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.


About artkleko

artist, art curator, art teacher, art judge, art critic
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13 Responses to ART REVIEW: GLOVER PRIZE 2010

  1. Lorraine McNeair says:

    Good morning Richard. I think you are very generous in your comments on the Glover. I viewed it on the Monday of the exhibition. Whilst there were many wonderful pieces of work in the exhibition, I felt that some were not worthy of being selected to hang. I voted for “Road Into Port Arthur”, which the catalogue photo does not do credit to. I still do not see an element of landscape in many of the paintings. Yesterday in art class we discussed the exhibition, and whilst most people who attended enjoyed the experience, many of them thought the same as myself. Peter Gouldthorpe’s painting was magnificent – very well presented and superbly painted – almost photographic and three dimensional. Those trees jumped out at you. I was not that impressed with the winning entry and that was something we also discussed yesterday. We thought the totems were a little out of place in a Tasmanian landscape – apparently they are from a particular area of Australia. I guess I am really and unqualified person, but I have judged at several exhibitions. My first criteria when judging art or photography – wrongly or rightly – is impact, and whether it was painted well or not, it did nothing for me, personally. And what about the painted canvas with doileys stuck on it – hardly landscape or particularly difficult for the artist to do. I have to be careful here, as I do not wish to be unprofessional. I guess our tutor has encouraged us to give constructive criticism in our classes, and because of the make-up of our class, it is accepted graciously. Anyway, we are all different, and like different things. I am not a fan of realism in painting, but I can admire and appreciate what I know has been so well-done, such as Peter Gouldthorpe’s piece of work.

    • artkleko says:

      Thank you Lorraine for your excellent comments. i don’t think I am being generous with my review. I am not privy to the judges’ comments and have simply made judgements as I see things.
      Maybe the judges’ comments should be published.
      Ian Waldron uses totem poles in several of his paintings and although I agree that they seem out of place, I felt they didn’t detract from the composition.

      • andrew heap says:

        Congratulations Richard on your WEBLOG.
        Should be more of it!

        I love the fact that the Glover creates discussion and argument around our opinions, prejudices and basic views of what art is.

        The 101 module of law and art as a subject raises the question, What is law? and What is art? If you can impress with your answer to these questions, congratulations. For me, art is what artists produce.

        The health of art is in the debate, I learn and grow each year with the Glover.

      • artkleko says:

        Thank you Andrew. long live the Glover Prize!

  2. Faridah Cameron’s painting, “Tasmanian View”, is actually a painted landscape. The article on “Lateline” concerning the Glover award is worth a look.

  3. I predicted that the painting in question would get the public vote. You’re right Lorraine, that sort of thing appeals to the general public. I see so much of that kind of work. To me, it’s not exciting, fresh, new and challenging. I’m sure that’s what the judges look for, hence the choice of the winner.

  4. Margaret Bain says:

    Loved Peter Gouldthorpe landscape! Glowing, vibrant – photos don’t do it justice.

    An ‘interior landscape’… and ‘exterior still life’… it’s not just a realistic painting. It’s a shame people put a painting style into such a narrow description as ‘realistic.

  5. Jodie says:

    Hi Richard, I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now. Being an ex Tasmanian it makes me a little homesick at times.

    I really like your work, the black lead pencil drawings are quite striking, especially Part 7 and 1. Thanks for the kind words on my painting that was in the Glover Prize. Good luck for your entry into next years prize.

    Cheers, Jodie Wells

    • artkleko says:

      Thank you Jodie for your kind remarks. I love your work and am impressed with your website. Good luck to you too in your future painting endeavours!
      Regards, Richard

  6. PiterJankovich says:

    My name is Piter Jankovich. oOnly want to tell, that your blog is really cool
    And want to ask you: is this blog your hobby?
    P.S. Sorry for my bad english

  7. evantart says:

    Gee Richard you should not do such interesting blog postings. I know this set of comments on the Glover is older but I just discovered it tonight. It’s late and I gotta go to bed but just had to read all comments first. Well done.

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