25 years of thought-provoking work
Over the past 25 years, Southern Cross University has supported the development of artistic culture regionally, nationally and internationally and the individual art practices of over six hundred and ninety-six students and more than fifty staff members.
The course has evolved with the current trends in art education and demand from students, reflected in the recent shift from a Bachelor of Visual Arts to a Bachelor of Art and Design. What is an artist and how does a university course facilitate this process?
As well as exposure to various techniques and technological tools, there is an underlying framework of skills which allow an artist to grow beyond their university education and be applied in many settings. A major aim of the course is to instil the ability to critically inquire and discuss contemporary issues of art and society. Another vital skill for longevity in the arts is the ability to be self-directed and plan on an ambitious scale.
The final yet most important quality is the self-belief that a teacher can inspire in a student and that the artistic process is one of ongoing discovery and experimentation. Another factor that makes Southern Cross University's Art and Design course unique is the regional setting of Lismore. The campus is situated in the lush, green hills of the Northern Rivers: a visually beautiful place and with the human accessibility of a regional centre. The freedom of this environment creates a haven for artists who may be overwhelmed by busy city life.
When selecting the alumni for 25 Years 25 Artists, the curatorial team looked for artists who had sustained their art practice over time and are continuing to achieve a high level of competency. This may have been in a single medium or through a diversity of mediums and contexts.
The depth of the selected artists’ practices was considered not only for technical competence but also in terms of innovation and originality. The exhibition aims to showcase a variety of artistic expression including painting, sculpture, installation, video and mixed media. The curators endeavoured to represent a range of gender and age.
This exhibition hopes to capture the achievements of the alumni of Southern Cross University's Art and Design course and to acknowledge the powerful exchange that takes place in an educational setting for artists. The impact of this education can be seen in the creative lifelong learning of the artists in 25 Years 25 Artists.
Dr Stephen Garrett (Senior Lecturer, Art and Design)
Dr Fiona Fell (Lecturer, Art and Design)
Annie Long (Artist & Curator, Art and Design Alumni)