Jenny Orchard Wins UQ Self-Portrait Prize

Jenny Orchard wins UQ’s $50,000 National Self-Portrait Prize.

Sydney-based artist, Jenny Orchard’s earthenware figure Self Portrait as a Multispecies Activist 2017, was selected as the winning artwork from 28 entries on show at the UQ Art Museum until 18 February 2018.

“At the heart of my ceramics and art practice is a yearning for connection – connection with other people, but also with the world, the ecology,” Orchard said.

“This idea permeates my ceramic creatures and totems – any of which could be a self-portrait, ‘this is how I am’, bits of everything.

“To create this work I’ve taken many components from moulds of plants, vegetables from the supermarket, tree rubbings, and debris from my garden – they’re reminiscent of phytoplankton, the shapes of clouds, eyes that reflect back,” she said.

The award was judged by the University of South Australia’s Anne and Gordon Samstag Museum of Art Director Erica Green, who is Curator of the 2018 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art.

Ms Green said the artists had responded to the curatorial theme ‘Look at me looking at you’ with carefully considered artworks that demonstrated significant depth, which was a strength of curated, rather than open, prizes.

“I was drawn to Jenny Orchard’s very distinctive work – it’s playful, celebratory and intriguing – and revealed something new each time I returned to it.

“It’s technically a very refined work, with detailed and subtle qualities to which the artist has given considerable thought. But Jenny’s ‘self portrait’ is also a bold imaginative leap into another world. It’s a totemic amalgam of the things that surround her life physically, and her belief in the redeeming role of ‘empathy’.”

UQ Art Museum Director Dr Campbell Gray commented about the opportunity a self-portrait is and what it can reveal. “The idea of a self-portrait provides artists with a unique opportunity to question themselves, their identities, their personalities and insecurities and, for many, to construct an image of themselves that they would otherwise probably never make.”

The invited artists currently on display at the UQ Art Museum includes: Davida Allen | Robert Brain | Vicky Browne | Scott Chaseling | Karla Dickens | Julie Fragar | Will French | Helen Fuller | Dale Harding | Patsy Hely | Lorraine Jenyns | Jumaadi | Heidi Lefebvre | Vincent Namatjira | Claudia Nicholson | Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran | Jenny Orchard | Jungle Phillips | Lisa Reid | Marcelle Riley | Madonna Staunton | Kenji Uranishi | Justine Varga | Carla & Lisa Wherby | Terry Williams | William Yaxley | Paul Yore | Alan Young. 

UQ Self-Portrait Prize 2018
UQ Art Museum
Until 18 February

Courtesy the artists and UQ Art Museum, Brisbane.