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Andrew Styan is a visual artist and researcher developing approaches for creating ‘common ground’ in an increasingly polarised world — making a space for the conversations, ideas and vision needed to address our common social and ecological crises. Building on a former career as an industrial metallurgist and lifelong interests in science and photography, his practice uses coding, data visualisation, interactivity and mechatronics to create objects, videos and installations that often reference natural processes and scientific principles. His current research explores how this practice can be applied beyond traditional art environments.

Accessibility is central to his practice with works premised on seemingly simple concepts and representations that engage aesthetically but reveal their complexity and deeper meaning through interactivity and exploration. Early works such as The Bell Buoy and Signal Station endeavoured to raise awareness of the urgency of climate change or critiqued political and social inaction. Recent investigations into the psychology behind our individual and collective inability to tackle climate change has led to a consideration of the common causes underlying the many contemporary issues beyond climate change and the agency of contemporary art practices in addressing these causes. In response more recent projects such as Every Breath, Catch Your Breath and Life Support System embody principles that aim to promote inclusive discussion across a broad audience rather than reinforce ideological positions.

Andrew has been awarded the prestigious 2015 Dr Harold Schenberg Fellowship for graduating artists, a University Medal and a nomination for the 2018 European Commission STARTS prize. He has exhibited widely locally and nationally, with two works now touring nationally over three years with the popular Experimenta Make Sense International Triennial of Media Art. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Newcastle.

Achievements:

  • 2018  European Commission STARTS prize (Nomination category) for Off Grid
  • 2017   University Medal, University of Newcastle, and graduate speaker at the 2017 graduation ceremony
  • 2016   Invited curator – Every Breath exhibition at The Lock-Up, Newcastle
  • 2015   Personal study tour, “Art and Activism at COP21”, United Nations Paris climate talks
  • 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-present   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 Projects:

Selected Group Projects:

**  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

  • 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