Winners announced in biennial sculpture competition at WSU

John Fitzmaurice has this month taken out the biennial Western Sydney University Sculpture Award's top prize with his striking piece Dragging the Chain.

The artist's prize is worth $30,000.

Mr Fitzmaurice topped a field of 20 hopefuls vying for the top prize in the competition, which was officially launched on Thursday at the university's Campbelltown campus.

Jennifer Cochrane and Samantha Stephenson each picked up $5000 for their respective sculptures, Cubes with Trees and Notion of Flight.

The ninth annual competition and exhibition is supported by Landcom, the Peter Eichhhorn Family, Quest Campbelltown and Campbelltown Council.

The renowned exhibition required artists to create pieces which would be exhibited outside and complement the surrounding environment and landscape.

WSU Vice-Chancellor and president Professor Barney Glover said the exhibition provided an opportunity to highlight a range of talented artists and demonstrated the university's strong connection and commitment to the arts and culture sector.

Two of the winners, Samantha Stephenson and John Fitzmaurice. Picture: Simon Bennett

Two of the winners, Samantha Stephenson and John Fitzmaurice. Picture: Simon Bennett

"I offer my congratulations to the winners and finalists who contributed to this year's exhibition," he said.

"The University is proud to present such a high calibre exhibition at its Campbelltown campus - one that brings together a range of innovative artists whose thought-provoking works not only enrich our campus, but can be enjoyed by our students, staff and the community."

Western Sydney University Art Curator Monica McMahon said the standard of works this year was incredibly high, with many artists overcoming significant challenges to complete and deliver their pieces.

"Our esteemed judges commended the sculptors for their incredible work,' she said.

"They also highlighted the exhibition for its important contribution to society and for keeping sculpture alive in public places.

"The winning piece, Dragging the Chain by John Fitzmaurice, was recognised for its simplicity of form and rhythmical nature, characteristics that appear to be in contradiction to the heaviness of the solid material of metal that it is made from.

"The work is an iconic form from a distance in the landscape, however up close it reveals a natural beauty of form that integrates seamlessly."

Dragging the Chain has been acquired by WSU and will be permanently installed alongside past winners within the grounds of the campus.

The people's choice award - worth $5000 - will be awarded at a later date.