Monday, December 6, 2010

Dobell Prize - 6 December

We checked out this years Dobell Prize for Drawing at the Art Gallery of NSW during the week. Calling itself the most respected award for drawing in Australia (maybe it is, I can't think of another) but deliberately not defining what constitutes a drawing in the conditions of entry leads me to think the Dobell trustees are trying to manufacture controversy. I thought the only controversy this year was that the winner, Suzanne Archer's Derangement, wasn't very good. Did have some colour in there with the use of the pastels and it was easily one of the bigger works but probably wouldn't have taken the chockies if yours truly was the sole judge (yes only one judge here, Alun Leach-Jones the responsible party this year).

On one hand there were some excellent examples of pencil draughtmanship, Catherine O'Donnell's #19 being one example of finely detailed work of an apartment building facade. But on the other there were some entries I think I could have easily dashed off a copy of, Katherine Hattam's ink and liquid paper Snakes and Ladders comes to mind. Fiona Fenech's triptych of thread and collage and pen didn't meet my definition of drawing but around the corner from this I did like Betty Bray's ink Kimberley Rockface.

My own pick for the 2010 Dobell was Gino Palmieri's Untitled Drawing #13. This was a large geometric piece with pencil lines done with a ruler sitting on top of a charcoal background. The silver of the lead pencil worked well over the charcoal and had the AGNSW not had a no photos rule (or put images up on its website, sold postcards or not had attendants all around) would have been pictured above (instead we have the actual winner).

Points on the day were 3 to Gino, 2 to Catherine O'Donnell for some actual drawing and 1 to Betty.

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