John Hurrell – 20 October, 2012
Newby's four 'empty' rooms are the closest exhibitions at AAG in the last forty years to Billy Apple's 'subtraction' installations of 1975, and so may well be seen by some as 'controversial'. Even the Judge says it is “the least eloquent!” Yet she picked a 'non-eloquent' work.
The Walters Prize dinner speech
20 October, 8.00pm
Out of the four finalists, the one mostly to win, from objectively considering Mami Kataoka’s intellectual leanings, surely would be Kate Newby - and this was confirmed by Kataoka’s announcement of the winner this evening.
Her talk on Friday night was Impermanence and Negative Space , and the most salient quality of Newby’s installation is the emptiness of her version of a Zen rock garden. It uses concrete, bare floor, painted floor, and carpet instead of geometrically raked gravel - mixed with a grunge sensibility and intense, very bodily impacting, colour. Along with surrealist - influenced rocks (bearing messages) on an adjacent rooftop.
Newby’s four ‘empty‘ rooms are the closest exhibitions at AAG in the last forty years to Billy Apple‘s ‘subtraction’ installations of 1975, and so may well be seen by some as ‘controversial’. (Not to well informed EyeContact readers of course!) Even the Judge says it is “the least eloquent!” Yet she picked a ‘non-eloquent’ work. (One assumes because it fitted her agenda .)
Here are the Judge’s comments. They focus on other aspects:
‘I would like to award the 2012 Walters Prize to Kate Newby. It has been very difficult to create an order among the four artists’ practices, which are all outstanding in different ways. While Newby’s work is probably the least eloquent by making minimal interventions into the given space, it embraces memories of locations, her personal gestures and subtle actions, which viewers can relate to through small objects embedded into the concrete ramp and the materiality of the suspended fabric.
‘More importantly, the use of natural light and the way the work gradually crawls out of the museum space is the most reserved but radical way of transcending the fixed architectural space for contemporary art, liberating us towards wider universal space. The colour yellow emphasizes the cognition for the light and the space and the whole installation offers the physical experience and awareness of both void and silence. This decision is derived from my attempt to evoke a state of equilibrium in our ever competitive and hierarchical society and its abiding belief in power.’
Congratulations to Kate and the other finalists, and the Judge and Jurors, and the Barrs, and AAG staff, for making this the liveliest, most argued about Walters Prize ever.
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