Selected from a shortlist of 37 artists, the winners of the Grace Cossington Smith art award, a biennial award for two-dimensional works responding to concept of making connections, were announced at the launch of the 2018 exhibition.
The winning artists, selected by Alison Clark and Dominik Mersch with Mary Faith:
Grace Cossington Smith art award $15,000 acquisitive – Catherine O’Donnell for Yates Court. Known for her detailed renderings of streetscapes and urban dwellings, she says of her work: ‘My drawings an exploration of the architecture, culture and history in the everyday-ness of the urban environment. I see the suburbs as full of connection and disconnection, sameness and difference; in short, my drawings examine suburban living as a site of complexity.’
Grace Cossington Smith local artist award $2,500 non acquisitive – Stephen Hall for Asking Answers Revealing Questions Punctuating with Sighs, a suite of 10 etchings. Focusing mainly on drawing, printmaking and mixed media painting, Hall states, ‘In my art practice I produce thematically based bodies of work that evolve from reading & thought, each body of work usually results in sixty to seventy finished works of various media, supported by numerous sketchbooks where the ideas are developed.’
Grace Cossington Smith early career artist award $2,500 non acquisitive – Jane Theau for her fabric work, In Touch (Screens 1). Theau works in a variety of media but returns repeatedly to textiles. She aims to make work that is as sustainable as possible, using minimal and natural materials, or recycled ones. Her thread drawings are made from next to nothing – thread and recycled tarlatan – but can populate large spaces as hanging installations
‘We admired Catherine O’Donnell for her confident, careful attention to detail and precise pencil work in her small intimate drawing. Catherine’s representation of her subject creates a universal connection to the urban environment that is humanised and layered with mystery through her rendering of the curtains and window spaces,’ said the judges.
‘Stephen Hall’s series of etchings are powerful with a strong narrative that is personal, yet speaks to us all through his expressive line. The format of Stephen’s entry enables a connection through touch and feel as we turn the pages. Jane Theau has engaged in an innovative use of materials with her drawing in space. She has observed the interesting connection of contemporary society and their mobile devices.’
The exhibition of the finalists’ work will be on display until 24 November 2018 at the Grace Cossington Smith Gallery.