2015 saw the 4 year cycle recommence with host Elam School of Fine Arts at the Gus Fisher Gallery.
Said Mary-Louise Browne "I would like to congratulate all the art students who have presented their work for us to judge. They are all up against the same challenges. The existence of the student loan has taken the place of the student grant and so a student art award now allows for a whole glorious jumble of new works to be seen outside of the studio and assessment.
So what criteria did we use? We used what was there in front of us. We looked and we found: skill - edge - activism - grace - intellect - science - standards - anarchy - wit - resistance - daring - optimism"
Our judging panel for 2014 was made up of NBR arts writer John Daly-Peoples (lead judge for this first four-year cycle), Auckland Art Gallery director Rhana Devenport and iconic New Zealand artist Dick Frizzell.
Says Rhana Devenport: "This is a remarkable exhibition that articulates the mood and concerns of young Auckland artists working today. John Daly-Peoples, Dick Frizzell and I were equally impressed with the strength of vision and the breadth of materials at play in these works. From vestiges of Arte Povera to the possibility of painting today, from the immediacy of video to communicate social realities to poetic extensions of digital animation and photography; these works push and pull at our senses and deliver an overwhelmingly optimistic stance about the state of art practice today."
Says Janet McAllister on behalf of the judging panel: “It was pleasing to see such a diverse array of art practices, including moving image, performance, photography, sculpture, installation and painting. The works explored multiple themes and issues, including power and persuasion among multi-national technology merchants; tensions of art patronage; earth as a marker of transience as well as identity; the use of public space as one’s own personal stage.
We chose works for commendation which are bold and striking, and just as importantly, are cohesive and coherent, with each of their individual elements supporting the others.
It was great to see glimmers of humour in some of the works, and to be part of an event which brings art students together from across Auckland to be inspired by each other.”
Says Chris Saines on behalf of the judging panel: “It was immensely stimulating to be part of this year’s judging panel. We were greatly impressed by the standard, the ambition and, at moments, the risk-taking of the work. This is a brilliant opportunity for art students to really take the measure of how their work functions at a public level. We hope it causes them to reflect on what they are producing, and why, and whether or not it’s engaging an audience as they’d hoped. I think everyone involved in the presentation of Eden Arts should take pride in what’s been presented at Unitec’s Building 1. With the building itself being such an active agent in the exhibition, it’s difficult to imagine a more lively setting for these awards.”
Said John Daly-Peoples: “We were impressed with the overall quality of work from all the art schools. The fact that all 4 schools turned out to be in the top 4 places is a testament to the schools, their tutors and the uniformly high level of teaching across all 4 institutions. The works showed a high degree of technical skill as well as refined thinking about their practices. Students used the art of the past and present to make relevant and illuminating comments on personal social and environmental issues.”