Judge 2022 - Sylvia Convey

Visionary artist Sylvia Convey’s imagery contains certain elements found in Latvian folk mythology as well as echoes from the underground of the human soul. A recurring thread in Sylvia's work has been the blurring of boundaries between art forms. As a painter she rejected the primacy of canvas and used non-conventional surfaces. As a printmaker she has used textiles as much as paper and her sculptural muse finds expression in wonderfully exotic and exuberant cloth dolls. She approached quilt making in a spontaneous rather than formal manner as it gave her life-long love of fabric and colour complete expression. She loves the sensual, tactile pleasure of handling cloth – tearing, cutting, printing and painting it to produce shimmering life embracing forms.

Sylvia makes art and books because she can transmute the joys and sorrows of life, which she hopes resonate with others, offering ways to inhabit the human experience and reflect on how one lives in an uncertain world where artistic expression seems more crucial than ever. Sylvia's books allow others access to her personal storytelling, offering historical connections not only through the art she makes but through composition, design, functionality and form.

“Creativity reveals the deep connection between mind and matter. It is a complex blend of motivation and inspiration, and sustains me in my solitary search for meaning. Through image making I create an enigmatic and alternative face to our culture. Visionary Art reveals our preconceptions and prejudices, which at the same time are disturbing as well as provocative.”

Biographical details

Born in 1948 in Itzahoe, Germany, of Latvian parents, Sylvia’s artistic career spans 43 years and encompasses painting, drawing, print-making, sculpture, assemblage, art quilts, art dolls, wearable art, contemporary jewellery, sound recording, documentary film and teaching.

She has had 25 solo exhibitions from 1986 through to 2014 in a range of Australian galleries, and been shown in a host of group exhibitions from 1979 to 1964 in Australian capital cities and regional centres, as well as in France, West Germany, the USA and Japan.

Collections of her work are currently held in several Australian capital city and regional galleries as well as in Germany, Latvia and Switzerland.

Visual Arts degree, Canberra School of Art, ANU 1981 to 1984.

Lecturer at ANU Art School Canberra from 1985 to 2000.

Publisher of numerous specialty art books.