And the winner is…

JamFactory is thrilled to announce that the winner of the 2016 FUSE Glass Prize is internationally renowned Adelaide-based glass artist Clare Belfrage.

The FUSE Glass Prize is a new biennial prize for Australian and New Zealand artists working in glass. It provides a platform for artists to push themselves and their work to new limits and focuses public attention on the importance of glass as a medium for contemporary artistic expression.

The works of ten established and five emerging artists were selected as finalists from a field of 83 entries by the 2016 judging panel. 2016 Judges are Tina Oldknow, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Glass at Corning Museum of Glass, New York from 2000 – 2015; Dr Robert Bell, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the National Gallery of Australia since 2000; Margot Osborne, Independent Australian Arts writer and Curator and author of several books on glass artists including the 2005 Survey Australian Glass today; Brian Parkes: Chief Executive Officer and Artistic Director at JamFactory; Lisa Slade: Assistant Director, Artistic Prgrams at the Art Gallery of South Australia and Curator of the 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art.

At a special event in Adelaide on 12 May the non-acquisitive $20,000 cash prize was awarded to Clare Belfrage. Belfrage has been an active part of artists’ communities particularly in Adelaide and Canberra, including Canberra Glassworks where she was Creative Director from 2009 to 2013. The judges were unanimous in their selection of Belfrage’s work, captivated equally by its silken surface and the layers of colour within the glass itself. The work references movement in water and Lisa Slade, noted that ‘viewing it up close evokes a feeling of being tumbled in the surf.’ The play of light on, and through, the piece works to animate the surface as you move around it. Robert Bell said the work, ‘eluded a sense of effortlessness despite the extraordinary technical complexity in its creation.’

An additional prize of $2,500 cash and a professional development residency at JamFactory was awarded to Alex Valero (the emerging artist category winner). The judges were impressed with Valero’s work which despite being small – essentially a pair of hand-held objects – is remarkably monolithic and otherworldly. Brian Parkes noted that, ‘the objects radiate as though they were still hot and seem to suggest some ancient strain of physics or alchemy.’ Tina Oldknow said that, ‘the iridescent surfaces highlighted specific qualities of glass’, and were unlike anything she had seen before.

The FUSE Glass Prize is proudly presented by JamFactory and has been developed entirely as a result of the commitment and generosity of an inspiring group of private donors Jim and Helen Carreker, Diana Laidlaw AM, Phil and Diana Jaquillard, Sue and Alan Young AM, The Thomas Foundation, and Sandy Benjamin OAM.

The exhibition of finalists’ works will be on show at JamFactory, Adelaide until 3 July and will then move to JamFactory at Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley until 25 September.

The closing date for entries for the 2018 FUSE Glass Prize will be in March 2018.