There’s less than a month left to enter the Aesthetica Art Prize, and to mark the exciting event in the Aesthetica calendar we’ll be counting down each day until the 31 August with a run-down of artists longlisted for last year’s Prize. We’re kicking off with the 2013 Main Prize Winner, Australian photographer Damien O’Mara, who fought off competition from thousands of entries, 100 longlisted artists and finally the remaining 8 shortlisted works to claim the coveted title with his piece Airport taken from the outstanding Trespasser series.
O’Mara’s winning entry, taken from his Trespasser series, was chosen for its acute depiction of the demands of corporate life, with its unique focus on masculinity and the representation of men in today’s society – a topic not often discussed or explored. These bold themes are investigated through the juxtaposition of suited male figures incongruously situated in locations “off limits” or “out of bounds” to the average, professional man. Whilst the image of the suited man denotes feelings of conformity to role and position, the presence of large-scale machinery or infrastructure suggest the insignificance of the figure in this environment.
The works portray an individual in a conservative role dwarfed by a dominant environment, having crossed a threshold. They reflect the dilemmas of the quarter life crisis in contemporary Australia, where professionals in their 30s increasingly reject corporate careers and question social traditions. The works interrogate the value of role and position in the attainment of a meaningful, authentic existence, and the suitability of the traditional paths available in achieving those goals.
With a background in film production and photography, O’Mara has completed two photographic series to date, Suited Man and Trespasser, which have been exhibited in Melbourne and New South Wales respectively. He is currently working on a photographic series investigating contemporary masculinity through traditional work roles.
Make sure you get your entry into the Aesthetica Art Prize before 31 August. To enter and for more information visit: www.aestheticamagazine.com/artprize
1. Damien O’Mara, Trespasser Series Courtesy of Aesthetica