Presented by Guildhouse and the Art Gallery of SA, with the support of the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation, the fellowship is offered annually to a mid-career visual artist. It is intended to support research and development, including the creation of new work, with the successful fellow also having the opportunity to present their work at the AGSA.

“The Guildhouse Fellowship is really coming at a critical moment for me, when I’ve invested a great deal of energy into taking my work in new directions… I feel a shift occurring,” says Fleming, who was also a finalist in the AGSA’s Ramsay Art Prize 2021.

“Such belief and encouragement will afford me time and space to refine my practice and focus my energy entirely on making. The James & Diana Ramsay Foundation open up a spectrum of opportunities that are profoundly important for, and deeply valued by, artists.”

Fleming started blowing glass at just 16, is a graduate of the JamFactory Associate program and currently works part-time as design manager for JamFactory Glass Studio. He has exhibited internationally in London, Milan and Berlin, and his series of Graft vases have been collected by the National Gallery of Victoria.

Speaking to InReview when he was announced as one of the Ramsay 2021 finalists, Fleming said his entry in the prize represented a new direction in his practice inspired by his favourite aspect of glass-blowing – “the molten part, the actual gathering out of the furnace”. The work (pictured below) is part of a series of sculptural pieces titled Post-Production that have a captivating appearance of playful yet elegant fluidity.

Liam Fleming’s Ramsay Art Prize 2021 finalist work Post-Production. Photo: Saul Steed

The Guildhouse Fellowship’s 2021 selection panel – comprising AGSA assistant director, artistic programs, Lisa Slade, Guildhouse chief executive officer Emma Fey and guest judge Jose da Silva, director of UNSW Galleries ­­– said Fleming’s work made a vital contribution to contemporary Australian art through glass, “and we believe that he will take full advantage of this momentous opportunity to build momentum in his career”.

This is the third year the fellowship has been awarded. The inaugural recipient was Troy-Anthony Baylis (2019), whose series of textile works examining identity, colonial place-making and Aboriginal sovereignty were exhibited in the Nomenclatures exhibition at the AGSA during last year’s SALA Festival. Textile artist Sera Waters, the 2020 Guildhouse Fellow, is currently showing her work in a solo exhibition, Specks, at Hugo Michell Gallery.

The 2021 Ramsay Art Prize exhibition of finalists’ work, including Liam Fleming’s Post-Production, is at the Art Gallery of South Australia until August 22.

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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.