Video artist Heath Franco awarded 2015 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship

Talia Linz (Curator, Artspace), Alexie Glass-Kantor (Executive Director, Artspace), Heath Franco (2015 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (Emerging) recipient), Mary Darwell (Executive Director, Arts NSW).

Talia Linz (Curator, Artspace), Alexie Glass-Kantor (Executive Director, Artspace), Heath Franco (2015 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (Emerging) recipient), Mary Darwell (Executive Director, Arts NSW).

The NSW Government’s 2015 NSW Visual Arts (Emerging) Fellowship has been awarded to Western Sydney-based experimental video artist Heath Franco.

Mr Franco was awarded the prestigious $30,000 fellowship for his multi-channel video installation THE RAINBOW LANDS 2015, which is among works by 12 emerging visual artists featured in a new exhibition at Artspace, Woolloomooloo.

Arts NSW Executive Director Mary Darwell, who presented the fellowship at the exhibition’s launch at Artspace last night, said Mr Franco will undertake a mentorship with music-video creator Joel Kefali, research, create and perform new works in the US and deliver workshops at the Information Cultural Exchange in Parramatta.

“Arts NSW is proud to offer this fellowship as part of the NSW Government’s support for professional development of artists,” Ms Darwell said.

“The quality of works submitted for this year’s fellowship was very high, so I encourage anyone interested in visual art to see the exhibition and experience the talent of some our State’s best emerging artists.”

The exhibition of works by the 12 shortlisted fellowship candidates has been co-curated by Artspace Executive Director Alexie Glass-Kantor and curator Talia Linz in consultation with the artists.

Ms Glass-Kantor said: “The fellowship is a cornerstone in Artspace’s program, and affirms our ongoing commitment to supporting generations of leading NSW artists.

“Since 1997 we’ve been honoured to present this significant exhibition and award, which in the last two years has evolved into a collaborative-mentorship developed through a close partnership with Arts NSW.

“The breadth of artistic approaches represented in the 2015 exhibition illustrates the excellence and diversity of artists emerging from NSW. Each finalist delivered an artwork that exceeded our expectations – astonishing in their ambition and originality.

“We thank each finalist and commend them on their tremendous achievements, and we offer our warmest congratulations to Heath Franco. Overall this is a bold and brave new generation of artists: watch this space!”

The other 11 artists featured in the exhibition are:

  • Lucas Davidson of Coogee
  • Stevie Fieldsend of Leichhardt
  • Emily Hunt of Annandale
  • Biljana Jancic of Newtown
  • Leahlani Johnson of Katoomba
  • Sarah Mosca of Enmore
  • Tom Polo of Smithfield
  • Nicola Smith of Potts Point
  • Mason Kimber of Newtown
  • Angela Tiatia of Paddington
  • Justine Varga of Paddington

About Heath Franco

 Heath Franco was born in Cooma and currently lives in North Parramatta.

His practice largely takes the form of video, although the process of production and exhibition of his works are also concerned with video, photography, performance, sound, music, digital media, video special effects and installation.

He creates video works of short to medium duration in which he performs various absurdist-style costumed roles in green-screened landscapes.

The fellowship’s selection panel said: “Heath Franco is an exciting new voice in Australian art. His new work consolidates and develops his previous work, pointing to a stimulating new phase of his practice.

“He has an unconventional voice. He creates characters that are unsettling yet familiar and who subvert cultural stereotypes. His playful and fearless exploration of the materiality of the video medium is impressive.

“This is due to a keen sense of pace, use of restraint and idiosyncratic, sensory visual language.”


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Published: 13 November 2015