Friday, December 2, 2011

Dobell Prize for Drawing - 2 December

Things are starting to wind down for 2011 but there is one last competition to go judge - the Dobell Prize for Drawing. I didn't get around to entering this year, lets see if I fancy myself over any of the official entries.

Well, the first thing I noticed this year is that everything was really big. Most of the entries were huge. And quite a few artists saved on framing costs by entering the work on paper to be hung up by bulldog clips. In fact, one funster I overheard at the gallery remarked that "Please do not touch" had a lot of entries. I didn't much like the official winner, a triptych of pastelly shadows by Anne Judell, quite a few visitors shared that sentiment based on the gasps the punters let out when they saw the notice. Highlights for me included Reg Mombassa's glittery horses and Graham Fransella's Passegiata, although there was enough watercolour here for it to get in the Wynn. That is the thing about the Dobell - they don't define drawing. My definition includes pencil, pen and/or charcoal. Both Melissa Thompson and Eloise Rankine had reduced these materials to those 'repeated line' drawings that look like you are counting off the days (although one was more orderly than the other). I saw something similar at a NAS show earlier in the year. It looks good done on a big scale but in my mind is far too easily replicated to worthy of the points.

Points - 3 for Peter Gardiner's Hexham Swamp (pictured above courtesy of my blackberry if that explains the quality of the image). Chosen not not just because I agree Hexham is a swamp (I used to see it daily on the train ride between Maitland and Newcastle) but also because it was big (tick) and used only charcoal (big tick). 2 points for Reg aka Chris O'Doherty for the horse and I'll give the 1 point to Graham Fransella.

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