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The Helpmann Academy is a partnership between the following institutions: Adelaide Central School of Art, Elder Conservatorium of Music (University of Adelaide), Adelaide College of the Arts and Vizarts O’Halloran Hill (TAFE SA), Flinders Drama and Flinders Screen Production (Flinders University) and the South Australian School of Art (University of South Australia).
Exhibiting artists are selected from more than 150 final-year students from the Adelaide Central School of Art, South Australian School of Art, Adelaide College of the Arts and Vizarts, O’Halloran Hill.
The artists this year are: Taygan Bassi, Alice Blanch, Ula Blocksage, June Brady, Sundari Carmody, Patty Chehade, Ruby Chew, Eleasha Field, Jayson Fox, Sally Gibson-Dore, Sam Howie, Jaynie Langford, Megan Mackenzie, Kirstie McGregor, Lorelei Medcalf, Sophia Nuske, Maria O’Daniel, Riley O’Keeffe, Tiffany Rysdale, Carly Snoswell, Tom Squires, David Suter, Heather Teakle, Mei Sheong Wong, Zoe Woods, Kerri Ann Wright and George Zacharoyannis.
The exhibition features work across a wide range of creative disciplines including ceramics, glass, installations, jewellery, painting, photography, sculpture and textiles.
Though it seems less in quantity in this, its sixteenth year, the quality is on par with previous years. Taygan Bassi’s most beautiful No.2 C-type print Calliope (edition 1 of three) is an outstanding work surpassing time, traditional, mixed with contemporary vision. The composition is visually dynamic, with a touch of yesterday as discoloured, yellowing sheets of music floatingly adorn the background. This depiction suggests the origin of music with the guitar and cord leading out into the foreground and the human element becomes the link, past present and with its imaginings, the future. The tastefully tattooed upper arms are a wonderful contrast with the dress, the artist suggesting, maybe, a sense of place in any environment, totally in command of her situation. Her place in the community and her musical knowledge are her vehicle for performance.
June Brady’s works are a statement to beauty in the imperfection of the evolving organic creation as opposed to the machine made object. These vessels are sympathetic to the human condition, beauty in every twist and turn and every stage recorded from its torn edges to the random production of the dark rust speckles on a light filled universe.
Jaynie Langford plays with language, stating “I love you”, in a hundred different ways. Her image is an overall abstract design reminiscent of the Abstract Expressionism movement in America, except that Langford, influenced by her environment and technology, has extended the language to form a creative expression of symbols which connects people from distance to proximity. Using light and movement is the dance of the words.
Riley O’Keeffe’s works, revealed his persona in the two images where you could visualise the way he was holding the brush or tool that he was using, perhaps working quickly from side to side to obtain freshness of the works with the deliberate choice in colour and tones to appear as a landscape or an interior. This is truly ‘energy made visible’ in the mark making and abstraction.
The opening night featured the presentation of a number of awards valued at more than $15,000, including the Hill Smith Gallery/Helpmann Academy Friends Award; Raffen Award; City of Adelaide Award; Jam Factory Award; Total Photographics Award; Peter Walker Fine Art Encouragement Award; SALA Festival Award and the ever-popular Backer’s Prize. Visitors to the exhibition will also have the opportunity to vote for their favourite artwork in the People’s Choice Award.
Works in the exhibition show that the artists are highly skilled and proficient in technique. The many sales are a credit to the audiences.
Reviewed by Gina De Pieri Salvi, Visual Art Critic, Glam Adelaide.