ARMIDALE artist Janna Hayes has been selected as the 2023 recipient of the Helen Dangar Memorial Art Bursary, winning $3000 towards her future art endeavours.
Hayes accepted her award at the November 17 opening of the latest exhibitions at NERAM.
She said she was looking forward to using the funds towards attending a loom weaving workshop at Kawashima Textile School, Kyoto.
The Helen Dangar Memorial Art bursary is awarded each year to a New England artist to support a professional or creative development opportunity that will assist them to improve their skills, learn new techniques or broaden their artistic horizons.
Hayes' art consists of large, expressive landscapes and abstract pieces painted primarily in bitumen and oil paint on paper. She examines the relationship individuals have with nature and the way in which they turn to specific landscapes for solace, grounding and rejuvenation.
"I work in expressive bursts, first with bitumen to lay down composition and tone and then going over in layers with oil paints, sticks and pastels," Hayes said.
"I like using bitumen because of its consistency and the sepia tones it gives, and I like the juxtaposition of using a road base to depict something natural.
"I'm currently trying to push myself to work with more varied landscape compositions. I want to incorporate fibre art into my practice, making use of local wool and exploring the intersection of craft and art.
"I love the idea of creating 'worlds' that viewers can step into and enjoy and being able to work in different media will help me realise this. Because painting is an intensive and emotional practice for me, the repetitive, steady nature of working with fibre provides a beautiful balance. In both mediums colour and meaning are my focal points."
Hayes said her trip to Japan to attend the loom weaving workshop would provide a unique opportunity to learn a new skill that built on her interest in working with fibre.
"Living in Armidale, the opportunities to learn are limited and this kind of chance doesn't come along very often, so I am really keen to make the most of it.
"At the same time, I feel there is a growing interest in fibre art and the recent exhibition Weaving Eucalyptus by artist Liz Williamson in Tamworth was just so beautiful, unique and inspiring. I would love to find my own way of working in that space."
Janna said her planned show I Can Be My Own Hero for May 2024 features as one of the hero figures, Mary Ann Bugg.
"Mag was wrongly convicted of stealing 12 yards of fabric and as a centrepiece for the show I'd like to present a woven sculptural work titled The Whole 12 Yards," she said. "The skills to create this piece are what I am planning to take away from Kawashima Textile School."
NERAM Director Racheal Parsons said the Helen Dangar Memorial Art bursary aimed to support a vibrant arts landscape in the New England region by providing local artists opportunities for creative and professional development.
"We have such a wonderful and talented community of artists in New England," Ms Parsons said.
"It is wonderful to be able to assist artists to engage in exciting and meaningfully beneficial opportunities that will expand their arts practice."
Helen Dangar (1944-2015) was an accomplished academic at the University of New England and teacher who taught French at the New England Girls' School for 20 years.
Helen was passionate about art, music and literature and took a great interest in the artistic well-being of the Armidale community. The Helen Dangar Memorial Art Bursary celebrates her contribution and creates a lasting memorial to a much-missed person who gave so much energy and vitality to NERAM and the cultural life of Armidale and the wider region.
The Helen Dangar Memorial Art Bursary has been established by NERAM and our supporters to help local artists advance in their chosen career path. Each year the fund will support a local artist from the New England region attend a special professional or creative development activity. The bursary aims to create new opportunities for regional artists to improve their practice, continuing the generosity, passion and support towards the arts that was evident throughout Helen's life.
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