Australian art school graduate pockets 35,000 dollars with ‘science fiction prop’ sculpture

AUSTRALIA CONTEMPORARY ART PRIZE EMERGING ARTISTS

Lachlan Petras was awarded the AUD35,000 Dr Harold Schenberg Art Prize at the 2012 “Hatched” National Graduate Show at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art on 20 April 2012 for his work Aggregate, which combines sculpture, drawing and video.

Lachlan Petras, ‘Aggregate’, 2011, plywood, liquid nail, pencil, video projection, 216 x  120 cm. Winning work of Dr Harold Schenberg Art Prize. Courtesy of the artist.

Lachlan Petras, ‘Aggregate’, 2011, plywood, liquid nail, pencil, video projection, 216 x 120 cm. Winning work of Dr Harold Schenberg Art Prize 2012. Image courtesy the artist.

Aggregate stands out

Lachlan Petras, a recent graduate of Monash University (VIC), captured the judges’ attention with his installation entitled Aggregate. In the work, the audience is presented with a short video which is projected on a concave wooden kernel. The film depicts two characters: a mirror-plated black figure and a dwarf tattooed with Superman and Transformers symbols and was shot in the Monash University Wind Tunnel.

Lachlan Petras, ‘Aggregate’, 2011, plywood, liquid nail, pencil, video projection, 216 x  120 cm. Winning work of Dr Harold Schenberg Art Prize. Courtesy of the artist.

Lachlan Petras, ‘Aggregate’, 2011, plywood, liquid nail, pencil, video projection, 216 x 120 cm. Winning work of Dr Harold Schenberg Art Prize 2012. Image courtesy the artist.

PICA Director Amy Barrett-Lennard, who was also on the board of the exhibition’s judge panel commented on Petras’ work:

When considering an artist for this award the judges were looking for a distinctive and individual approach, a refined visual language, conceptual rigour, technical excellence and clarity of communication. We got all this and more in Lachlan Petras’ ‘Aggregate’, a fresh, intelligent, ambitious and refined work that lead us to believe that this graduate had the capacity to significantly further their career as an artist.

Previous accomplishments

Petras has already received a number other awards for his work, he was awarded the Arc One Gallery/Monash University Outstanding Talent Award and the Trocadero Art Space Award in 2010, as well as the Innovators Award at Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts and the Place Gallery Award at Monash University in 2011.

The artist has also held two solo exhibitions: “Eversion” at Runt Space, the Monash University student gallery, in 2010 and “Outliers” at Arc One Gallery, Melbourne, in 2011. He has also participated in several group exhibitions.

On Petras’ art

Using building materials such as concrete, plywood, masonite and resin foam, Petras centres his work on exploring the relationship between art, the act of city-building and the environment. His works comment on the “hidden pieces of our chemically produced surroundings”.

Lachlan creates models that fall outside of our everyday encounters and pendulate between art objects and invalid architectural supports.

 Arc One Gallery (Melbourne)

Below are images of the pieces that were featured in his major solo exhibition “Outliers”. The exhibition included the award-winning installation Aggregate.

Lachlan Petras’ solo exhibition “Outliers” at Arc One Gallery. From the ‘Odd/Even’ series, exhibition view.

Resembling backyard science fiction props, these works are permeated with anxiety and ambiguity; the uncertainty between the irregular shapes, the choice of materials and their function underscore the open-ended propositions of the work. The twisting forms of the expanding resin foam juxtaposed against the carefully composed flat surfaces of the concrete highlight the contesting use of materials in “Outliers”.

Arc One Gallery (Melbourne)

 Lachlan Petras, ‘Odd/Even’, 2011, cement, fiberglass, steel, structural expanding resin, 145 x 151 cm, in “Outliers”, at One Arc Gallery (Australia, Melbourne).

Lachlan Petras, ‘Odd/Even’, 2011, cement, fiberglass, steel, structural expanding resin, 145 x 151 cm, in “Outliers”, at One Arc Gallery (Australia, Melbourne).

Lachlan Petras, "Outliers", exhibition view.

Lachlan Petras, "Outliers" (2011), exhibition view, Arc One Gallery.

Investing in Australia’s future artists 

The work of 36 graduates from the country’s best art schools were presented at “Hatched”, a landmark exhibition in its 21st year. Of these 36, only one could take home Australia’s major graduate art award, which was established in the name of Dr Harold Schenberg, an Australian dermatologist, prominent art collector and widely known supporter of emerging artists.

The award was established with the goal of assisting and supporting young artists and investing in the development of their practice. Nick Dilorenzo, the Dr Harold Schenberg Bequest Trustee, who presented the award at the “Hatched” opening ceremony, said, “This prize gives one graduating artist an unparalleled opportunity to really launch their artistic career and find their voice without the financial pressures usually experienced by emerging artists.”

Lachlan Petras’ winning work, Aggregate, will be on display at PICA along with other    “Hatched” participants’ collections of works, until 10 June 2012.

LP/KN/HH

Related Topics: emerging artists, prizes, artist profiles, Australian artists, installation art

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