By Robert Frolla


The 2017 Sydney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award (SMFACA) will be announced on Saturday 17 June at the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM). The award will be followed by a joint exhibition that will run until mid August.


The shortlisted artists are Glenn Barkley, Karen Black, Laith McGregor, Jenny Orchard and Yasmin Smith. The five exhibiting artists were shortlisted in February this year and have spent the last four months developing and refining their work for the exhibition.


Glenn Barkley, Greek Style Krater, 2016


Glenn Barkley’s work channels everyday life, botanical forms and literary reference points while drawing upon ceramics history, while Karen Black illustrates themes of war and female experience through third- and fourth-century Turkish perfume bottles.


Laith McGregor, inspired by nostalgia and the subconscious, creates a sculptural installation that explores the intersection of dreams and reality. Continuing the theme of exploration, Jenny Orchard investigates further into the natural world, mythology and invented narratives around gene technology.


Yasmin Smith, using ceramic branches directly cast from River Red Gums and orchard trees around Shepparton, assembles a structure that examines social histories around agriculture, migration and displacement.


Yasmin Smith, Contours of our heart (detail), 2016


Judges of the 2017 SMFACA are Jacqueline Doughty, curatorial manager of the Ian Potter Museum of Art; Jason Smith, director of the Geelong Art Gallery; and Dr Rebecca Coates, director of Shepparton Art Museum.


The Sydney Myer Fund has supported SAM since 1991, and the SMFACA is seen as a unique arts prize, as stated by chairman of the Sydney Myer Fund, Carillo Gantner.


“This prize, the only one of its kind in the country, continues to attract Australian artists of the highest order and we are delighted that our support has assisted Shepparton to build one of the very finest collections of ceramics in the country. We look forward to the collection being shared more prominently with the community and with visitors in the planned new SAM,” Gantner says.


The 2017 SMFACA exhibition will run until Sunday 13 August.



Sydney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award
Saturday 17 June – Sunday 13 August
Shepparton Art Museum




Robert is a freelance editor for Busybird Publishing, and has edited for Writers Victoria’s The Victorian Writer and Phantasmagoria Magazine.

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