“There were 70 entries in the competition, coming from every state in Australia. The diversity of the work makes for a very exciting opportunity to see and physically engage with work by these fine artists,” said Dr Shelagh Morgan, coordinator and curator of Southern Cross University’s nextart gallery who, with Julie Barratt, of barratt galleries, collaborated on hosting this year’s exhibition.
“Julie Barratt is one of our visual arts graduates and the 2007 Kaske Award winner. She has done a fantastic job in building a gallery with a distinct identity in the Northern Rivers, and it was the perfect venue for this year’s Artists’ Book Award event,” Shelagh said.
Central to the exhibition is the selection of works to the value of $3,000 by a leading professional in the field of artists’ books for inclusion in the Southern Cross University artists’ book collection - which is housed in the Manning Clark room at the University’s Lismore campus library.
“This is now the most significant collection of artists’ books held by an Australian university library and is integral to our University’s visual art teaching program,” Shelagh said.
“It was a pleasure to invite Robert Heather, formerly of Art Space Mackay, now events and exhibition manager at the State Library of Victoria, to come to the Northern Rivers and select the acquisitions for 2008.
“Robert brought a breadth of expertise and knowledge that is unsurpassed in Australia. He has been instrumental in putting Australian artists’ books on the world map, so we were very lucky to be able to entice him to the North Coast for this year’s event."
The annual acquisitions are made possible through the continued support of the Co-op Bookshop, the Southern Cross University library and the School of Arts and Social Sciences.
“This support is fundamental to the ongoing development of the collection,” Shelagh said.
In addition to the acquisitions into the University collection, a number of private and institutional collectors took advantage of the high calibre work to purchase artists’ books for their collections.
The Southern Cross University Artists’ Book Award is organised and coordinated by the University’s nextart gallery, which is currently running its own exhibition program from the alleyway gallery, at 89 Magellan Street, Lismore.
The artists’ books exhibition continues until September 10 and barratt galleries, at 5 Bugden Avenue, Alstonville, is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 4pm. Drop into the gallery and take a look or buy yourself a very special book.
2008 acquisitions are by: Lyn Ashby, Sara Bowen, Clyde McGill, Peter Lyssiotis, Monica Oppen, Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper, Gail Stiffe, Michele Vandermeer and Dianne Longley.
Photo: One of the 2008 Artists’ Book Award acquisitions by Michele Vandermeer titled Laundromatic; white cotton, thread, fabric, ink.
Media contact: Zoe Satherley Southern Cross University Media Officer, 6620 3144, 0439 132 095.