RMIT University graduates have dominated the FRESH! awards in Craft's annual showcase of outstanding work from Victoria's graduate shows.
RMIT won four out of five awards and had seven of 12 finalists featured in the FRESH! exhibition.
The annual exhibition, hosted by Australia's peak organisation for contemporary craft and design, features finalists selected from graduate exhibitions held across Victoria in late 2013.
Fine Art object based practice graduates Kate Jones, Ruby Aitchison, Kate Wischusen, Elise Sheehan and Marcos Guzman were award winners, while Annie Gobel and Alexander Maklary were selected as finalists.
Mark Edgoose, Senior Lecturer in the Art, praised the works on show at the event.
"What's most evident in the diversity of work representing each of the students is a deep understanding and intimacy with the material, skill, experience and knowledge required in the rich process of making," he said.
"Sitting alongside the endless possibilities of material and technique is an openness to and an understanding of the differing contexts that are articulated and exist in the work itself."
Kate Jones, a current Honours student and a graduate of the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art), said studying at RMIT had empowered her to push boundaries, while ensuring her work remained grounded in practical realities.
"The commercial pressures associated with establishing an independent practice would have probably pushed me into making more functional items," she said.
"Studying at RMIT has given me the support that I needed in order to follow a more risky path."
Ms Jones won the chance to showcase her work at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins in their exclusive gallery/foyer space, in an award valued at $3,000.
Master of Arts (Fine Art) graduate Ruby Aitchison and Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) (Honours) graduate Kate Wischusen shared the $1,000 prize from Dr Helen Sykes AM, Director of Future Leaders, an initiative promoting leadership, achievement and potential among young Australians.
Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) graduate Elise Sheehan received a $500 photographic services voucher while fellow alumnus Marcus Guzman won the inaugural Lightly Design Mentorship Award.
Mr Guzman is also the current recipient of the Maggie Fairweather Residency Award at RMIT.
Exhibition curator Jenny Pryor said FRESH! offered young artists a chance to fast-track their entry into a competitive industry.
"This year's FRESH! sees a considered re-positioning of the exhibition; we are moving away from the traditional December scheduling of the show, and putting it within the annual gallery calendar," she said.
"Viewing works outside the graduate circuit allows the emerging artists' work to be viewed within the contemporary context of the industry they are now a part of."
The exhibition runs until Saturday, 8 June, at Craft, 31 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.
Taxonomy of Bad Times, by Elise Sheehan.
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