Sunday, September 9, 2012

Artists take to the AIR

Fae Varriale, Barry Richez, and the team of Tyrehl Byk and Ultraviolet Alter flew to the top honors in the UWA Artists' Choice Challenge for August on the theme, "Air". This was the fourth in this year's series of theme shows at UWA and featured 21 entries by 17 artists. The awards were presented at a ceremony Saturday morning with Taralyn Gravois performing emcee duties.

This is the first of four shows to be based on the alchemical elements of air, water, fire, and earth. The series continues in September with "water."

Fae's evocative piece "On the Breath of the Wind" seemed to perfectly express the idea of the ethereal element of air.When informed of the result, Fae gasped, "OMG!! Thanks! I never expected that lol. My first mesh :) ...There were some really lovely entries."

In Second Place, and winner of the People's Choice Award, was Barry Richez's "Body Fan," a fun and energetic tableau of people being blasted by a giant fan, while others worked to unplug it.

In Third Place was "The Flavor of Things Unseen," another wonderful creation by particle master Tyrehl Byk with a subtle but profound aural environment of wind and voices designed by the talented sound artist Utraviolet Alter. This team seems to work beautifully together as previously demonstrated by their joint entry in the recent UWA Centenary Challenge where they took Second Prize overall.

The Non-Scripted Prize was won by Secret Rage for her work "Words in the Air." This piece is a wonderful play on words that float in air, either literally or figuratively, e.g., music, terror, chill, laughter, insects, etc. (N.B. In the awards ceremony Hypatia Pickens's entry "Learning to Breathe" was erroneously announced as the winner of the Non-Scripted award. The piece is actually scripted and thus does not qualify. This was my error, for which I apologized to both Hypatia and Secret. -FreeWee Ling,)

The Artists' Choice awards are judged by the participating artists themselves. It's a special honor to be awarded a prize from such talented colleagues. This was another show of rich diversity that made voting difficult. There were many very strong entries that were deserving of recognition. Congratulations to all who participated!

Here is the full text of the awards ceremony:

Welcome to the fourth edition of the UWA Artists' Choice Awards!

As is tradition at the University of Western Australia, we would like to acknowledge that the University is situated on Nyoongar land and that the Nyoongar people remain the spiritual and cultural custodians of their land and continue to uphold their values, languages, beliefs and knowledge.

Before we announce the winners, FreeWee would like me to remind you that the amazing UWA Centenary show is closing today. The top winners will be moved to this space soon as she can clear the Air show.. Do please take a last tour of both wonderful shows ASAP.

The exhibition catalogues for each of the Artsts' Choice challenges are being published in the online journal "UWA Studies in Virtual Arts." The current "AIR" show will be added to the previous three editions that covered the "3D Self Portraits," "Perfume," and "Music" shows earlier this year. This latest edition is lacking only the announcement of the Winners and should be published very soon. It and the earlier editions can be found at this link.

FreeWee has published the complete photo archive (167 images) of "AIR" on her Picasa site.

FreeWee also urges you to submit your work for the next show on the theme: "Water". Deadline for submissions is TODAY at 6PM SLT. The UWA sim next door (under the Centenary exhibit) has been flooded to 100 meters and some of the pieces are already being installed, The Water show will open probably Sunday or Monday.

And finally looking ahead , start working on your submissions for the show to follow Air and Water, with an appropriately spooky October theme of "Fire" for Halloween month. And in November we will finish out the elemental themes with a show about "Earth."

The UWA Artists' Choice challenges are designed to inspire and support the work of artists. The key difference from earlier challenges is that the main awards are determined entirely by the votes of the participating artists and sponsors themselves. It's a special honor to be acknowledged by our colleagues. Who knows art better than they?

Today represents the end of the AIR show. We received 21 amazing entries for the AIR theme by 17 artists.

L$20,000 was donated by our sponsors this month. Clearly, none of this would have been possible without the tremendous support of UWA in SL, and most especially the imagination and vision of JayJay Zifanwe.

We also express our deepest gratitude to the other sponsors for this event:
Armany Thursday and Dyce Underwood for DNA Art and Music Fusion
Eliza Wierwight and Patron
Cherry Manga and Anley Piers for Mysterious Wave
Ginger Alsop and Phi Designs
and special donations by anonymous donors.

Anyone wishing to support future challenges, please contact FreeWee Ling.

Now to the awards. Choosing "Air" for the August theme inspired the idea of this show being the first of four related shows based on the alchemical "elements' of air, water, fire, and earth. The interpretations of "air" have been diverse and in some cases, non-obvious. We were expecting maybe aircraft, kites, birds, or else subtle ethereal or gaseous objects. But most of the entries were fairly substantial.

The People's Choice voting received 252 votes total. The voting was clear, with 11 points separating the winner from its closest competitor.

The People's Choice Award (L$2000) for UWA Artists' Choice Air goes to:
BODY FAN by Barry Richez

Rounding out the top five were: Fae Varriale, both of Hypatia Pickens' entries, and Barry's other entry "On Air",

Next we go to the Non-scripted Award. This was determined by the highest ranking in regular voting for a piece that is non-scripted.

The Non-Scripted Award (L$3000) for AIR goes to:

WORDS ON THE AIR by Secret Rage
 (N.B. In the awards ceremony Hypatia Pickens's entry "Learning to Breathe" was erroneously announced as the winner of the Non-Scripted award. The piece is actually scripted and thus does not qualify. This was my error, for which I apologized to both Hypatia and Secret. -FreeWee Ling,)

Other entries ranking highly in the Non-scripted category included Ush Underwood, Chic Aeon, and Corcosman Voom.

Now for the top three overall awards.

Because of FreeWee's peculiar position, she has decided to again withdraw her entries from consideration for a prize. She thanks all who voted for her and is pleased to have been able to participate in this show.

The Third Place Award (L$3000) goes to:
THE FLAVOR OF THINGS UNSEEN by Tyrehl Byk & Ultraviolet Alter

The Second Place Award (L$5000) goes to:
BODY FAN by Barry Richez

There were only 3 points separating the second and third place winners. But the First Place winner was a clear favorite with 9 points separating it from second. A clear consensus by the participating artists.

The First Place Award (L$7000) goes to:

Our congratulations to Fae. Other artists who ranked strongly in the voting, in no particular order, included FreeWee Ling's GRASSWINDS, Barry Richez's ON AIR, Jessie Leahy's ALBERTIANA AIR PLANT FLUTE GARDEN, and Secret Rage's WORDS IN THE AIR.

Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to all who participated in a great show! Please take a final look around before you leave today.  The AIR show will all be gone by this evening to make room for the CENTENARY winners. Thank you all for coming! Have a great day!

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