Elam academic shortlisted for New Zealand's most prestigious contemporary art prize

10 March 2016
Flightdream by Joyce Campbell

Senior Lecturer Joyce Campbell from Elam School of Fine Arts has been named as one of four finalists for the Walters Prize.

Campbell was nominated for her work Flightdream, a 25-minute video that is loosely based on a short story by science fiction novelist Mark von Schlegell (USA/Germany). The work was originally exhibited at Two Rooms gallery late last year.

Named after the late New Zealand artist Gordon Walters, the prize worth $50,000 is only awarded once every two years, to the artist who has made the most outstanding contribution to local contemporary art, during that time.

This year’s shortlist is notable for its dominance of lens-based and moving image works.

Campbell’s video features sculptural objects subjected to corrosion through an electrochemical process, causing sheets, webs and traces of matter to drift and entangle. The destruction generates complex new forms, which emerge and disappear.

Accompanied by an industrial soundscape from experimental noise guitarist Peter Kolovos, Flightdream is described as having a ‘painterly use of light’.

A meditation on the relationship between projection and perception – how we make sense of what we see, it also reflects on people’s interaction with volatile and hostile environments that are in the process of transformation.

Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says "the Walters Prize is the Gallery’s biannual opportunity to draw attention to the power and ingenuity of contemporary art practice in Aotearoa New Zealand. Through a rigorous selection process four artists have been nominated for exceptional artworks that pushed the boundaries of art making in 2014 and 2015."

Elam graduates and staff have a strong track record for being both nominated and awarded the Walters Prize since its inception.

The winning work will be selected by an internationally renowned art professional at the Walters Prize 2016 Gala Dinner in September.