Alison Kennedy wins 45th Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award

Melbourne (Naarm) based artist Alison Kennedy has won the Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award, Australia’s longest-running print prize, for her work ICU (2019).

Kennedy combines technology, malfunction and handmade media. Her practice is grounded in a desire to reveal what is hidden through closely observing the artistic process as it twists and turns. Underneath it all, she asks, ‘When does something make sense?’ A large-scale self-portrait made using white ink screen-printed on 30 industrial polyacrylic panels, ICU explores women’s work and the hidden labour of underrepresented groups. Her image, altered by a technology pushed to the breaking point, becomes amplified, refined and clarified through the process of printmaking. The materiality of the work showcases the orthogonal individual white specks, almost like the detail found when zooming in on a bitmap. ICU invites you to consider, who exactly sees who?

‘It is important in my practice that technology acknowledges and represents the role of the human body in perceiving and creating the world.’

Alison Kennedy

Alison Kennedy, ICU, 2019, white ink screenprint on 30 high impact polystyrene panel, 1/1, 240 x 300cm

This year’s judging panel: Felicity Johnston, Rachel Salmon Lomas and Lia Mcknight commented, ‘Alison Kennedy’s skilfully composed work ICU is a brave and poignant portrait of the artist in her studio, her face and body partially obscured by glitches that reveal the artist’s use of digital technology.’

‘Kennedy combines laboriously hand-printed silkscreen with 3D modelling techniques, exploiting the effects of pixelation to create a seductive granular quality. Printed onto industrial acrylic sheeting, the work is one of many in the exhibition that is multi-panelled. In this case the glossy, reflective surface provides a sensual quality to the work that mirrors the viewer, placing us within this oversized portrait.’

Kennedy wins $16,000 in prize money, and the print acquired by the City of Fremantle Art Collection, the largest municipal collection in Western Australia.

John Prince Siddon, Purlkartu (Spider), 2020, acrylic paint on 3D print, ABS plastic resin, 1/5, 20 x 50 x 50cm. Printed by Heads 3D

We also congratulate Fitzroy Crossing-based (Walmajarri) artist John Prince Siddon, winner of the $6,000 second prize for his work Purlkartu (Spider) (2020).

The judging panel said of his work, ‘Having painted cow skulls for many years now, Siddon has hand-painted a 3D printed skull, the surface of which features a lace or skin-like texture, derived from one of his 2D paintings.’ They add, ‘Dynamic and raw; it reflects the bold landscape and intensity of light characteristic to Siddon’s home Country in the Kimberley. This work is very much in keeping with Siddon’s distinctive and eclectic style, a magnetic combination of imagery and colour that references Country, culture and the bloody histories of colonisation.’

In addition, Highly Commended:
Beth Ferialdi, I’ve Been Meaning To Give You These (2020)
Pip Lewi +, Paul Sutherland Road Repairs (2020)
Dan McCabe, Shadows on the hill (2016-ongoing)
Cleo Wilkinson, Then IV (2020)

Now in its 45th year, the FAC Print Award presents a diverse selection of prints and artist books from emerging, established and cross-disciplinary artists, offering a true picture of the state of contemporary Australian printmaking. On show at Fremantle Arts Centre in Western Australia until 18 July 2021.