The Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize is back in 2017, offering a dynamic look at three-dimensional artworks that have been curated by some of Australia’s leading artistic personalities. Sorting through 675 entries, writer, curator and Indigenous activist Djon Mundine OAM and the Executive Director of Artspace, Alexie Glass-Kantor joined gallerist and benefactor Roslyn Oxley OAM through a process of careful deliberation that resulted in allocating 46 of the artworks as finalists.
This is no easy task, especially when considering the high calibre of entrants that includes respected and esteemed Australian artists like Guy Maestri, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Louis Pratt, Rodney Pople and Tracey Deep. During a time of over saturation and political-crisis, an exhibition and prize-giving for intricate and small works of free-standing sculpture, measuring no more than 80cm in length, allows for a certain sense of ease and respite.
Mundine’s explicit fondness for highly detailed and smaller artworks is explicit as he states, “We’re in an age where there are so many gigantic artworks, so many gigantic projections, that it’s really good for something that focuses on ‘the god of small things’.” Despite their size limit, these artworks are abundant with ideas and artistic practice that set them on par with the finest grade of sculpture Australia-wide. This includes works composed of stone, ceramic, paper, thread, wire, metal, resin and electronic detritus.
The diversity of entrants has been something of note for judge Oxley, who expresses how the prize allows the public of Sydney exposure to the works of new and exciting local talents. It is the element of surprise that has made the process of judging so exciting for Alexie Glass Kantor, who notes how the works exhibited present a striking debate, which she believes is an essential component when viewing art, and will make this year’s lot of sculpture all the better for it.
The 2017 finalist artists are: NOT (NSW); Abdul-Rahman Abdullah (WA); Sally Blake (ACT); Lauren Brincat (NSW); Angela Butler (NSW); Penny Byrne (VIC); Peter Cooley (NSW); Selena de Carvalho (TAS); Tracey Deep (NSW); Mariana del Castillo (NSW); Lynda Draper (NSW); Mark Dubner (NSW); Merran Esson (NSW); Emma Fielden (NSW); Stevie Fieldsend (NSW); Trevor Fry (NSW); Natalie Guy (NZ); Lizzie Hall (NSW); David Hamilton (TAS); Michael Harrell (NSW); Tevita Havea (NSW); Sergio Hernandez (NSW); Bianca Hester (NSW); Alison Hill (QLD); Phil James (NSW); Michelle Kirk (NSW); Mike Kitching (NSW); Rene Kulitja (NT); Claire Lambe (VIC); Guy Maestri (NSW); Sanné Mestrom (VIC); Dan Moynihan (VIC); John Nicholson (NSW); Karin Olah (NSW); Kenny Pittock (VIC); Rodney Pople (NSW); Louis Pratt (NSW); Madeleine Preston (NSW); Julia Robinson (SA); Giles Ryder (VIC); Huseyin Sami (NSW); Michael Snape (NSW); Andrew Southall (VIC); Abdullah Syed M I (NSW); Richard Tipping (NSW); Mark Titmarsh (NSW); Peter Vandermark (ACT).