Kate Bohunnis wins this year’s $100,000 Ramsay Art Prize.
Flinders University creative arts graduate Kate Bohunnis (BCreatArts(Hons) ’18) has used silicone, stainless steel and aluminium to create the award-winning work Edges of Excess.
The movement of the hard metal pendulum above the soft candy-pink silicon is pleasantly mesmerising, as is the sound it creates swaying back and forth. But the starkness of Edges of Excess indicates a darker element to the work.
‘The pink silicon material is often used to create silicon babies, to help grieving parents through the loss of their newborn child,’ says Kate, who explains, ‘I’ve always been fascinated by abject things.’
At a cost of $2,000, Kate had one shot at mixing and pouring the 30 litres of silicon – she couldn’t afford for it to go wrong. Once set, she ran a Stanley knife across the top of the 4-metre-long strip to create a rough texture in the otherwise soft and smooth material.
THE VALUE OF RESEARCH
Kate completed her studio-based study at Adelaide College of the Arts, before embarking on her Honours research subjects at Flinders University.
‘My research subjects at Flinders helped me to formulate a guide for my future and what was important for me as an artist,’ says Kate.
‘It was vital to have that time to focus, it taught me the value of looking at something completely and seeing what comes out. It really opened up who I am and what I want to make.’
DEVELOPING SKILLS AND PUSHING BOUNDARIES
Although she majored in printmaking, Kate was keen to create immersive art installations and explore new materials. After graduating she gained a six-month residency at the metal fabrication workshop, George Street Studios in Thebarton, where she is now a tenant.
Working side by side with metal fabricators, Kate developed her skills in metalwork and pushed material boundaries to win the 2021 Ramsay Art Prize, worth $100,000 – Australia’s largest prize for an artist under forty.
AWARD WINNING ART
As the winning piece, Edges of Excess was on show at the Art Gallery of South Australia from May to August this year and is now part of the Gallery’s collection. Kate is now working towards solo exhibitions in Adelaide and interstate.
While she once toyed with becoming a lawyer or a psychologist, Kate decided they weren’t the right path for her.
‘I made the choice to nourish who I am by being an artist.’
Kate Bohunnis was awarded a 2021 Early Career Alumni Award for significant contribution to the visual arts, working in metal, mould-making, textiles and print, with a focus on identity, gender and queer perspectives. Read more on the Flinders University Alumni Awards