Alumni Update Issue 1

Deconstructing politically formulated desire through artwork

Jen Mathews
Bachelor of Visual Arts (Sculpture)

Jen Mathews, Checkout, 2015, rose branch, wood, plaster, paint, vinyl tile, rose scented bin liner, sugar

Above: Jen Mathews, Checkout, 2015, rose branch, wood, plaster, paint, vinyl tile, rose scented bin liner, sugar.

UniSA alumna and Bachelor of Visual Arts (Sculpture) graduate, Jen Mathews, uses sculpture, video and sound to explore connections and contradictions within desire. Jen’s talent was recently recognised when she was awarded the 2015 Constance Gordon-Johnson Sculpture and Installation Prize.

The Constance Gordon-Johnson Sculpture and Installation Prize is offered to final year students enrolled in the Bachelor of Visual Arts, Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) or Bachelor of Art and Design (Honours) with a specialisation in Sculpture and Installation at the South Australian School of Art. The annual prize is to assist the award recipients with their professional development in art practice.

We recently caught up with Jen to discuss her work, and her advice for other students and recent graduates:

1. Why did you choose to study a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Sculpture)?

I first came into the program to specialise in drawing, and it wasn't until my second year when I took an Introduction to Sculpture elective with Louise Haselton, that I realised that Sculpture is where I want to be! I've always been passionate about art, and undertaking a Bachelor of Visual Arts has been transformative for me - challenging the way I think and experience visual culture.

2. You received the 2015 Constance Gordon-Johnson Sculpture and Installation Prize for your work Firm and Elusive. Can you please tell us about your work?

In my work Firm and Elusive, I thought about how the consumption and expulsion experienced by our bodies moves simultaneously with the drives promoted by consumerism. My works are, in a way, by-products of these movements, and by expelling new forms I am attempting to find new sensations.

3. How will the $2000 prize help you?

The Constance Gordon-Johnston Sculpture and Installation Prize will allow me to access valuable materials and tools to help me continue evolving my practice, and to assist me in setting up my very own studio space!

4. You will graduate in early 2016. What do you have planned for this year?

I am going to undertake a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. I will be working in the area of Sculpture and Spatial Practice, supervised by artist Simone Slee. I plan to continue expanding my creative network and to have my first solo exhibition in December 2016.

5. Do you have any advice for recent graduates or new students studying Visual Arts?

You need to be intuitive, yet also able to think critically. Use the library, use the amazing facilities available to you, create discussions with your peers and lecturers, talk about art, and engage with your art community. Studying Visual Arts is not only a way to become better as an artist, it is an opportunity to learn art history and how to see art.

You can learn more about Jen and her artwork by visiting her website.

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