The nation’s most generous prize for Australian artists under forty, 30-year-old South Australian Kate Bohunnis has been named the winner of the Art Gallery of South Australia’s $100,000 Ramsay Art Prize 2021.
“The Ramsay Art Prize sets out to elevate and accelerate careers for young contemporary Australian artists,” said AGSA Director Rhana Devenport ONZM. “Currently unrepresented by a commercial Gallerist, Bohunnis is a rising star in the contemporary art scene, and this winning work represents an ambitious leap in her practice.’
After majoring in printmaking at Adelaide College of the Arts, Bohunnis studied honours at Flinders University and started to incorporate metal fabricating, mould making, movement, textiles and sound into her artwork.
In her winning work, a kinetic sculpture titled edges of excess, a pendulum, made from metal and fabricated by the artist herself, swings over a slumped flesh-like form made from silicone.
The sculpture references divination tools used in spiritual healing introduced to the artist as a child. “Where possible I like to find my own way, sidestepping traditional teachings or methods to encounter freedom,” said Bohunnis.
The winning work was selected by a panel of national contemporary art experts comprised of Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens, Dr Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Director of Programs at Carriageworks and Rebecca Evans, Curator of Decorative Arts & Design at AGSA.
Guest judge, Dr Daniel Mudie Cunningham described the winning work as conceptually rigorous and technically resolved with an inventive approach to materials. “edges of excess speaks to the precarity of our times. It is a visceral portrait of both wellness and anxiety. It is a work full of contradiction,” said Cunningham.
Presented by the Art Gallery of South Australia and supported in perpetuity by the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation, the Ramsay Art Prize is held every two years with the winning work being acquired into AGSA’s collection.
“The Ramsay Art Prize embodies the values and vision of James and Diana’s legacy,” said Nick Ross, Chair of the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation. “It is a privilege to provide young artists with the opportunity to radically change their trajectory.’
The Ramsay Art Prize 2021 exhibition runs from 22 May until 22 August at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Admission is free.
The exhibition will include a People’s Choice Prize supported by sponsor Lipman Karas. The People’s Choice Prize is a non-acquisitive cash prize of $15,000 chosen by a public vote and announced on Friday 13 August 2021.
For more information about the Ramsay Art Prize and the 2021 exhibition, visit: www.agsa.sa.gov.au for details.
Image: Ramsay Art Prize 2021 featuring Kate Bohunnis with the work edges of excess – photo by Saul Steed