Top Arts Top Artists 2012

Every artist is influenced by proceeding generations of artists – who are the artists that influence local young artists?

I’m at the annual Top Arts exhibition of final year high school student art on the 3rd floor of the National Gallery of Victoria Ian Potter Centre (Federation Square). I’m trying to think of what I will write in this blog – I’ve written about the exhibition in previous years, it is worth paying attention to young artists but it is always so hard to write about group exhibitions. Praising the exhibition for its youth and talent is obvious, mentioning a couple of artists that catch my attention would not improve it and vague statements like “the drawing and photography were strong” wouldn’t help either. So, I looked at who are influences on these young artists.

I looked at the artists named in their artist’s statements. Not all the young artists named artists in their artist’s statements but at least a third did. Some artists mentioned two artists. (This may not be a complete list of all the artists named.)

Ansel Adams was the only artist named twice. The following photographers are also named as influences: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Larry Clark, Bill Henson, Annie Leibovitz, Duane Michals, and Edward Weston.

The local artists named as influences are: Abdul Abdullah, Howard Arkley, Del Kathryn Barton, Bill Henson, Carlo Golin, Jeffery Smart, Stelarc, Justin Lee Williams (fashion designer), Brett Whitley and Ah Xian.

Young video makers in the exhibition named film directors, Tim Burton and James Cameron as influences.

The other artist’s named as influences are: Audrey Kawasaki, Käthe Kollwitz, Rene Magritte, Nam June Paik, Paula Rego, Genndy Tartakovsky, and Gaun Wei.

As would be expected, this generation of young artists are not influenced by any old masters; many of the artists are still alive, all are 20th or 21st century artists but still not that many women artists make the list. It is good to see so many local artists named as influences. Americans photographers dominate photographic influences but the rest of the international artists named come from around the world.

About Mark Holsworth

Arts administrator, artist, musician, philosopher and writer. Writes Black Mark - Melbourne Art and Culture Critic. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

One response to “Top Arts Top Artists 2012

  • edwincridland

    I don’t know about art-education over there but over here students are pretty much told who are acceptable artists to be influenced by and those artists are all modern, old masters are not really allowed. So your last statement: ‘As would be expected, this generation of young artists are not influenced by any old masters ….’ contains an irony here in Ireland that it perhaps doesn’t ‘down under’. It would be nice to think so anyway.

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