Diena Georgetti awarded the 2021 Geelong contemporary art prize

Melbourne-based artist Diena Georgetti has been awarded the 2021 Geelong contemporary art prize for her painting AMPERSAND (2020).

The painting extends Georgetti’s idiosyncratic approach to picture-making as she assembles and juxtaposes abstract images and references to art historical precedents, along with modernist aesthetics, including design and fashion. These reference points are drawn from books, archives and the internet, and function as Georgetti’s eclectic image-bank, but her sources remain elusive. It is a creative process of sampling that reworks real and archival fragments in the spirit of historical collage while exploring the literal and metaphorical ways in which images are framed for the viewer.

Diena Georgetti, AMPERSAND, 2020, synthetic polymer paint on canvas, custom frame. Courtesy the artist and The Commercial, Sydney

amid the world-shattered weakened
world of us
formed by a past and future tense with
so that we may rate the return of an
unending life of time within us’ 

– Diena Georgetti

AMPERSAND is an enigmatic and compelling work, melding formal painterly references to both analytical and synthetic Cubism, with a fugitive figuration that recalls the Classical nude pose and the enfolding pathos of Henry Moore’s sculpture and drawing. The central configuration of this painting reflects the inward twist and turn of its title AMPERSAND, that archaic sign for notating the endless possibilities of the word ‘and’ to a thought or narrative.

Above all, the judges – eminent art historians and curators, Jenepher Duncan and Grazia Gunn and Geelong Gallery Director & CEO, Jason Smith – agreed that a relevant contemporary humanism pervades AMPERSAND, opening-up this precisely constructed but poetic image to many readings and interpretations.

The Prize is acquisitive and assists the ongoing growth of the Gallery’s collection, while also promoting Australian painting and contemporary artists.

The judges also wish to acknowledge the contemporary relevance and excellent quality of the works of the 28 finalists who were selected from an Australia-wide field of over 600 entries, and who are among the country’s finest established and emerging artists.

The 2021 Geelong contemporary art prize is on display at Geelong Gallery from 4 June to 22 August 2021*.



* Geelong Gallery is temporarily closed and will remain closed until at least Thursday 10 June.