Now in its 22nd year, the 2018 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize is a significant event in the visual arts calendar spanning all mediums and offering a total of $36,000 in prize money. The aim of the annual acquisitive award and accompanying exhibition, held at the National Art School Gallery, is to provide a platform for established and emerging contemporary artists to showcase their work respectively.
The 2018 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize was awarded to Melbourne-based artist Gail Hastings for the $25,000 established artist category and Sydney-based artist Adrian McDonald for the $10,000 emerging artist category, with the $1,000 Viewer’s Choice Award to be announced in May.
This year’s judging panel included Natasha Bullock (MCA Senior Curator), Judith Blackall (NAS Gallery Curator), Mark Harpley (Visual Arts Coordinator, Redlands School) and Fabian Byrne (Visual Arts Teacher, Redlands School), who commented on the challenge of making a final decision, particularly for the emerging artist category:
‘This year there is an exciting range of outstanding works by early-career artists – ambitious and thought-provoking installations, conceptual, socially and politically conscious, formally and materially sophisticated.’
What made Hastings and McDonald stand apart was the dual clarity in their approach to painting and its extended forms, subject matter, technique and media. Hastings’ winning work Colour circle: four colour scheme for a room (2018) has been described by Bullock as, ‘playful and inventive, and distinguished by its aesthetic rigour. It is an exquisitely-made object, which questions the definition of minimalism, and the movement of everyday space’, while McDonald’s Approximating a Circle (2018) explores unseen spaces and the notion of harmony in relation to abstract and concrete art.
Hastings’ refers to her work as ‘sculptural situations’, or ‘sculptuations’, whereby the surrounding space activates the imagination. Consisting of five parts and making reference to the colour wheel, this work uses a familiar visual language to create a gateway into the artist’s mind, her interpretation of space and narrative.
Similarly, McDonald’s painting without paint deals with space and most notably the silence or pauses heard in music, whilst clearly expanding our understanding of what constitutes a painting. Fabian Byrne, Visual Art Teacher at Redlands School, commented: ‘It is a painting, but not as we have known painting previously. There are no brush strokes, there is no picture, no image. Rather, the reference is to data and mathematics and the punched holes of a pianola roll. Indeed, music is a good reference as it is the rests and spaces between musical notes and percussive beats that allow us to hear melody and to sense rhythm.’
National Art School Gallery
Until 12 May, 2018