2015 Samstag Scholars announced

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by anonymous on Tuesday 07 October 2014.

2015 Samstag Scholars announced image

The University of South Australia has announced the 2015 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarships. The two recipients of the prestigious 2015 Samstag Scholarship are James L. Marshall, from South Australia, and Hong An James Nguyen, from New South Wales.

James L. Marshall, a graduate of the South Australian School of Art, part of the School of Art, Architecture and Design at the University of South Australia, is a multi-disciplinary artist working predominantly in fabricated sculptures and digitally created images. Marshall explains, “The lines between art and life – the virtual and the real – have been blurred for a long time now. I’m interested in making immersive work that encourages the viewer to experience rather than just view.” Marshall intends to use the scholarship to study in the US, giving him geographical access to the sites and relics of the Light and Space/West Coast Finish Fetish movements that emerged in the 1960s from Southern California, and have been important influences on his practice to date.

Hong An James Nguyen is a graduate of the Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. At the centre of James Nguyen’s video and performance work is the process of making and observing art as he explores the “performative potential of the camera”. By documenting the actual recording of footage, the camera and the act of film-making become part of the work rather than the vehicle to depict it. Having recently completed Gallery 4A’s Beijing Studio Program at artist Shen Shaomin’s studio, Nguyen will use his scholarship to undertake study in a collaborative environment with a critically-diverse network of mentors who specialise in and outside of his field of interest, to extend his practice beyond its current remit.

Artist selectors for the 2015 Samstag Scholarships were Professor Simon Biggs, Director of the South Australian School of Art, University of South Australia; Mark Kimber, artist and lecturer at the School of Art, Architecture and Design, University of South Australia; and Matthys Gerber, internationally exhibited artist and celebrated former recipient of a Samstag Scholarship, in 1995.

Professor Biggs, Samstag selection committee chair, congratulated the Class of 2015 scholars noting that “both Marshall and Nguyen are producing innovative and thought provoking work of an international standard and they are ideally placed to benefit from the opportunities the Samstag Scholarship can provide on a global stage”.

Both artists receive a twelve months living allowance of US $45,000 (United States dollars), as well as travel expenses and the cost of institutional study fees at a leading international art school of their choice. The University has awarded the renowned and prestigious scholarships – for twelve months study overseas in the visual arts commencing in 2015 – on behalf of the Trustee of the estate of Gordon Samstag, the celebrated American artist who taught at the South Australian School of Art in the 1960s. A total of 128 Samstag Scholarships have now been awarded since 1992.

Erica Green, Director of the University’s Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, which administers the scholarships program, says that “the Samstag Scholarships will provide Marshall and Nguyen the time and context to advance their artistic practice; it is an opportunity to build upon what they have achieved so far here in Australia to create a truly international career”.

“The importance of the Samstag Scholarships within the ecology of Australian art cannot be overlooked, and we are delighted that despite the continuing international economic slump that has impacted so severely on arts bequests and charitable cultural funding – the Samstag Trustee has ensured stability and continuity of the Program through its prudent management.”

This year, respected arts writer Jane Llewellyn has been commissioned to write short essays on James L. Marshall and James Hong An Nguyen, available to read on the Samstag Program website, along with selected images and biographical information of both artists.

Congratulations to James L. Marshall and Hong An James Nguyen!