Brisbane-based artist Caitlin Franzmann has won the churchie emerging art prize for 2014 – one of the country’s most rewarding for emerging artists.

Her work, entitled Magical Thinking is a pack of 24 cards which provides a space and moment for gallery visitors to slow down and reflect on their lives.

According to the 34-year-old artist, through random symbology, chance and intuitive interpretations, these divination cards and personal readings “act as a tool for accessing the subconscious and processing emotion and thought”.

“Through encouraging personal interpretation, the “divinee” is asked to question spiritual doctrines and coded meanings,” she explains.

“The readings are an invitation to strengthen ones faith and trust inwards.”

Caitlin was presented with the $15,000 cash prize from sponsor Brand+Slater Architects at the official exhibition opening last Friday 1 August, where she described the award as a “true privilege”.

“It is an affirmation that I am on the right path for now and this prize will allow me to continue on the journey I have chosen, presenting the resources and time to focus on researching, experimenting and realising new projects,” Ms Franzmann said.

With a background in urban planning, Caitlin intuitively works with ideas of space in her artistic practice, which she formalised in 2012, graduating from the Queensland College of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours).

From left to right; Clark Beaumont (Sarah Clark + Nicole Beaumont) (highly commended), Caitlin Franzmann (winner), Sarah Poulgrain (highly commended).

From left to right: Highly commended artists Clark Beaumont (Sarah Clark + Nicole Beaumont), this year’s winner Caitlin Franzmann, and highly commended artist Sarah Poulgrain.

Since graduating Caitlin has had four solo exhibitions and has this year taken part in the Instrument Builders Project in Yogyarkarta; and with the support of Asialink Arts Residency Program and Arts Queensland, has researched and undertaken new work at Torna Gallery in Istanbul, Turkey.

Alexie Glass-Kantor, Executive Director of ARTSPACE Visual Arts Centre in Sydney, took on the difficult task of judging 41 artworks to select what she describes as “an exciting trifecta of young women representing Queensland”.

“One of the things that makes judging a prize like this difficult, and indeed the churchie especially, is the diversity of work that we’re seeing; everything from communities to cities, from urban to regional,” she said.

“We are seeing artists who are not just defined by emerging practice or simply defined by youth; but rather artists who develop ideas at all stages of their practice and all stages of their lives.

“It was then not by intention, but only by coincidence, did the cards fall this way — in awarding three women the top prizes for this year’s churchie emerging art prize.

“Caitlin uses her extraordinary suite of cards as prompts to create an encounter with an individual in an intimate space where you use the image as a way to decipher a story or narrative where connectivity, the interpersonal, the spiritual and the transcendent are evoked.

“The two Highly Commended artists represent very different ends of practice,” she continued.

“The intimacy, the tenderness, the vulnerability inherent in Sarah Poulgrain’s very humble but witty, funny and intelligent vignette of a woman located in her own private space – against the robust exchange and self-conscious appropriation of Clark Beaumont’s ‘Waiting for Barcelona’ – creates a wonderful riff on identity, popular culture and how we see ourselves located within different landscapes, spheres and interactions,” Ms Glass-Kantor said.

Established in 1987, the prize was initiated by Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie), and is dedicated to innovation and excellence.

Vicky Leighton, Head of Art Anglican Church Grammar School and Vice-Chair churchie emerging art prize, said this year’s winners continue to exemplify the spirit of the award.

“Caitlin Franzmann’s work challenges inner, deeply held perspectives, encourages deep thought and provides a platform for reflection, education and debate,” she said.

“This is an exciting choice by Alexie Glass-Kantor and it is also interesting that the two highly commended works share similar characteristics. Clark Beaumont and Sarah Poulgrain’s works are equally absorbing and quietly contemplative, inviting the viewer to engage with the works in a fully immersive way,” said Ms Leighton.

All 41 works from the churchie emerging art prize are on sale and will be on show to the public at the Griffith University Art Gallery (GUAG) until September 20.

GUAG is hosting the exhibition for the fifth year in a row to showcase the future of Australian contemporary art as seen through the eyes of exceptional emerging artists.

the churchie emerging art prize
Now — 20 September
Griffith University Art Gallery

226 Grey Street, South Bank, Brisbane
11am – 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday

Artists in this year’s churchie emerging art prize:

Alair Pambegan, Anna Carey, Archer Davies, Brent Wilson + Gabriella Szablewska, Caitlin Franzmann, Carol McGregor, Catherine Sagin + Kate Woodcroft, Clare Rae, Clark Beaumont, Claudia Moodoonuthi, Claudia Greathead, Daisy Kate Lewis, Daniel McKewen, David Creed + David Spooner, Eric Demetriou, Gerwyn Davies, Guy Lobwein, Hayley Megan French, Jacqueline Bawtree, Justine Varga, Kate Beckingham, Kate McKay, Kate Tucker, Katherine Savage, Lee Lombardi, Louise Bennett, Michaela Gleave, Samuel Scoufos, Sarah Poulgrain, Svetlana Bailey, Zoe Croggon