10 October 2006

Winner announced
25th Gold Coast International Ceramic Art Award

Julie Bartholomew

An unnerving trio of fine porcelain objects has been awarded the 25th Gold Coast International Ceramic Art Award of $10,000 with the work subsequently entering the Gold Coast City Art Gallery Collection.

Unnerving because initially they look so seductive—then you see that squashed inside the bag are lips, nose, ears, nipples and feet; squeezed into the pointy shoes are tightly curled toes; and real fingers eerily merge seamlessly into the soft smooth surface of the glove.

"Casts from actual bodies that make visible wrinkles, veins, folds and imperfections counterpoint the work's polished veneer of consumerism "—the artist

Sydney based artist, Bartholomew, admits to being both fascinated by fashion as well as wishing to critique the global consumer culture that surrounds the creation of desire to purchase and to wear these products. The work comes out of a long-term interest in the body as a site for the expression of social and cultural change and specifically this recent work grew from her experiences in the Australia Council Studio in Tokyo in 2005.

In the media saturated environment of this modern hyper city, she was intrigued at the way in which Western consumer values are impacting on the body imagery of Japanese women and their role in society. The work is part of a larger installation of life size figures cast in porcelain that also combines projected digital images. That work has now been acquired by Shepparton Regional Art Gallery for their ceramic collection.

Professor Noel Frankham, Head of School of the Tasmanian School of Art, was the Judge and he commented in his speech to the large crowd of over 250 people attending the opening that;

"Julie Bartholomew steals the day for me by combining several of my expectations of successful art; a good idea, technical excellence, and accessibility delivered through gentle humour. Julie has recently completed a PhD at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney and she is also a teacher there. She makes us consider identity as she criticises consumerism, giving us the up to the minute designer woman, entirely contained within her 'labelled' accessories. The three-part work, I am Louis Vuitton, I am Manolo, I am CoCo, is beautifully crafted, sculptural in scale and form, respectful of material and will make a significant addition to the Gold Coast City Art Gallery collection."

Bartholomew has had a number of solo exhibitions and her work is held in public and private collections. She was awarded another Australia Council grant to continue this work in China. She travelled to the Gold Coast in 2007 to give a talk about the work.

In recognition that the Gold Coast Ceramic Art Award has reached a milestone 25th year, the award this year has been increased from $5000 to $10,000.

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