The winner of the ‘the churchie’ 2018 is Caroline Gasteen for her series of three oil paintings. Caroline Gasteen is a Brisbane-based artist whose practice focuses on the two-dimensional image as object. Her style draws on modernism and abstraction, and she has a particular interest in colour relationships and dimensionality. Her series of three small oil paintings is the latest iteration of her creative process: paintings of photos of models made from photos. The artist finds humour in the sentimentality of memorialising a model made of wire and paper in an oil painting, but is drawn to the sense of potentiality that the process conveys. She explains, ‘The notion that an idea is most perfect, whole and potent before it enters the messy world of reality resonates deeply with me. The real thing isn’t the desired outcome for me, it’s just an excuse to make.’
Guest judge, Lisa Havilah of Carriageworks, awarded the non-acquisitive prize money of $15,000 sponsored by BSPN Architecture at the opening of the finalists’ exhibition at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Art Museum in Brisbane on 7 September 2018. In keeping with the long run of high-profile industry professionals associated with ‘the churchie’, Lisa Havilah, director of Carriageworks was bestowed the honour of selecting the overall winner. Havilah said, “I am absolutely thrilled to have had the opportunity to judge the 2018 churchie national emerging art prize. It has been brilliant in this year’s churchie to be introduced to so many great emerging artists from around the country, and to know that the future of visual arts in Australia is so bright.” Havilah said it was a challenging process selecting a winner, but the technique and style of Gasteen’s work immediately stood out to her. “Caroline is an extraordinary painter,’ said Havilah. “I can’t wait to see what she does next. I’m sure this win will open up some very exciting opportunities for her.”
The winner of the Special Commendation Award valued at $5,000, sponsored by NK Orthodontics, was awarded to Jimmy Nuttall for his dual-channel video, Mutual love and support, which follows a cast of queer individuals performing a narrative about psyche and selfhood. Two artists each received Commendation Prizes valued at $1,000 each, sponsored by Rob and Roz Whiteley, Marakit Santiago for her work, Original sin, and Nick Santoro for a selection of paintings and sculptures.
For the first time, a people’s choice award will also be awarded following the completion of the exhibition. Exhibition visitors will be invited to vote for their favourite artwork; the winner will receive a $3,000 prize, sponsored by Rob Whitely of Madison Cleaning Services. All voters will go into the draw to win one night’s accommodation at The Johnson Art Series Hotel, Spring Hill Brisbane.
Over the last 30 years ‘the churchie’ has become one of Australia’s most exciting art prizes for upcoming artists and each year gives us a peek at what’s to come in the future of the Australia’s contemporary art scene. Throughout the exhibition process, artists worked closely with the exhibition curators to bring a selection of their works to the public.
“The churchie provides a unique opportunity and support for unknown and emerging practitioners,” said Kevin Wilson, Curator, QUT Art Museum. “These artists have had the chance to work collaboratively with curators, and be seen by people who are looking at art generally. This show has a great potential to put emerging artists on the map.”
The prize aims to offer tangible support, nurturing and encouragement to a new cohort of emerging artists. This is particularly important, as like so many prizes, ‘the churchie’ has become embedded as a rite of passage for artists, as they move through their career to more substantial roles and opportunities, creating and innovating in Australia and abroad.
From over 1000 submitted artworks, 35 emerging artists were selected as finalists for ‘the churchie’ in 2018. Finalists were selected by a panel comprising Dr Chris Bennie, visual artist and lecturer at QCA Griffith University, Leah King-Smith, visual artist and lecturer in the School of Creative Practice QUT, Vicky Leighton, Head of Art at Anglican Church Grammar School; and Katherine Dionysius, Curatorial Assistant, QUT Art Museum.
An exhibition of the finalists’ work can be seen at QUT Art Museum in Brisbane until 4 November. The inaugural People’s Choice Award will be awarded following the completion of the exhibition. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
1. Caroline Gasteen, Plantin’ Seeds 2018, oil on board, 38 x30 cm. Courtesy of the artist.
2. Caroline Gasteen, Mother #1 2018, oil on board, 38 x30 cm. Courtesy of the artist.
3. Caroline Gasteen, What To Do With Pictures 2017-18, oil on board, 50 x 30 cm. Courtesy of the artist.