based Fleming, who has been a glassblower for about 10 years, said In Review he is excited to be named a finalist for his work Post production: “This is my first time going [at entering], so I feel really lucky… I think I’ve always been hiding as a craftsman in a glass-blowing studio and now to put myself out there feels a little bit weirder.”
This young artist is famous for his series graft vase, which has been collected by the National Gallery of Victoria. Post production, who has an elegant appearance of fluidity, sees him take his practice in a different direction inspired by his favorite aspect of blowing glass – “the liquid part, the true assembly of the furnace”.
“I tried to make up for that quality of fluidity [of the molten glass] coming out of the furnace, a process I like, and trying to get the glass back into that shape,” says Fleming, who works part-time as design manager at JamFactory Glass Studio.
“Looks like I’m trying to finish the circle or flip it backwards…have some knowledge of glass and then be able to take it off for a bit, let him do his own thing.”
The full list of finalists for the 2021 Ramsay Art Prize also includes Hoda Afshar (Vic), Cigdem Aydemir (NSW), Ella Barclay (ACT), Nathan Beard (WA), Sam Cranstoun (Qld), Dean Cross (NSW), Julia Gutman (NSW) , Kieren Karritpul (NT), Daniel McKewen (Qld), Alasdair McLuckie (Vic), Hayley Millar Baker (Vic), Nabilah Nordin (Vic), Tom O’Hern (Bags), Tom Polo (NSW), Anna Madeleine Raupach ( ACT), Anna Louise Richardson (WA), Lisa Sammut (ACT) and Nicola Smith (NSW).
The winner – who receives $100,000 and whose work will be added to the gallery’s collection – will be announced on 21 May, with all finalist works on display at the Art Gallery of South Australia from 22 May to 22 August. The exhibit also includes a $15,000 People’s Choice Prize.
South Australian artist Vincent Namatjira won the Ramsay Art Prize in 2019 with his life-size two-sided work close contact, while the inaugural winner in 2017 was Sydney-based artist Sarah Contos, with her masterpiece textiles Sarah Contos Presents: A Long Kiss Goodbye.
The award is supported in perpetuity by the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation, and aims to “support and encourage contemporary Australian artists to create their best work at key moments in their careers”.
Selection of works by finalists for the 2021 Ramsay Art Prize:
Support local art journalism
InReview is an innovative publication providing local and professional coverage of the arts in South Australia. Your tax-deductible donation will go directly to support this independent, non-profit journalism and art critique.
This article was supported by the Judith Neilson Institute of Journalism and Ideas.