My thoughts on this year’s Glover Prize …
The annual Glover Art Prize drew thousands of visitors to the historic village of Evandale in Northern Tasmania, from March 6th to the 9th.
In its seventh year, the Glover Prize is Australia’s richest landscape award and is fast gaining respect not only as one of Australia’s most prestigious art prize, but one that has also attracted the interest of overseas patrons.
On the opening night (March 5), Cairns artist Ian Waldron, was announced the winner with his entry Walach Dharr (Cockle Creek), a beautifully executed painting in oil and acrylic on Tasmanian oak. I was particularly impressed with Ian’s technique.
Forty three paintings were chosen from two hundred and seventy entries.
The People’s Choice Award went to Hobart artist Peter Gouldthorpe for his painting, Gondwana Rococo.
I managed to inspect the exhibition last Saturday and noted that many of the 43 entries were much bigger than had been the case in previous years. Sales were very strong which must have pleased the Glover Committee.
Nearly all the entries were in oils or acrylics. There was only one watercolour on display and no coloured pencil entries made the final this year.
I noted a strong graphic influence in several paintings through the use of letters, words, strong lines and flat shapes. Some paintings had a very two-dimensional feel, while others were rich in texture.
Some of the paintings presented in a different way than they appeared in the catalogue. This would no doubt be due to the quality of the original photograph or in the printing of the catalogue itself. Some of the paintings were quite different ‘in the flesh’ and two had been altered after they were photographed.
I was impressed with the work of Jonathan Barnard, Nicholas Blowers, Tim Burns, Jonathan Kimberley, Wendy Stokes, Ian Waldron, Laura Matthews and Jodie Wells, the latter two artists displaying a wonderful use of texture in their work. David Lake’s acrylic, Directions into May’s Midland Mist, is a strong example of photo-realism. His grasp of technique is exemplary.
Tim Burns’ Wood to Water, appealed to me with its symbolism and use of colour, so reminiscent of the West Coast. I loved Bicheno – silent counterpoint, by Wendy Stokes, It gave me a serene feeling with a composition free of realism.
Stephanie Tabram’s, Return to Little Pine Lagoon, brought back many memories of my trout fishing days in the Tasmanian Highlands and was a very popular painting.
Philip Wolfhagen and Michael McWilliams’ paintings were beautifully and skilfully executed. Joanne Mitchelson’s watercolour was quite impressive.
Overall, there was a good balance of realism, semi-abstraction and pure abstraction on display, broad enough for all art tastes. Some paintings were hard to interpret and would no doubt have benefited from the display of an artist’s statement next to the work (in 18 point lettering) rather than in a folder as is the practice.
Congratulations to all involved for another successful chapter in the history of the Glover Prize. Having been a finalist myself last year, I know what it is like to experience the ‘Glover hype’ and I urge all artists to get started on their entry for next year – I have!
Thankyou to James Abbott, Treasurer of the Committee of The John Glover Society for permission to include photographs of five of this year’s entrants’ paintings.