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Unitec academics' family affair in New York

The Correction.
Susan Jowsey.
Marcus Williams.
It will be a family affair come July when Unitec lecturers Marcus Williams and Susan Jowsey take


It will be a family affair come July when Unitec lecturers Marcus Williams and Susan Jowsey take up a six-month artist in residency post at one of New York’s well-established art studios.

Wallace and Jowsey will make art at the International Studio and Curatorial Programme in Brooklyn next month after winning New Zealand most sought after art prize, the Paramount Award, at the prestigious Wallace Art Awards last year.

The pair, who both teach at Unitec’s Department of Design and Visual Arts, also happen to be married (for almost 20 years) and have two children who will accompany them on the six-month residency.
Williams is an associate professor in photography and Jowsey is a senior lecturer in graphic design and digital animation.

“Our family is a collective that has been working as a creative unit since 2006 and we call ourselves the ‘F4’,” laughs Williams. “So the children will definitely be involved in the process of the work we plan to do in New York.”

During the residency, the family will work on a series of studio video and photographic portraits which interact with each other in an installation context. The work will be done in an artificial lighting situation not on location.

“Essentially the work explores identity, power and vulnerability across gender and generation, within the family.

“Within the context of these ideas, we will be exploring the interactive potential of the relationship between photographs, video and animation in real space and online,” he says.  “The work draws on the conventions of historical photography, television and cinema.”

Williams says input from their children is a fundamental part of the collaboration.

“Susan and I are not making work about the children or family relationships, but rather, we all make the work together as a family unit,” he says.  “So we will all be engaging in a creative process where the adults pick up on ideas from the children and develop it in an ongoing dialogue.”

Williams and Jowsey’s winning work at the Wallace Art Awards, entitled The Correction, was made up of two photographs that subtly explored power relationships between adults and children. It was the first time in the awards’ 18-year history that a photography art work has won the Wallace Trust Paramount Award.

As part of the residency programme, Williams and Jowsey will be visited by leading curators from top US art museums and galleries and will meet with artists from all over the world on similar professional development scholarships.

Pictured: The Correction
F4 collective
Photographic Diptych
Light Jet prints, Die-Bond mounted
1500mm X 600mm

Written by


17 Jun 2010

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