Caroline Rothwell is honoured to have won the Ravenswood Women’s Art Prize 2021 with Vault

 Caroline Rothwell,  Vault , 2020, acrylic on linen, 163 x 183cm; courtesy the artist and Yavuz Gallery, Singapore and Sydney

Vault, 2020, acrylic on linen, 163 x 183cm

From Art Monthly:

Described by judges as ‘a poignant, beautiful and major work’, a painting that examines the historical idea of a wunderkammer (or cabinet of curiosities) for contemporary eyes has won the 2021 Ravenswood School for Girls Australian Women’s Art Prize, the country’s highest value art prize for female artists. Vault (2020) by Sydney-based Caroline Rothwell which was also a finalist in last year’s Sir John Sulman Prize, looks at what the artist has called ‘a Western disconnect from nature’ at a time that ‘a battle rages to recognise the value of traditional knowledge and the natural world’.

Museum of Contemporary Art

Friday 7 May MCA Artist Spotlight Talks

Caroline Rothwell will be talking about works in The National 2021 alongside Mewhish Iqbal, Lauren Berkowitz with MCA Chief Curator Rachel Kent. The artist spotlight talks commence at 6.30pm.

Image: Lung, 2021, installation view, The National 2021: New Australian Art, image courtesy the artist and Museum of Contemporary Art, photograph: Anna Kučera

Infinite Herbarium

The Panel discussion about art, tech and botany at The Calyx, Royal Botanical Garden Sydney in now on YouTube. It begins 10mins in… Panelists are Rachel Kent, Chief Curator, MCA; Jonathan Richards, Creative Lead, Google Creative Lab; John Siemon, Director of Horticulture at Botanic Gardens, Greater Sydney and artist, Caroline Rothwell.

Infinite Herbarium recently launched at The Museum of Contemporary Art as part of The National 2021 and concurrently at The Calyx in Sydney’s Royal Botanical Gardens.  Infinite Herbarium is developed from an experiment in generative AI where plant classification, machine-learning and historical botanical imagery combine to create new forms of morphing botanical specimens. 

The National 2021, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Carbon Emission 5, Constructivist Rococo (still),2020, installation view, single-channel digital animation, loop, image: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, photograph: Felicity Jenkins 

Thirteen artists consider diverse approaches to the environment, storytelling and inter-generational learning. Drawing on natural materials and processes, as well as found objects and detritus, they explore notions of planetary caretaking, and our relationship to place in an era of dramatic change.

Unseen physical forces – wind, gases, emissions – power some works, while others transform plant matter, kangaroo teeth, echidna quills and plastic waste into powerful statements. Women’s practice is central to The National 2021 at the MCA, explored through diasporic and familial histories, labour and learning, and wider mythological narratives. Symbiosis in nature is an enduring motif in the exhibition, demonstrating patterns of connection and the balance of all things in the natural world.

The National 2021: New Australian Art at the MCA is curated by Chief Curator Rachel Kent.

Lung, 2021, installation view, canvas, gypsum cement, stainless steel, paint, mixed media, image: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, photograph: Felicity Jenkins

About the exhibition

The National: New Australian Art presents the latest ideas and forms in contemporary Australian art, curated across three of Sydney’s premier cultural institutions: the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Carriageworks and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. A 6-year initiative over 3 editions in 2017, 2019 and 2021, the curatorial vision for the exhibition represents a mix of emerging, mid-career and established Australian artists living here and abroad. New and commissioned works encompass a diverse range of mediums including painting, video, sculpture, installation, drawing and performance.

Sir John Sulman Prize

Vault, acrylic on linen, 163 x 183 cm, photo: AGNSW, Jenni Carter

Vault interrogates the seduction of the 19th-century Wunderkammer (cabinet of curiosities), where specimens and artefacts were displayed in European aristocratic house museums. The process of collection and display reflects a Western disconnect from nature that is under review for our 21st-century moment in which a battle rages to recognise the value of traditional knowledge and the natural world.

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Wynne Prize

Symbiosis (bluebeard orchid), hydrostone, canvas, paint, epoxy glass, stainless steel, wood,hardware, 213 x 60 x 38 cm, Photo: AGNSW, Felicity Jenkins

Symbiosis (bluebeard orchid) is a sculpture influenced by the endemic bluebeard orchid and 19th-century botanical models made by Brendel, a German company. The sculpture supports elements of 21st-century infrastructure and grows avaricious tongues. The work points to the Symbiocene, a future where man-made systems attempt to align with nature, rather than overpower it.

Art Gallery of New South Wales