Skip to content

Andrew Styan is an emerging new media artist developing strategies for shifting public engagement with the challenge of climate change and the underlying social, political and economic causes. His practice utilises electronics, computer coding, interactivity and small to large-scale electromechanical devices to create installations, videos and kinetic objects that are intended to make visible these complex issues. These concepts and materials reflect a former career in industrial research as a metallurgist in the steel industry and lifelong interests in nature, photography and science. He has exhibited widely locally and nationally and was awarded the prestigious Dr Harold Schenberg fellowship for graduating artists in 2015 and the University and Faculty Medals from the University of Newcastle in 2017.

His ongoing theoretical and practical research focuses on the historical and socio-economic origins that are common to all the crises of ecology, equality and democracy; the psychology behind the individual and collective inability to tackle these crises; and the social agency of contemporary art practices and institutions. This has led to an expanded conceptual framework for his practice based on three principles. Firstly, the value of positive framing of progressive ideas and solutions and personal narratives as an effective means for overcoming psychological barriers. Secondly, the need to address underlying causes by promoting empathy and reconnection with each other and the natural world. Finally, exerting greater social agency by seeking to operate outside, or alongside, the traditional art world in more curatorial, collaborative or socially engaged ways. These principles are embodied in many of his recent projects.

Achievements:

  • 2017   University Medal, University of Newcastle, and graduate speaker at the 2017 graduation ceremony
  • 2016   Guest curator – Every Breath exhibition at The Lock-Up, Newcastle
  • 2016   Exhibited at Newcastle Art Gallery; A Dirty Business: Devine, Styan and Tilley
  • 2015   Personal study tour, “Art and Action in Paris at COP21”, United Nations Paris climate talks
  • 2015   Invited to exhibit at Stills Gallery, Sydney
  • 2015   Awarded the Dr Harold Schenberg Fellowship at the  Hatched 2015 national exhibition of graduate artists, PICA Gallery, Perth
  • 2014   Student Art Prize, UoN Services Travelling Scholarship

Education:

  • 2017-   PhD candidate (FineArt) University of Newcastle
  • 2016   Bachelor of Fine Art (First Class Honours and University Medal), Universities of Newcastle (Aus) & Dundee (UK, 1 semester)
  • 1982   Bachelor of Metallurgy (First Class Honours), University of Newcastle

Solo Exhibitions:

Selected Group Exhibitions:

**  also exhibition curator
*     collaborative work

Collections:

Works are held in the collections of BDO Australia and Australian Wool Network.

Commentary:

“Andrew Styan has a rare gift for making complex issues visible”

“Coal is such a dominant agent in climate change and environmental discourse, but most of us understand it only in the abstract. In Styan’s installation, coal is both demystified, and imbued with symbolism and power.”

“Andrew Styan’s work displayed a power in its simplicity and a sense of autobiography and a deep knowledge about a place, but without sentimentality. The three main elements of his video, light, sound and sculpture installation collectively envelop the viewer, creating a ‘device of wonder’. On seeing the work the judges felt an immediate urge to see more by this artist.”

*Amy Barrett-Lennard, Director, PICA; Lisa Slade, Assistant Director Artistic Programs, Art Gallery of South Australia; and Ted Snell, Director, UWA Cultural Precinct

  • 2015   HATCHED National Graduate Show 2015. Perth: PICA 2015. Exhibition catalogue
  • 2014   The work, The Bell Buoy, reviewed by Lauren Summerhayes, BFA student, June 2014 : The Bell Buoy – A Review by Lauren Summerhayes
  • 2014   Featured artist in the University of Newcastle YAK student magazine for April, 2014
  • 2013   Featured in the Hunter Valley and North Coast “Town and Country” magazine, June 2013
  • 2013   David Broker**, Exhibition catalogue entry, Queensland Centre for Photography, May 2013

“Andrew Styan is a true romantic expressing an interest in nature that is worthy of Wordsworth or Friedrich. …. Styan’s photographs return his audience to a sense of awe that the Romantics attempted to express through their work in the 19th century.”

**  Director, Canberra Contemporary Art Space


Art makes a space for belief. And belief makes a space for change.

~ The Canary Project