An RMIT PhD candidate has won one of Australia’s richest sculpture awards, the $30,000 Bankwest Art Prize.
Bruce Slatter, a doctoral researcher in RMIT’s School of Art, was awarded the 2014 prize at a ceremony in Perth.
Chosen from an impressive field of 17 entries, Slatter said he was “excited and honoured” to win the prestigious and long-running Western Australian art award.
“It was a complete surprise to win considering such a high level of participating artists,” he said.
Slatter’s winning piece, Expedition Recollection, involves the use of a series of stacked 1960s-style display cabinets.
The artist described the cabinets’ contents as “a sculptural visualisation of real and imagined ambitious adventures”.
“This work brings together the language of museum and domestic cabinets with vivid and impossible crafted narrative that reflects a playful frivolity, as well as the sometimes anxious and momentous spectacle of human experience,” he said.
The prize alternates each year between three-dimensional sculptures and two-dimensional artworks such as prints, paintings and photography, with only sculptors eligible for the 2014 prize.
Based in Western Australia, Slatter studies at RMIT remotely. He is also the head of Curtin University’s Department of Art.
Although studying from afar, he found the academics at RMIT provided a supportive environment.
“The staff have a fantastic combination of practical, conceptual and theoretical knowledge and experience,” he said.
“And I chose RMIT School of Art to study because it has a reputation as one of the best places in Australia to study art, particularly at PhD level.”
As part of the award, his piece will join Bankwest Art Collection, one of Western Australia’s largest corporate collections, with work from around 450 local artists.
Bankwest Managing Director, Rob De Luca, said they were “very fortunate” to include Slatter’s winning piece in their collection.
Professor Paul Gough, Pro Vice-Chancellor Design and Social Context and Vice-President, said the win was an outstanding outcome for Slatter and the School of Art.
"Bruce is but one example of the high quality candidates within our Arts PhD cohort," he said.
"The prize is nationally recognised and this reflects the quality of our students' work and the reach of the School of Art's research program."