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ANU furniture designer wins $20,000 prize for boundary-pushing work
Following years of steady decline by Ashley Eriksmoen. Image: Remi Chauvin & Clarence City Council (edited).
Tuesday 20 July 2021
A leading furniture maker and senior lecturer in the ANU School of Art & Design has won Tasmania’s richest prize for excellence in furniture design.
Ms Ashley Eriksmoen was named the winner of the biennial Clarence Prize for her piece Following years of steady decline, we are witnessing a period of unprecedented growth. She has been awarded $20,000, with her winning work acquired for the Clarence Art Collection.
“I am over the moon to have been selected for this prestigious prize!” Ms Eriksmoen says. “I am humbled and honoured to be exhibiting alongside such amazing peers, and am beyond thrilled to have been selected for this prize.”
“The title of [my] work is tongue-in-cheek, but also hopeful,” she adds. “The past year of bushfires and lockdowns was one of massive environmental destruction followed by renewed appreciation of nature as people found refuge outdoors. This climbing, swelling work assembled from abandoned wood furniture parts suggests that the salvaged timber is not expendable or dead, but is vital and rapidly regrowing.”
The Clarence Prize is a biennial exhibition run by the Clarence City Council in Tasmania. The judges described Ms Eriksmoen’s work as imbuing a connection with nature that is inherently ethereal.
[It is] aware of and connecting back to its origins. Quite powerful. The work continually gives, an open dialogue between maker and material.
The chair is recognisable. But is it a chair? The way in which it references and implies origins of wood and furniture suggests it is being consumed back into its original environment. It is a clever and intuitive use of broken and disused furniture parts that organically and creatively reworks and repositions these elements in new ways. The result is an elegant proposition that lets go of preconceived ideas of how furniture should look and function. The world is undergoing rapid transformation and the work begins a critical conversation around the purpose of furniture beyond materiality and function.
Works by the 2021 finalists, including Ms Eriksmoen, will be on display in the historic Rosny Barn from 16 July to 15 August.