Students count down to their biggest art show yet

9 November 2015

Over 160 students at Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) are counting down to their biggest exhibition yet as they put finishing touches on artworks for the 2015 Undergraduate Degree Show, which officially opens on Tuesday 17 November.

The students from SCA’s flagship Bachelor of Visual Arts (BVA) degree and Honours program will be looking to follow in the footsteps of international artists and SCA graduates like Ben Quilty, Fiona Lowry and Shaun Gladwell.

The Dean of the University of Sydney’s contemporary art school, Professor Colin Rhodes, says the end of year show is the most anticipated event of the year for SCA students and the Sydney arts community.

"The event is the culmination of three and four years study for our student artists. The show gets bigger every year, attracting over 3,000 visitors on opening night alone," said Professor Rhodes.

It is a critical stepping stone for our emerging artists to have their work viewed by curators and gallery directors and make connections in the commercial art sector.”
Professor Colin Rhodes

Across the historic, 61-hectare Rozelle campus of the University of Sydney, multiple gallery and art studio spaces will showcase a diverse display of contemporary art by Sydney’s newest talent working across film and digital art, jewellery and object, painting, photomedia, printmedia and sculpture.

Among this year’s promising talent is Honours student Eugene Choi who has already taken part in several Kaldor Public Art Projects in the last two years, and whose potential as a performance artist has caught the eye of curators. In February 2014 Choi took part in Tino Sehgal’s This is so contemporary at the Art Gallery of NSW. This year she was a facilitator for Marina Abramovic: In Residence, and later this month she will perform in Xavier Le Roy’s exhibition Temporary Title 2015 at Carriageworks.

In the SCA show, Choi’s new work, Body Scaffold (Tesseract), is a four-channel, video installation featuring a performance by the artist that is translated through the frames of TV screens, suspended within a scaffolding structure.

Kai Wasikowski is another talented student who is attracting interest after exhibiting his work in several artist-run spaces and galleries in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, and at Sydney’s inaugural Other Art Fair this year. Now finishing his third year at SCA, his graduation work will consist of a series of large-scale lenticular photographs titled Foliage II and Foliage III, and an immersive light and sound installation called Living room.

Wasikowski’s work is motivated by the idea of entanglement in a web of consumerism and technology, which he seeks to escape by immersing himself in nature but struggles with a dependency on technology to stay connected. Using lenticular plastic in his work, Wasikowski creates objects and spaces through 3D illusion, where the divisions between technology, nature and the human body dissolve in a new perceptual ecology of light, matter and sound.

Jewellery and object artist Victoria Cleland has had an eventful year, following her participation in the 16th Biennial Conference of the Jewellers and Metalsmiths Group of Australia, and a solo exhibition at Studio 20/17 in Sydney. Cleland brings an international perspective to her work, aided by SCA-led field trips to ‘Schmuck’ in Munich – a world hub for contemporary jewellery.

Her new work, #H&MGOLIGHTLY: An Imaginary Foray into the Luxury Jewellery Field, critiques the invasive nature of ‘luxury’ in the 21st century. The series of printed jewelled garments is a parody of the manipulative world of luxury adornment. Once preserved for the elite, Cleland imagines future luxury items globally available for the masses through fast-fashion, marketing heavyweight retailers like H&M.

Cambodian student, Somaling Vong Queen, originally came to Sydney to do a Bachelor of Computing. After her first year she became restless, yearning to pursue her passion for fine arts. Vong applied to study at SCA and three years later, she is now finishing her visual arts degree.

Her ornate self-portrait series Vong Queen’s Doll in this year’s show combines drawing, collage and design. Vong Queen explores identity through the lens of pop-culture and female archetypes, to create the eccentric images and characters. The work is driven by the artist’s childhood dreams and vivid imagination, embellished by compulsive decoration. She intends to evolve the series into sculpture and installation works for her first solo exhibition next year.

Several art prizes will be announced on opening night of the SCA show, including the annual Artereal Mentorship Gallery Award for the outstanding Honours student. The winner will be mentored for 12 months by the Artereal Gallery, Rozelle, culminating in a solo exhibition.