Mel Douglas wins the 2020 Tom Malone Prize

The winner of the 2020 Tom Malone Prize for Australian glass artists is Mel Douglas for her five-part wall work, Tonal Value (2019).

As an acquisitive prize, each year’s winning entrant is awarded $15,000, and their work becomes part of the State Art Collection.

Mel Douglas, Tonal Value, 2019, glass on paper, 5 units: 71 x 71cm each. © and courtesy the artist. Photograph: David Patterson

This year’s judges – Sydney-based artist Warren Langley, Tom Malone Prize inaugurator and AGWA Foundation Governor Elizabeth Malone, and AGWA’s Curator of 20th Century Art Robert Cook – were unanimous in their decision:

‘A study in colour, form and transition, balance and counter-balance, it is both subtle and strangely energetic and animated. While a quiet work, it has an undeniable, even commanding, presence as each of the unit’s two overlapping forms modulate over the work’s length; moving from light to dark the work seems to shift into presence from absence, or from light to shadow. Tracing the dependencies and interactions of line and volume, it builds on Mel’s previous work in three-dimensional form, most especially her near pitch-black objects that seem to carve out sections from their surrounding space. Composed from a type of printing and kiln fusing with glass powder, Tonal Value also evidences her commitment to creative experimentation and evolution with the always challenging medium of glass.’

Artist statement:
‘Objects and drawings are often thought of as two separate entities. My work explores and interweaves the creative possibilities of this liminal space, where the form is not just a support for drawing; but a three-dimensional drawing itself. Using the unique qualities of the material, and the rich potential of mark-making on and with glass, I am using line as a way to inform, define and enable three-dimensional space.’

Mel Douglas’ Tonal Value was selected as the winning piece from a competitive shortlist of 15 works by Australian artists including Kate Baker (NSW), Clare Belfrage (SA), Peter Bowles (TAS), Lisa Cahill (ACT), Mel Douglas (ACT), Ben Edols and Kathy Elliott (NSW), Hannah Gason (ACT), David Hay (WA), Marc Leib (WA), Jeremy Lepisto (NSW), Jessica Loughlin (SA), Nick Mount (SA), Kirstie Rea (NSW), Jason Sims (SA) and Jarred Wright (QLD).

The Tom Malone Prize 2020 finalists’ exhibition is on display at the Art Gallery of Western Australia until 29 June 2020.