SAM Selects, SAM Spotlight 2024 artists announced

Shepparton Art Museum announces Jen Valender and Carmel Robertson as 2024 Community Gallery artists.

The Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) is pleased to announce that multidisciplinary artist Jen Valender has been selected as the successful applicant to the SAM Selects exhibition program for 2024. The SAM Selects exhibition program allows artists, creatives, curators, and community groups to submit a recent creative project to be exhibited in SAM’s Hugh D.T Williamson Community Gallery. Applications for the space are reviewed by an external panel. Valender will become the third artist to participate in SAM Selects, with her exhibition Field opening 3 February 2024.

Created during her artistic residency at the University of Melbourne’s Dookie campus as part of the Centre of Visual Arts’ Art + Ecology program, Valender’s SAM Selects exhibition Field features a multi-channel video installation made up of four moving image works: Re-search, Bovine Harp, Artist as Animal, and Sediment. The exhibition will also display a set of wind harps created from antique surveyor’s equipment, and a soundscape created using the harps. Set amongst the fluorescent canola fields and dairy farms of Dookie, each film combines sculpture, performance, and video to explore various aspects of agricultural life and the relationship between art and the natural world.

Caroline Esbenshade, SAM Curator – Community, says of Valender:

“Jen is in an extremely exciting place in her career—she exhibited widely in 2023, including at MPavillion in Melbourne, and was recently selected as a regional winner in the M&C Saatchi Group & Saatchi Gallery Art for Change Prize, with two of her works currently on display at Saatchi Gallery in London. We are delighted to have her as part of our 2024 exhibition program and to be the first to present these works together, highlighting her experience of making work in response to the region. We hope the exhibition will bring a new perspective of the Goulburn Vallery for locals and visitors alike.” 

Later in 2024 SAM’s Community Gallery will feature a new body of work from local artist Carmel Robertson, who has been selected as the 2024 SAM Spotlight artist. SAM Spotlight is an annual paid opportunity for an emerging solo artist based in the Goulburn Valley and Hume region to work closely with the SAM Curator – Community to develop a new body of work for exhibition. Successful artists are selected through an application process, which is also reviewed by an appointed panel.

Jen Valender: Field will open at SAM on 3 February 2024, with SAM Spotlight: Carmel Robertson to open in November 2024.

About the artists:

Jen Valender is a multidisciplinary artist who creates performative encounters on and with the landscape that raises questions about the relationship between art and the natural world.

Through moving image, she explores the ways in which art may be used as a navigational tool to investigate human and nonhuman connections. Valender has exhibited widely in galleries and museums in Australia, France, Germany, South Africa, and Portugal and holds a Master of Fine Arts (Research) from the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.

Image: courtesy of the artist

Carmel Robertson is an early career artist living in Shepparton, Victoria. She began painting full-time in 2016 after a 22-year career in art education, teaching art and photography at Notre Dame College in Shepparton. For the past seven years she has been exploring approaches to realism in oil paint and has exhibited in group shows locally, including past SAM Community Gallery exhibitions, and presented a solo exhibition at the Euroa Butter Factory in 2022. 

Image: courtesy of the artist

About SAM:

Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) is located on Yorta Yorta Country, Shepparton, Victoria.

As a leading Australian regional art museum, SAM showcases its exhibitions and collections in new and exciting ways to create a welcoming, inclusive, and engaging space for all visitors.

Recognised for its significant Australian ceramics collection and nationally significant collection of Indigenous art, SAM’s programming is designed to be locally relevant and engages with global contemporary ideas. Through its exhibitions, collection, programs and events, SAM creates a place where art helps us to better understand the ancient culture of this country and contemporary multicultural Australia.