Now in its 8th year, the Schenberg Art Fellowship offers $40,000 cash prize to one of the Australia’s most talented emerging artists, or “hatchlings”, exhibiting at ‘The Hatched: National Graduate Show’ at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA).
Amongst a school of 35 finalists from 23 of Australia’s best art institutions, the 2017 Schenberg Art Fellowship was awarded to University of Sydney graduate Kai Wasikowski for his artworks In-tension (2016) and Looking with a Forked Tongue (2016).
This year’s judges – Amy Barrett-Lennard, Director, PICA; Ted Snell, Chief Cultural Officer, Cultural Precinct, University of Western Australia and Mikala Tai, Director, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art – were engaged by Wasikowski’s work, commenting, “Kai’s works immediately stood out to us and sparked conversation. The artist was able to transform everyday objects and images in a way that was highly engaging and allowed the viewer to experience them in entirely new ways. His ideas were beautifully thought through and the execution of the works displayed an impressive level of precision and rigour. Kai is someone who clearly has great potential as an artist.”
Wasikowski makes work that considers what it means to be ecologically aware, using photography, found materials, and multimedia. In-tension presents a linear pattern of fishing rods drawn inwards to each other by interlocked fishing line, strung in a state of constant tension. The materiality and restrained energy of the work reframes an object previously known for its use-value to one with innumerable other meanings and connotations. Looking with a forked tongue depicts free frame garden foliage with a 3D optical effect of undulating depth, and a tension between transforming images conjured by the lenticular lens. The re-scaled and oversaturated hues give the image a surreal quality, existing somewhere in between an organic past and a manufactured future. It is nature, doing its best impersonation of nature.
In addition to the winning announcement which took place at the opening of the exhibition on Friday 5 May, the judges specially commended artists Susannah Bourke of The Australian National University for Fan, Fire and Recall (2016) and Ellen Norrish of Curtin University for 71/5,375 (2016).
‘The Hatched: National Graduate Show’ presents an intriguing snapshot of Australia’s emerging art landscape. 2017 finalists include Jordan Azcune, Anindita Banerjee, Skye Baker, Jane Bartier, Christine Barzaga, Kim Brolga Williams, Mechelle Bounpraseuth, Susannah Bourke, Laura Burstow, Maxwell Callaghan, Aoife Coleman-Clarke, Eva Collins, Kassandra Caramanico-Walker, Emily Dang, Sang Duong & Takuya Ito, Ben Fisher, Hannah Gartside, Greer Harris, Drew Connor Holland, Dionne Hooyberg, Christopher Houghton, Reija Lee Thomas, Nikki Lundy, Tracy Lymn, Carly Lynch, Lukas Mack, Callum McGrath, Kate Alida Mullen, Eva Nolan, Ellen Norrish, Lottie Sebes, Gwan Tung Dorothy Lau, Kai Wasikowski, Stacey Wilson and Min Wong.