Laith McGregor wins the 2018 Paul Guest Prize for Drawing

From over 350 entrants, Queensland born, NSW-based artist Laith McGregor has won the ‘2018 Paul Guest Prize for Drawing’ with his work entitled, This Old Island (2018).

‘This is an enigmatic work ­ simply pencil on paper,’ said this year’s judge, Roger Butler, Curator of Prints, Drawings + Illustrated Books at National Gallery of Australia. ‘At a distance you see two eyes and a nose in a gigantic face that dominates the image. But as you get closer a Pacific Island scene appears. A man with net, huts, palm trees and mountains. The face disappears altogether ­ it is not overlaid on the drawing at all but it is formed by the blank unworked areas. It is not there, but always there.’

Laith McGregor, This Old Island
, 2018, 
pencil on paper, 
198 x 153cm. 
Courtesy the artist and Station Gallery, Melbourne

The Paul Guest Prize is a biennial event highlighting contemporary drawing practice in Australia. Initiated in 2010 by former Family Court Judge and arts patron, the Honourable Paul Guest QC, the prize encourages artists from across Australia to engage with the important medium of drawing and to create challenging and unique art works.

‘This is a powerful, eclectic exhibition of land and cityscapes, fantasy, natural history and gender politics jostle together. Artists from China, Thailand, Vietnam, Fiji, Indonesia, England, Russia, Greece, Malaysia and Australia bring their cultural history to their works. The exhibition is united by the artists use of drawing in all its serious forms. Their distinctive mark making always appealing directly to the viewer,’ Roger said.

McGregor will receive a non-acquisitive cash prize of $15,000 (increased from $12,000) and joins a list of winners that includes Tom Nicholson; Heather B Swann; Peter Grziwotz and Belinda Fox. His fellow 2018 finalists include:

Badra Aji
, Kim Anderson, 
Oliver Ashworth-Martin, 
Carole Bann
, Martin Bell
, Natasha Ber
, James Bonnici, 
Fran Callen, 
Carolyn Craig, 
Greg Creek
, Adam Cusack, 
Dagmar Cyrulla, 
Graeme Drendel
, Chonggang Du, 
Philip Faulks
, Todd Fuller, 
Piero Clemente Garreffa, 
Helen Goninon, 
Peter Grziwotz
, Pei Pei He, 
Bevan Honey
, Amber-Rose Hulme
, Alun Rhys Jones
, Paul Kalemba, 
Martin King, Barbie Kjar
, Deborah Klein, 
Guundie Kuchling, 
Max Linegar
, Alanna Lorenzon
, Jennifer Marshall, 
Terry Matassoni
, Linda Mclean, 
Mali Moir, 
Nick Mourtzakis, 
Reena Naidu, 
Khue Nguyen
, Ian Paradine
, Anna Louise Richardson
, Kaye Shumack
, Andrew Southall, 
Wensi Sun, 
Ross Taylor
, Jason Waterhouse
, Paul White
, Guy James Whitworth
, Helen Wright, 
Tiger Yaltangki
 and Jodie Zutt.

Winner and finalistss are on display in the Paul Guest Prize for Drawing exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery from 30 June to 9 September 2018.