Now in its 7th instalment, the City of Devonport National Art Award received 153 entries of two-dimensional works that dealt with personal, environmental, political or cultural themes.
Of these, 46 works were pre-selected by a judging panel consisting of Adam Harding, Director, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Ashleigh Whatling, Curator Visual Art and Design, Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery and Dr Jan Hogan, Coordinator of Printmaking and Drawing Studios, School of Creative Arts, Hobart, UTAS.
Sydney-based artist Julia Davis has won the major acquisitive prize of $15,000 for ‘tidal.18: City of Devonport National Art Award 2018’ for her work Undercurrent (2017), a single channel looped video with sound, where the artist employed drone technology to record tidal movements of the Tasmanian coast.
‘We were seeking a work that illustrated a mastery of material or medium and a work that gave us an emotional response, a tidal pull to another place. Ultimately offering us, and hopefully the community of Devonport and the regions visitors a transformative experience,’ said Harding.
‘This single channel looped video is deceptively simple as you enter the gallery. Are we looking at a landscape or a seascape? Are we looking up or down? Pushed by the waves, pulled by the undertow the work becomes immersive. Through her control of the medium Davis has produced a monochromatic work that crosses mediums referencing the washing and staining of traditional Chinese watercolours, sweeping black lines flow from thick to thin from black to white as this works cycles through day and night, rushing in and receding, the trace of this tidal movement builds upon itself producing a stained misty mountain range.
‘Keep watching, the waves rush in and out, and then the horizon flips, we are folded into the space, we are within the waves, surrounded by the materiality of water. Produced by bringing together drone footage from the sky and a soundscape from the oceans floor, Davis uses these multiple perspectives, to disconnect us further from the real. Placing us at the centre of a timeless work of epic nature.’
Tasmanian photographer Lisa Garland was highly commended for her large-scale photograph Arthur River Kelp (2018), which, in Harding’s words, ‘transports us to the windswept and salt-encrusted coast of the Great Southern Ocean. Documenting a process that responds to the tidal nature of this community, Garland’s work illustrates there is a season to collect and a season to dry bull kelp, a process and activity that has been undertaken for generations.’
“Through this work Garland has captured the texture, grit and the physical labour involved in this process, it is as if we can smell the curing of the kelp,’ continues Harding. ‘Through the scale of its production Garland’s photography transforms the kelp into bodily ghosts, haunting the landscape playing off this place’s isolation and beauty.’
The Devonport Regional Gallery Friends Committee’s Peoples’ Choice Award will be announced at the close of the exhibition.
The ‘City of Devonport National Art Award Finalists’ Exhibition’ is on show at the Devonport Regional Gallery, at the paranaple arts centre, until 27 January 2019.