From Andrew Frost…
First awarded in 1993, the annual Dobell Drawing Prize is the thinking person’s art award. Far from the absurd glitz and overhyped media profile of other prizes, the Dobell attracts a high caliber of artists, entering not just for the $30,000 purse, but also for the honour of simply being selected. And in a break from the usual rigmarole surrounding rules and definitions the Dobell has deliberately never defined what constitutes a ‘drawing’ leaving the practice open to interpretation. That the prize selection has never really fully committed to the idea that the limits of drawing are completely open, or have gone beyond into new forms just called ‘drawing’, is a testament to the more conservative judges of an often wildly experimental medium.
Judge Aida Tomescu has selected a strong list of finalists including numerous previous entrants and a host of newcomers. This year’s Dobell Prize) has been awarded to Melbourne artist Gareth Sansom whose Made in Wadeye is a drawing across 20 pages like loose, funky doodles, but with the artist’s trademark sense of structure, narrative and humour. Sadly, this is the Dobell Prize’s last prize as of next year a curated exhibition will take its place. As to whether this will open up the prize to new and experimental drawing practices remains to be seen, but for now, hurry before it’s too late.
Until February 10
Art Gallery of NSW, The Domain
Pic: Gareth Sansom, Made in Wadeye 2012, suite of 20 drawings on white cartridge paper, ink, lead pencil, graphite, coloured watercolour pencil, felt-tipped pen, ballpoint pen, egg tempera, earth, collage, 29.7 × 42 cm each sheet, 119 × 210 cm overall.