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Artists Subvert and Challenge in John Fries Award 2016

Two Victorian artists have dominated this year’s Copyright Agency | Viscopy John Fries Award for emerging artists announced tonight by the prize’s benefactor Vivienne Fries in Sydney.

The $10,000 award winner is Eric Demetriou, while Jessie Bullivant was Highly Commended for her work.

Demetriou’s installation piece, An Afternoon with Herb Jercher, is a work combining the sounds of whip cracking with the impact of the whips’ contact on a surface. The work was developed with sound artist Herb Jercher.

John Fries Award curator, Oliver Watts said, “Demetriou’s body of work investigates the application of noise, partnered with a mischievous demeanour.

“This exciting and strong work seems to reference the drover through the sounds and effects of lashing whips. Its duality is what makes it appealing, as the sound of the whip evokes the Man from Snowy River, but it’s mediated through pop culture, art and technical recording devices.”

Demetriou has previously won the Linden Art Prize (2014).

Bullivant’s Highly Commended work, In the Event of Winning, is a video of an acceptance speech which is not to be viewed unless the artist wins.

Watts said, “This is a work that can win but not be judged and sums up for me that terrible anxiety we all have of being measured, examined, put into boxes by an ordered society and our desperate attempts to wrestle back some agency. Bullivant’s work somehow breaks the bind of the award’s rules while still, paradoxically, remaining in the game.”

Fourteen finalists, selected by the judges from 1000 entries, are featured in the John Fries Award exhibition at the award’s presenting partner UNSW Galleries until October 1.

The award’s $10,000 prize money is donated by the Fries family in memory of former Viscopy director and honorary treasurer, John Fries, who made a remarkable contribution to the life and success of Viscopy.

The John Fries Award Finalist Exhibition 2016 is also proudly supported by Boree Lane Wines and Wayward Brewing.


John Fries Award Finalists’ Exhibition

UNSW Galleries
UNSW Art & Design
Cnr Oxford Street and Greens Rd, Paddington
August 19 – October 1
Tues to Sat, 10am-5pm