Perpetual and Sculpture by the Sea are pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s three $30,000 Helen Lempriere Scholarships:
- Senior Artist Stephen King (Walcha, NSW);
- Mid-Career Artist Andrew Townsend (Wapengo, NSW); and
- Emerging Artist Jina Lee (Fremantle, WA)
The scholarships are gifted as part of the Helen Lempriere Bequest, a charitable trust managed by Perpetual, providing scholarships with the aim to foster and promote contemporary Australian sculpture. Thirty-four artists from across Australia have received the Helen Lempriere Scholarship since 2010, totalling more than $1 million in investment in the cultural life of Australia.
The 2020 recipients were selected by Dr Malcom Bywaters, Senior Lecturer, Academic Director – Academy Gallery & Exhibitions, University of Tasmania.
Hailing from regional New South Wales and Perth, Western Australia, the three artists showcase a variety of working styles and materials. Pending travel restrictions, each artist intends to use the scholarship funding for international or interstate travel to broaden their artistic knowledge, and to upgrade studio equipment and tools.
Selected as the Senior Artist to receive a Helen Lempriere Scholarship this year, Stephen King is an artist of national significance who works across sculpture, printmaking and painting. Inspired by nature and his life as a grazier, he is fascinated by our relationship with the environment; genetics and the continuum of life; and the impact of climate change. King studied at Sydney College of the Arts and, after graduating, moved to London to study printmaking at St Martin’s School of Arts. Upon his return to Australia in the mid-1980s he moved back to the family property in Walcha, NSW where he continues to live and work.
King has exhibited extensively in commercial and regional galleries within Australia and internationally since 1979. He has created an enormous body of work for public and private commissions and represented Australia at the Inami Wood Carving Symposium in 2007. King’s participation at the next Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi exhibition sees him join the Double Decade Club, just the third artist to have exhibited at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 20 times or more. In 2013, he received the major award at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi for his work, ‘Fallout’, which was gifted for permanent public placement in Headland Park at Georges Heights.
King commented, “I am very honoured and grateful to be the recipient of this Helen Lempriere Scholarship. This will be the twentieth time I have had the opportunity to exhibit at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi and this scholarship will not only help me achieve this, but it will give me the opportunity to travel to New Zealand for the first time to visit the famous Gibbs Farm and other important sculpture collections. I also plan to do an art trip to the Larapinta region in the Northern Territory, where I hope to do drawings and make some small sculptures from local timbers.”
Andrew Townsend is known for his striking and commanding sculptures often depicting horses, kangaroos and people with animals. He has had numerous solo exhibitions, beginning with his early practice in painting and collage in 1985, and has exhibited in over 30 group shows with his collaborator and partner, artist Suzie Bleach. The pair were commissioned to create a public work of art in Hughes, ACT near their former home of Braidwood, NSW. Townsend and Bleach now continue to collaborate from their south coast home of Wapengo, NSW. Their convincingly life-like figures are created thanks to an understanding of 3D anatomy and body language, inspired by their observations from life.
Together with Bleach, Townsend will return to Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi for his seventh show and has exhibited at Cottesloe twice. The creative couple received the People’s Choice Prize at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2010 and again at the Cottesloe show in 2016. While each Helen Lempriere Scholarship is awarded to a single artist, Townsend will use the funding to procure studio equipment and tools to share with his collaborator.
Townsend said, “I am honoured to be a recipient of the Helen Lempriere Scholarship 2020. It feels like a welcome acknowledgement of a 28-year sculpture practice in close collaboration with my partner, Suzie Bleach. Our professional practice has been solidly supported over many of those years by Sculpture by the Sea, bringing vast audiences, memorable experiences and fertile opportunities, including this award. The scholarship will help to augment our studio with a forklift, refresh our website and assist with ongoing research. It will support the production of a new work, ‘A Wounded Land’, for Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2020 and, if Covid-19 scenarios allow in 2021, a road trip/reconnaissance into the arid interior of Australia.”
Perth-based emerging artist Jina Lee focuses on simplified organic shapes sculpted into a variety of stones, primarily using marble or granite. Lee began her study of sculpture at Kaywon Arts School in South Korea in 1999 and completed her Master of Fine Arts, majoring in Stone Sculpture, at Kookmin University, South Korea in 2009. She has participated at international sculpture symposiums in Japan and produced sculptures for public spaces and private collections in South Korea, Australia and Switzerland.
Since arriving in Australia in 2013, Lee has exhibited in Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe six times as well as a number of other important group exhibitions, including the City of Melville Sculpture Walk (2014, 2015, 2016) and Swell Sculpture Festival (2014). She was the recipient of the Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2018 Rio Tinto WA Emerging Sculptor Mentorship, and this will be her second time exhibiting at Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi. Lee has been an artist in residence at Greg James Sculpture Studio Gallery at J SHED in Fremantle, WA since 2014 and is supported by a local stone business.
Jina expressed, “It is a great honour to be a recipient of the Helen Lempriere Scholarship. When I heard about this exciting news, the endless possibilities of what I could achieve with this scholarship started flying through my mind. As experience is very important to my development, I am excited to take this opportunity to travel when it is possible and happy to think that I am able to improve the working conditions in my studio, especially with heavy stone lifting and stone dust.”
“We congratulate and are delighted for these three artists to each receive a Helen Lempriere Scholarship, which will help support the development of their practice and their inclusion in the rescheduled exhibition. We also wish to express our gratitude to Perpetual and the Helen Lempriere Bequest for their continued support of Sculpture in Australia, especially in these challenging times,” said Sculpture by the Sea Founding Director, David Handley.