The dual themes of femininity and nature underpin the winning entry in the 2006 Thiess Art Prize.

Preselection judge and Thiess Art Prize curator Simon Wright said honours student Jennie Jackson’s huge and impressive artwork – The Forest – revealed a history of the way nature (in particular, the forest) and femininity (fertility) have become entwined.

“One manifestation of this reveals ways in which womanhood has historically been portrayed as wild and unpredictable, like an untamed wilderness,” Mr Wright said.

Two Highly Commended Awards went to Bachelor of Fine Art student Carly Scoufos for her massive sculpture Unstable Surface Tension 2006, and Master of Visual Art student Gail Cowley for her portrait Committed 2006. Bachelor of Fine Art student Nicola Chatham was awarded the Espresso Garage Prize for her digital video It’s Cutting.

Mr Wright said the Thiess Prize and exhibition revealed several key themes in the work of contemporary artists.

“Major themes to emerge this year looked at socialisation processes, isolation, expanding definitions of self-portraiture, the landscape and its various histories, and a diverse array of influences on culture in society.

“Often it’s left to the artists to ask the genuinely penetrative questions about our lives, cultures and landscapes, so it is important for these voices to be seen and heard. We’re keen to introduce them to the influx of visitors to the gallery over summer,” Mr Wright said.

The annual Thiess Art Prize, which is open to Queensland College of Art Griffith University graduating students, attracted more than 100 entries with 29 finalists in a variety of mediums including photography, painting, sculpture, digital media, and contemporary Indigenous art.

The Thiess Art Prize exhibition will be held at the Dell Gallery @ QCA, South Bank until February 4, 2007. The Dell Gallery is open Wednesday-Friday, 11am-4pm and Saturday-Sunday, noon-4pm.

The Thiess Art Prize offers more than $5000 in prizes, and the public is invited to vote in the popular People’s Choice award category announced in January 2007.

Interviews with artists and/or images of artworks are available on request.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Deborah Marshall 07 3735 5245, 0408 727 734