Putting aside for a minute why a private high school needs an annual art award, although I think even my alma mater does it, the format of the Redlands prize is a tad confusing. Twenty established artists choose twenty emerging artists and they all throw their hats in the ring. 30k in prize money is shared between the winners of each category. Ben Quilty took home the main prize, but then again that might be a bit of shrewdness by the judges as the 20k in prize money is a pretty good trade for a large Quilty given the prize is acquisitive. I learnt later that the 10k emerging prize went to Kelly Doley for a work I cannot recall viewing, but hey, whoever agrees with the judges? Kelly had been invited in by Justene Williams so I wonder if she had to give her a cut of the 10k!
What did the Big Lamington team think? Well, I always like Danie Mellor's stuff and this didn't disappoint though it is a little big for my lounge room, which is lucky as it was 36k. Oh yes, didn't I mention, some of these are up for grabs. Btw, another arbitrage lost by the judges, 20k to Danie for the prize and the school could've flipped it and paid for a scholarship. And I thought they were a college of knowledge. I saw an artscape documentary on Maria Fernando Cardoso's insect penises so knew what the images were first up but I wasn't a huge fan. I loved Newell Harry's Vanuatu gift mats, I saw some similar islander weavings in kiwi land last year and I like how they look with the text incorporated into the weave. If I had a spare 5k I'd pick one up, or actually head over to Port Vila and get one custom made by the crew who do these for Newell. Good to see Joan Ross' video again, although I didn't like it as much as I did last year at GBK. If I wasn't sure then that 5k is a bit rich for an edition of 20 then the Redlands pricing of 7k was never going to pull me in (not sure if that is appreciation since last year or an extra slice of commission that NAS/Redlands is weaving in). Also good to pick Paul Ryan out of the crowd with a diptych similar to the piece I liked at the Sulman. Top pick was always going to be Ryan Presley's Infinity Note (pictured above). He got a nice SMH write up about this work and my money is where my mouth is on this one as I have one of his counterfeits and love it. So far he has stuck to the new look currency but I would love to see some older look notes next time.
Points: easy this week, 3 for Ryan (he also got my vote in the peoples choice, and if I go back for another look he will get it again!). 2 for Newell Harry and 1 for Danie. And if you can't get to NAS then you can look at the cattledog here. Highly commended for whoever put that together.