Jennifer Cochrane Takes Out York Botanic Art Prize

The West Australian sculptor looked to local flora for her winning work.

Words: Erin Irwin

The York Botanic Art Prize, which attracts entries from across Australia that take inspiration from Western Australian flora, has announced that this year’s winner is local artist Jennifer Cochrane. Artists could choose any medium to explore their chosen subject, with the artist’s work Sleeper self-portrait #10 looking to the Eucalyptus marginata – commonly known as Jarrah. The Prize looks to raise awareness about environmental issues and the challenges Western Australian native flora are facing.

“Through the prize we aim to connect art with science”, says Leonie Oakes, curator of the finalist exhibition, “to drive change, conserve our natural environment and preserve biodiversity for the long term future of our planet, and in that process support new and important creative works,”

This year’s Prize was judged by Dr Laetitia Wilson, Professor Fiona Stanley and Ron Bradfield Jnr, who selected Cochrane’s work from 45 finalists. This was a difficult decision, due to the quality of the finalist works and the vast range of mediums used to honour the Western Australian landscape.

Of Cochrane’s work, the finalists said that the artist “has you considering the tree from which this sleeper was hewn and then wondering about the echo of a memory, of how once these giant eucalypts surrounded all of what we now know as the city of Perth. How this vast forest would have sustained all that once lived in it, at that time and how that forest can never be what it was, ever again. There is sadness in this artwork but Jennifer’s choice of finish – whilst appearing simple – is beautifully poignant and carefully considered”.

Artists whose works were named as highly commended include Samantha Dennison for their work Hakea Laurina, Jane Coffey for their work No Plant Grows Alone, Linelle Stepto for their work Road Trip #3, and Jennifer Roberston for their work Goodenia Armitiana.

The exhibition, in which all works are for sale, will be on display at Gallery 152 in York, Western Australia until Wednesday 31 January 2024. The People’s Choice Award is still up for grabs, so head to the exhibition to cast your vote.

This article was posted 1 December 2023.

Image: The winner of the 2023 York Botanic Art Prize, Jennifer Cochrane, pictured with YBAP’s Patron Professor Josh Byrne, Curator Leonie Oakes and YBAP founder Jenny Garroun. Courtesy: York Botanic Art Prize.

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