Art PhD student wins $20k art prize

6 February 2015

ANU School of Art PhD candidate Erica Seccombe has won the inaugural Paramor Prize for Art and Innovation in Sydney.

The prize, which includes a $20,000 grant, was for her work involving a large ink jet print that was created at the School of Art’s Ink Jet Research Facility.

The work is now permanently based at the Casula Power House in Sydney.

“I feel slightly surprised but really happy about it. I don’t expect to win things,” Seccombe says.

“It’s always a bit of a lottery and really when you put your work in competitions, you’re really just promoting your work. So what I really wanted to do was promote the work that I did because I made it at the Ink Jet Print facility.

“So this work was printed as a kind of celebration, because it was used as the opening print for the brand new massive Anapurna inkjet printer which has just been installed,” she said.

The work is interdisciplinary as Seccombe has been doing her PhD in Photography and Digital Arts, using the resources of the Department of Applied Maths’ 3D Micro X-ray tomography facility.

It’s the first time that a scientific customisation tool known as 4D micro tomography has been used to make an artwork like this.“It’s the first time anyone has X-rayed plants germinating with micro-CT. So when I show scientists, it’s of interest. But it’s not used in science yet so it’s really cutting edge,” she said.

“I’ve been working as an artist in the scientific field but working with scientists to further the technology and the software. So my work has pushed the boundaries of what is possible.”

The winning work is on a large composite board with a mirrored metal veneer, and includes a large ink-jet print of a mung bean sprouting. Although the image is printed on a 2-D surface, the image looks as though it is popping out of the mirrored surface.

A number of other new works have since been created using the Ink Jet Research Facility, which is open to the public for use.