Review / Investigating what drawing is, the M16 Artspace 2015 Drawing Prize

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AS 2015 comes to a close, M16 Artspace concludes its exhibition program with the annual Drawing Prize.

Andrea McCuaig, Dance Patterns, time lapse video, chalk, acrylic black board paint, 2015
Andrea McCuaig, Dance Patterns, time lapse video, chalk, acrylic black board paint, 2015

The 36 national finalists for this year’s prize were judged by Deborah Hart, curator of Australian Art at the National Gallery of Australia and David Hansen, associate professor at the Centre for Art History and Theory, ANU.

Kerry Johns History of an Upland Valley, 2015, ink and acrylic on paper
Kerry Johns History of an Upland Valley, 2015, ink and acrylic on paper

The selection of works finally exhibited explore the broad spectrum of approaches to the drawing medium.

Donated by CAPO, the $1000 cash prize was awarded to Andrea McCuaig for a time-lapse video work titled “Dance Patterns”. Utilising a combination of stop motion and chalk on blackboard, McCuaig’s non-figurative piece is reminiscent of techniques seen in Tacita Dean’s series “Fatigues” and William Kentridge’s video work “Automatic Writing”.

Clare Jackson, Leiüburoo (lost and found), ink, graphite, oil on found paper (detail)
Clare Jackson, Leiüburoo (lost and found), ink, graphite, oil on found paper (detail)

Two other finalists awarded as Highly Commended, were Kerry Johns, who received framing to the value of $500 donated by The Framing Store, Braddon for her work “History of an Upland Valley”, ink and acrylic on paper, and Clare Jackson, who was awarded a voucher to the value of $500 donated by Eckersleys, Braddon for her work “Leiuburoo (Lost and Found)”, a series of 11 mixed media drawings.

Running since 2006, the aim of the M16 Drawing Prize is to investigate and challenge the perception of ‘what is drawing’ through the display of both traditional and non-traditional outputs. These questions are clearly visible in the selection of finalists such as Grace Blake’s 3D drawing on metallic photo paper titled “I fear how similar we are” and Millan Pintos-Lopez piece “It’s kinda about us” constructed from spray paint and oiled plywood.

It is through this continued interest in the construct of the drawing medium that we are able to sustain its longevity in the age of digital and interdisciplinary art practice.

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