Judges comments on the winning piece:
This enigmatic award-winning work could only have been made in the 21st century. In the genre which gained international prominence when Grayson Perry won the Turner Prize in 2003, the work of this practitioner is autobiographical.
The loosely made object is simply a canvas. Why is the vessel cut away? It reveals a figure inside. Is it the demon within? The theatrical figures on the exterior are interacting but it’s not clear what they are doing or their relationships. The drawing is confident, lively and loosely executed (in keeping with the vessel itself).
Oliver brings his experience of painting and the theatre to his ceramics. He is someone who has been working with clay for less than two years yet demonstrates the potential to become a force in the medium in the future.
This epitomizes the reason for the Award being established.
We would like to thank all those who submitted an entry to this, the inaugural Emerging Practitioner In Clay Award.
Deliberately, the criteria for “emerging” was left open for this award to see who would enter. Some entrants may appear to have already “emerged” but we decided to evaluate all the entries and now have a more clearly defined view on what will become the criteria for the next award.
The aim of this award is to present talent which has not been identified before and to give the recipient of the award a financial boost enabling them to progress their career in ceramics.
We had vigorous, lengthy discussions and had to make some difficult decisions, selecting 37 of the 65 entries received.
The exhibition includes work from Whangarei to Dunedin, ranging in styles, techniques, aesthetics and other aspects of working with clay, from the humble to the extroverted. It demonstrates that the future of studio ceramics in New Zealand looks lively and positive. We encourage those not selected to continue working with clay and be part of the growing resurgence of the medium.
The person we have chosen as the award winner has been selected for more than just the work on show. The additional material each entrant was asked to submit helped us to decide that the recipient shows the potential to become one of the leading ceramic practitioners in New Zealand.
We hope you enjoy the exhibition and find work which will excite, inspire, challenge and stimulate discussion, or simply require your quiet contemplation.
Tom Seaman is an IT consultant and art collector with a focus on ceramics, Rick Rudd is celebrating 50 years of working with clay, and Paul Rayner is a ceramic artist and co-owner of Rayner Brothers Gallery.