Julian Beaumont is the Chairman of the Macquarie Bank Art Collection. Mr Beaumont spent twenty-five years with Macquarie Bank and was Head of its Operations Group until 1996. He is currently Chairman of several toll road companies in Sydney associated with Macquarie interests. He is Vice-Chairman of St Luke's Hospital in Sydney and of a number of commercial enterprises. He also works as a development consultant to Accenture, involved in their senior educational program. Mr Beaumont has had a long association with the arts in Australia. He began the Macquarie Bank Art Collection in 1985 and has remained its Chairman ever since, building on the collection and securing its reputation as one of the country's foremost compilations of contemporary Australian landscape. In 1996 Mr Beaumont became Chairman of the Foundation for the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales, a position he held for about five years. Also in 1996 he was appointed to the founding Advisory Board of the National Art School, which has recently been awarded its Masters and Honours accreditation in Fine Arts. He has been active in the formation of the Foundation for that institution and remains involved in its activities and objectives. He is also Vice-President of the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales.
This is a really exciting project. I am in awe of so many aspects of it. The vast number of outstanding entries, from which sadly we have had to choose only a few, demonstrates the excellence and richness of Australian sculpture today.
I've been particularly impressed with the diversity of the selected works - diversity of scale; diversity of media, including new media and the inventive use of traditional media; diversity of composition and interpretation; and the range of experience and age of the finalists - it is so exciting to see some younger Australian sculptors in this exhibition, vying for the prize with better-known artists.
Neil Dawson attended art school in Christchurch and the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne. He has exhibited extensively in Australasia. Dawson now spends much of his time on site-specific projects and has permanent works throughout Australia and New Zealand, as well as in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. Recently completed commissions include the works of art Feathers and Skies for the main entrances to Stadium Australia, Homebush Bay, for the Sydney 2000 Olympics; and Chalice, a large millennium project for Cathedral Square in Christchurch. Neil Dawson lives and works in Christchurch.
I am delighted to be involved with the first National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition. It has been a great opportunity to get in touch with what is happening in sculpture all over Australia.
I was impressed by the number and quality of the entries, confirming that a revival of interest in sculpture is occurring on both sides of the Tasman. Assessing the entries has been a challenging and enjoyable collaborative task and I think we will have an exhibition that reflects the diversity and range of sculpture practice in Australia.
The National Gallery of Australia and Macquarie Bank are to be congratulated on this exciting initiative.
Dr Deborah Hart studied art history at the University of Warwick (UK) and Australian art at the University of Queensland, and was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong. She has worked as Education Officer at the Queensland Art Gallery, Assistant Director at the Wollongong City Gallery, consultant curator to the Parliament House art collection, Canberra, Director of the S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney, and as an independent curator. She is currently Senior Curator of Australian Painting and Sculpture at the National Gallery of Australia.
Her exhibitions include the John Olsen Retrospective Exhibition, 1991-92; Identities: Art from Australia, shown at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan, in 1993-94; and Joy Hester and Friends, at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2001. She was also part of an East Asia team for the Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, 1999. Hart has written widely on Australian art. Her monograph John Olsen, published in 1991, was short-listed for a New South Wales Premier's literary award for non-fiction; and William Delafield Cook was published in 1998. She is currently on the Art Advisory Committee for the Drill Hall Gallery in Canberra and the Editorial Committee of Art and Australia.
I very much enjoyed the process of looking at the diverse range of applications for the National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition. One of the considerations for the judges was to shape an exhibition that would be lively and provide an interesting take on the nature of sculpture in Australia today.
Like all the judges, I felt that we could have chosen several different exhibitions. While most of the sculptures in the show are object-based, we were impressed by the imaginative use of a wide range of materials. Above all what stands out is the breadth and exceptional inventiveness of sculpture in Australia today. We are grateful for Macquarie Bank's support of this Prize because it has opened up many possibilities for us now and in the future.
Professor Ian Howard trained as an artist and art educator in Sydney (Diploma of Art Education), London (Graduate Diploma of Advanced Studies, Film and Television) and in Montreal (Master of Fine Arts) and has taught visual arts at secondary and tertiary levels in Australia, England, the USA and Canada. He was previously Provost and Director, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. He is currently Dean, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales.
Howard has been a practising artist since 1968. His works have concentrated on the theme of the relationship between military and civilian populations and their material and symbolic products. His most recent exhibitions include Speaking Place, Redback Gallery, Brisbane, 2000; Great Wall(s), Watters Gallery, Sydney, 2000; and a major survey show, Surface Tensions, Beijing, 2000. In April 2000 he completed a long-standing project on the Great Wall of China, which became the subject of a Central China Television documentary, Howard and the Great Wall of China, 2000. His works are included in major national and international collections. Howard has previously been a member of the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council, Director of the Board of the Australia Centre for Photography, and Chairperson of the State Government Visual Arts Committee, Arts Queensland.
The response, in terms of quality and quantity of applications, was staggering, providing the judges with the rich experience of viewing such a range of work but also the logistical challenge of viewing each submission, and taking care to bring the most appropriate and exciting works forward to the exhibition stage.
The panel of judges felt eminently well suited to the task, with expertise ranging across hands-on sculptural practice, extensive curatorial expertise, Australian and international art historical knowledge and major corporate sculpture-collecting experience.
The vast number of sculptors submitting quality entries, the range, scale and diversity of the work and the energy and ambition of many of the proposals, indicates that sculpture is very much alive and well in Australia.
Most entries, and consequently the majority of works selected for the exhibition, were object-based sculptures and to some extent the competition description encouraged the showcasing of this category of work. Equally, future National Sculpture Prizes may be exhibited in settings both indoor and outdoor that complement other more site or environment-specific works.
Selecting approximately forty sculptures out of more than one thousand works entered was a daunting task and without question not all exceptional works have been able to be included. Available space simply wouldn't allow this. The final choice showcases the brilliance of individual artists and their works but also demonstrates the range, diversity and depth of Australian sculptural practice today.
Dr Brian Kennedy was educated at Clonkeen College and at University College, Dublin, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1982 (Double First Class Honours in History of Art and History), Master of Arts degree in 1985 (First Class Honours by major thesis) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 1989. He has worked in the European Commission, Brussels, and in Ireland at the Chester Beatty Library, Government Stationery Office and Department of Finance prior to becoming Assistant Director of the National Gallery of Ireland (1989-97). He has wide experience as a lecturer and public speaker at conferences and seminars, and as contributor to arts programs on radio and television. He was Chair of the Irish Association of Art Historians (1996-97). His extensive list of publications includes Alfred Chester Beatty and Ireland (1988); Dreams and Responsibilities: The state and the arts in independent Ireland (1990); and Irish Painting (1993).
Dr Kennedy is the third Director of the National Gallery of Australia. He took up the post in September 1997, and since then he has worked to make the collection more accessible to the public in Canberra, throughout the country and abroad through the introduction of free admission, an expansion of the loans and travelling exhibitions programs, and development of an extensive multi-media site. Dr Kennedy is a member of the Board of Art Exhibitions Australia, and is Chair of the Council of Australian Art Museum Directors. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, and an Honorary Ambassador for Canberra.
The exhibition of selected entries, opening on 30 November 2001, will be a most exciting one, exploring the range of possibilities encompassed by sculpture in Australia today, and offering delight and visual stimulation. We have no doubt that the National Sculpture Prize is set to become a major exhibition on Australia's cultural calendar.
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