Heath Franco wins major emerging artist prize - Art Collector

Heath Franco, Your Door. Still, DVD, 8 min. Courtesy: the artist

31 July 2012 | Video artist Heath Franco is the 2012 winner of the Churchie National Emerging Art Prize.

Franco is known for unsettling video works and his winning entry was no exception. The eight-minute DVD features the devil, a roadworker, a saxophonist and the artist in a very tight leopard print unitard.

The work was selected by curator Maura Reilly, who these days divides her time between New York, Sydney and Brisbane.

“There’s something really off-putting about his staging of scenes,” she says. “They swing from kaleidoscopic views and high key colours to a sterility you might find in a hospital, waiting room, or porn set. As an American, I thought it was a gutsy approach to the subject of blokeyness, of the Aussie male, and it was brilliant across the three things that really matter in video: concept, production value, performance.”

Franco receives a prize of $15,000. Three artists were also highly commended by Reilly, the Brisbane artist Sam Cranstoun, Agatha Gothe-Snape in Sydney and Genevieve Kemarr Loy of the remote community Utopia.

This year there were over 700 entries, with 41 selected by preselection judge Simon Wright for exhibition. The finalist exhibition now continues at the Griffith University Art Gallery until 8 Setpember 2012.

Jane O'Sullivan

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