2015 Geelong acquisitive print award winners announced

The Geelong Gallery has announced Sophie Cape as the 2015 recipient of the $5,000 Geelong acquisitive print award, and Deidre Brollo as the 2015 recipient of the $1,500 Ursula Hoff Institute award. The two winners were selected from a pool of forty-two finalists who were shortlisted from hundreds of entries from around Australia.

The judges of the 2015 Geelong acquisitive print award, Wendy Garden (Senior Curator, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery), Geoffrey Edwards (Director, Geelong Gallery) and Lisa Sullivan (Curator, Geelong Gallery) were extremely impressed with the technical and thematic diversity with this year’s entries. They were particularly impressed with the strong narrative focus of each work, whether dealing with contemporary themes, art historical precedents or citing political or ecological issues.

The judging panel has described Cape’s winning work as having “an energy and force that draws the viewer in, and then reminds us of our mortality with the subtle inclusion of the memento-mori-like skull form. The work is one of contrasts, it engages on multiple levels and is an exceptional example of the possibilities of the printmaking medium when approached with intensity.”

Cape’s work The devil’s firmament (2014), merges abstraction and figuration and is inspired by external landscapes and the internal workings of the mind. Printed in collaboration with master printer John Loane (himself a winner of the Geelong print prize in 1972), the unique state etching employs the techniques of spit-bite (when acid is dropped or spattered onto the plate) and foul-bite (when an etching ground collapses and allows the acid to attack the plate indiscriminately), as well as carborundum, charcoal, oil, collage, shellac and soil. The vitality of the mark-making and the vibrancy of select passages, contrast with darker sections while the inclusion of a representation of a human skull – a symbol of the transience of life—is a poignant contrast to the energy and physicality of the work itself.

Deidre Brollo’s artist book, Fathom (2013), is concerned with the precarious nature of the sea voyage: the perpetual advance and retreat of the ocean, the fate of vessels and passengers upon it, and the desire to remember or to forget. Using accounts of maritime disasters obtained from shipping logs, Brollo explores the nature of communication and our capacity to convey meaning, whether over distance or across time.

“Deidre Brollo’s work exquisitely merges historical maritime texts with sublime imagery of the ocean and rocky shorelines. As the viewer progresses through the book’s pages, the various reveals (through porthole-like paper cuts), and the highly considered juxtapositions of texts, imagery and embossed forms make for compelling viewing”, says the panel. The work has a currency when thought about in the context of the precarious nature of journeys undertaken by refugees.

Geelong Gallery
Until 22 November, 2015

Sophie Cape (printed in collaboration with John Loane), The devil’s firmament, 2014, unique state etching, spit- bite, foul-bite, carborundum, charcoal, oil, collage, shellac and soil; artist proof
Collection: Geelong Gallery Geelong acquisitive print awards (winner), 2015. Reproduced courtesy of the artist and Olsen Irwin Gallery, Sydney

Deidre Brollo, Fathom, 2013, archival pigment prints, papercuts, embossing (artist book); edition 3/7
Collection: Geelong Gallery, Ursula Hoff Institute award (winner), 2015. Reproduced courtesy of the artist