A VICTORIAN artist has impressed the judges to take out the 2015 Guirguis New Art Prize.
Melbourne-based artist Lou Hubbard was awarded the prestigious $20,000 art prize for her work Dead Still Standing at the opening of the GNAP15 exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat on Friday night.
The judges applauded Hubbard on her compelling installation, which comprised a deflated, disembowelled latex horse collapsed over a Coalbrookdale patio chair, table and bench seat situated over a skateboard and plastic dog.
“Occupying a space between the traditions of equine, assemblage and unmonumental sculpture, Lou Hubbard’s Dead Still Standing confounds and compels viewers in its uncanny play of materials and movement,” senior curator, contemporary art, National Gallery of Victoria and judge Max Delany said.
“In this elaborate yet concise work, Hubbard has created a form of surprising and unsettling effect that reflects our experience of a world in translation.”
The win came as a surprise for Hubbard, who said she was overwhelmed at the talent of all 15 finalists.
“I was so surprised, because I was in good company with the other artists, who were all quite extraordinary,” she said.
“In the nature of the competition, I feel very lucky.”
With multi-layer meanings to her piece, Hubbard said it was actually Ballarat’s rich history that inspired her work.
She said it was the Ballarat goldfields and the idea of what horses might have gone through during those years that gave her a concept to work with.
But that wasn’t the only source of ideals portrayed in the piece – Hubbard also explored the effect training had on horses.
“The horse stands in a way that portrays (how) the human exhorts the way of training,” she said.
“The horse is edging like it wants to move, which is impossible, and the furniture acts in lots of ways. The chair, for example, is like the horse’s ribs, which are being ripped out.”
It was these multiple meanings that also had the curator of the Post Office Gallery, Shelley Hinton, impressed with the work.
“The work challenges us ethically and culturally, in a way that pleads for analysis, as we do in our complex daily lives,” she said.
Hubbard’s work which is on display at the Art Gallery of Ballarat and will feature alongside GNAP13 winner Ash Keating’s work in the Federation University’s Permanent Collection.
The work from all 15 finalists are on display at the Post Office Gallery and Art Gallery of Ballarat until May 31.
For Hubbard, the $20,000 art prize, which is supported by Ballarat surgeon and philanthropist Mark Guirguis, is likely to be invested back into her practice.