Melbourne-based artist Piers Greville has won the 2019 Glover Prize for his entry entitled Pedder Prime Cuts, receiving $50,000 and a bronze maquette of colonial artist John Glover, whose legacy is celebrated through the Tasmanian contemporary landscape award.
Greville’s winning work examines how our environment is thought of through painting; an idea that stems from a deeply personal enquiry of his urban existence and dwindling ecologies. While the work aims to interrogate more than instruct, the personal and political stance of the artist are always in play.
Greville’s work depicts Tasmania’s Lake Pedder, represented through a combination of ‘digital mapping, photography, and memory.’
The artist recalls canoeing on Tasmania’s Lake Pedder in 2017 saying that ‘in the expanse of dark water, the almost glassy depths and mountains held me in their beauty. A feeling of being absent from human clutter and noise settled on me, but the sudden recollection that this lake is a dam, tipped everything on its side. This terrain consumed by Lake Pedder reveals its absences and loss, both beneath the lake’s dark depths, and the voids left in the fallible processes of digital mapping. Pedder’s distinctive white quartz beachers and deep submerged hues are made up of red, green and blue reflecting screen RGB colours of the digital world. A slightly downward view and use of digital mapping view are important markers, offering a slight cool remove from the landscape while enticing the view into the landscape unfolding into a broadening distance. The voids reveal a constructed concrete infinity, the diagonal checkerboard slices follow a top-down grid, prime cuts of a country cut up and sliced for consumption.’
Speaking of the winning piece, Barry Keldoulis, part of this year’s judging panel comprised of himself, Janet Carding and Joan Ross, stated that ‘it is probably the finalist that displays the most ‘newness’ in his approach to his comprehension of the landscape.’ He added that ‘His work comes from a very distinct moment on Lake Pedder of his experience of the landscape, and a subsequent realisation of the constructed nature of the nature around him.’
Keldoulis mentioned that ‘the work has a very dramatic sense of almost looking at the landscape from space, which captures the silliness of the notion that we can escape this planet to somewhere else. So for me there’s an element of the love of the landscape, but a desperation and a fear that we are not treating it in the manner we should – with respect.’
The judges also awarded two finalist pieces with Highly Commended Awards – Kylie Elkington for her entry The Native Arrangement, and Seabastion Toast, for her entry Surfers are the Worst (Shipsterns Bluff). Elkington’s work ‘beautifully captures the intimate experience of being in the forest,’ says Keldoulis, while Toast’s is ‘full of the vigour and drama of the Tasmanian coast. It is beautiful.’
The 2019 Glover prize finalists’ exhibition runs from 9 to 17 March, at the historic Falls Park Pavilion in Evandale, Tasmania.