Exhibition of Shortlisted Entries MAP 2016  >>>    


Milburn Art Prize -  Judge's Comments from Professor Pat Hoffie

All  the works in this exhibition deserve congratulations – each of them has been successful in setting up a mood and in commanding the viewers attention – Peter will be able to vouch for this, because we looked at each work in the show together.  There’s no such thing as ‘best in show’ in an art exhibition – it’s not a dog show after all – and I’ve always had my doubts about the folly of awarding best in show to dogs, too. But there IS a lot of  very fine work here, each with strengths in a diverse range of categories – IT’s simply true that, on the day, one in particular might call out to you, but all of you are to be celebrated as artists who are committed to putting in the effort to help us see and think about things in a different way.


Milburn Prize Winner:

Night Raft (Clare Purser)

The appeal of  Clare Purser's painting 'Night Raft’ lies in a number of its layers – in the carefully and gradually worked up skeins of paint; in the evidence of changes of direction and approach by its maker, of scratchings and line-work and brush loads of pigment laid right next to, and at times over the top of, more thinly applied veils of paint. In short, much of the appeal of the painting lies in the capacity of its surface to give us clues about the processes of its making. When we lean in close to gaze at the painting, we are aware of a mind at work on bringing a physical reality into being – a surface full of illusion and allusion.

The illusion – the sense that we are looking at a landscape of some kind, is also underscored by the title of the work – but Night Raft could as easily allude to a psychological state as it could a landscape.  Its capacity to suggest and at the same time elude states of being or even figures and forms are part of its appeal, as is the richly worked surface, the chalky layers of colour, and a composition that is simultaneously architectonic as well as being redolent of landscape.


Highly Commended:

 Where the Sand meets the Sea (Lizzie Riek)

The scrawling calligraphy of the paint application makes for a lovely leisurely looking – the lines seem to meander across the surface of water and then to dive beneath. There is a vitality and energy to the brushwork that is as much about the love of the process of applying paint as it is about describing that littoral zone that lies along the shoreline.

Crowned Cockatrose (Charlotte Haywood)

has to be celebrated for the way its established a presence between art and craft –its big and uncompromising and seems intent on breaking any traditional categorisations that might hold it in place. The piece seems to be asking its creator to make more – much more – and to extend them right across walls in a challenge to how art SHOULD behave.

Banjo @3  (Annette Cooke)

Is an unselfconscious charmer, as I’m sure Banjo must have been at 3… But this painting does not depend on sentimentality – instead, the artists choice to use fresco makes the most of an immediate approach to image making where the pigment inks in almost as soon as it is laid down – the result is a freshness and airiness that underscores the brevity of the moment – the gaze, and also childhood itself. Another part of the appeal of the work is its ‘objecthood’ – it sits like a thin little panel of surface and pigment within a box frame like a precious memento.

Mapping Landscape (Ross Booker)

Form has been built up in this work in a way that calls to mind Paul Klee’s description of a line as ‘a dot going for a walk’. The suggested cliffs and paths and rocky outcrops n this work might also function as a kind of linear cartography – it is as if the artists hand and I has traced the journey as a series of meandering contours and pathways.

Storm Crossing (Robin Finlay)

This is a joyous, energetic work that commits itself to local scenery and icons and in so doing creates an image that many of us immediately recognize – Brisbane/the bridge/an approaching storm.  There is something of the energy of Weaver Hawkins here –and a sense of collusion between the architectural structures, the natural features and the roiling elements.

Flowers from Nicola (Elizabeth Gair Palmer)

Although an immediate comparison might lie with the work of Margaret Olley, the work commands its own distinction – one where the energy and tonal subtlety of the bouquet of native flowers and foliage seem to ‘spread their arms’ across the picture plane. The exuberance of the surface where the artist has chopped up marks and tones to match the energy of the natural forms seems to almost bully the more petite vessels beneath that spread into a willing submission.

Mackeral Street (Charlotte Tegan)

Is easy to overlook – as, no doubt, Mackeral Streeitself  might be easy to overlook on google map. But there it is – as simple as a snapshot, documenting the evidence of what appears to be a fibro beach shack in centre frame. On each side of its façade stans a palm tree worthy of playing the role of ceremonial custodian to much more important historical architectural forms. The pyramids come to mind – or perhaps Assyrian tombs and edifices. But right between the palm trees stand the markers of everyday practicality – the wheelie bins of council governance. Mackeral Street is a celebration of the mundane and marvelous uniqueness that is the Ozzie beach shack.


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