The recipients of National Art School Fellowships were conferred at the Graduation Ceremony on Thursday 12 May. The 2016 National Art School Fellows are Kevin Connor, Vivienne Binns OAM, and a posthumous fellowship to Janet Mansfield OAM (1924-2013).
Michael Snelling, Director, National Art School describes the award: “The National Art School Fellowship is the school’s highest honour, and this year we have decided to award three artists.”
Regarded as one of Australia’s most distinguished artists, Kevin Connor’s career spans over 60 years. Connor is famously the only artist to twice win the Archibald Prize, the Sulman Prize, and the Dobell Prize for Drawing. He has held over sixty solo exhibitions since his first exhibition in 1962, including a 2006 retrospective at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Connor once said, “I could live without painting and making sculptures but I just could not live without drawing. Drawing is the very basis of everything.” He describes NAS as “the one great stable fact of this city’s art for nearly a century”.
Vivienne Binns OAM is an artist who has worked at the forefront of feminist, community and political arts in Australia. After completing her Diploma in Painting at NAS in 1963, Binns held her first solo show at Watters Gallery in 1967, which has come to be recognised as the break-through exhibition of feminist art in Australia. She has worked in many Australian and Pacific communities while continuing to practice and exhibit regularly. “My time as a student absolutely shaped me and my life’s work”, she says of NAS.
Janet Mansfield OAM (1924-2013) was a ceramic artist, writer and publisher of books and magazines, gallery owner and founder of the Gulgong Clay Triennial. She studied at NAS from 1964 to 1965, and was highly regarded in the world of ceramics, holding many positions including President of the International Academy of Ceramics (2006-2012). She is considered to have put Australian ceramics on the international stage and leaves an immense legacy born of a life-long love of all things clay.
Michael Snelling commented: “The fellowship is about honouring the recipient’s contribution to Australian culture and inspiring NAS students. We are an art school, and inspiration of our students is a key part of the way we arrive at our decision."
Image: Kevin Connor, Janet Mansfield OAM [represented by her son, Neil] and Vivienne Binns OAM. Photo: Peter Morgan