2020 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship
The 2020 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship (NSW VAEF) features eight artists who share a sensibility for material transformation, reinterpreting the meaning of objects and imagery through time. Themes of accumulation, repetition and memory span the exhibition as artists create replicas, collages and readymades hybridised from original sources. For others, the act of reproduction is concerned with embedding and empowering objects - many [JB1] of which are loaded with the enduring effects of history and power.
Several artists collaborate with [JB2] family, friends and the wider community to find shared stories of identity and lived experience. Connecting the interpersonal and interrelational, artists negotiate the politics of vulnerability and empathy as a method of healing. While deeply rooted in the histories and cultures of material practice, artists abstract language and imagery as ways of thinking through culture and connection, as well as their loss over time.
A number of [JB3] artists play with the utility and poetics of technologies to create speculative spaces and imagine potential futures. Others use technology to evoke spaces of the body [JB4] that are seen and unseen. The body becomes a resonator across the gallery, addressing the nuance of encounters and intimacies between artists and audiences.
With the uncertainty of this current moment, and at a time of physical distancing, artists consider alternative points of entanglement and contact. All works are new and site-specific[JB5] , directly interrupting or playing with the architecture of the gallery. Artworks make contact with one another and interrupt sightlines in an intentional gesture informed by a desire to find connection[JB6] and exchange.
The NSW VAEF profiles the breadth and dynamism of emerging contemporary artists in NSW. Awarded annually by Create NSW and presented in partnership with Artspace, the finalists undertake a period of development with the Artspace curatorial team, working towards an ambitious group exhibition from which one artist is awarded $30,000 to contribute to a program of professional development. The finalist exhibition has been held annually at Artspace since 1997, continuing to define new generations of contemporary art practice for both artists and audiences.
2020 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship, installation view, 2020, Artspace, Sydney. Photos: Document