The National Gallery of Australia and Macquarie Bank are delighted to announce the 31 artists shortlisted for the inaugural National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition.
These artists include some of Australia's best-known and respected sculptors as well as many new talents. The Exhibition will be held at the National Gallery of Australia from 30 November 2001 to 10 March 2002 and will showcase the diversity and strength of contemporary sculpture in Australia.
The winning sculpture will be chosen from the works exhibited and announced on 29 November 2001. The winning artist will receive $50,000, and all artists shortlisted for the Exhibition will receive $2,000, making the National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition one of the most generous art prizes in Australia.
The National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition has been established as a partnership between the National Gallery of Australia and Macquarie Bank to promote and support sculpture in Australia.
Artists were invited to enter up to four works each: either works created within the last year or proposals for new works. The National Gallery of Australia and Macquarie Bank have been delighted with the enthusiastic response to the prize, with close to 500 artists submitting entries.
Judges for the Prize in 2001 are Dr Brian Kennedy, Director, National Gallery of Australia, Dr Deborah Hart, Senior Curator of Australian Painting and Sculpture, National Gallery of Australia, Mr Julian Beaumont, Chairman, Macquarie Bank Art Committee, Professor Ian Howard, artist and Dean of the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales and Mr Neil Dawson, New Zealand sculptor.
For further information please email Sculpture.Prize@nga.gov.au
Mr Neil Dawson, New Zealand sculptor
I am delighted to be involved with the first National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition. It has been a great opportunity to get in touch with what is happening in sculpture all over Australia.
I was impressed by the number and quality of the entries, confirming that a revival of interest in sculpture is occurring on both sides of the Tasman. Assessing the entries has been a challenging and enjoyable collaborative task and I think we will have an exhibition that reflects the diversity and range of sculpture practice in Australia.
The National Gallery of Australia and Macquarie Bank are to be congratulated on this exciting new initiative.
Professor Ian Howard, artist and Dean of the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales
The response, in terms of quality and quantity of applications was staggering, providing the judges with the rich experience of viewing such a range of work but also the logistical challenge of viewing each submission, and taking care to bring the most appropriate and exciting works forward to the exhibition stage.
The panel of judges felt eminently well suited to the task, with expertise ranging across hands on sculptural practice, extensive curatorial expertise, Australian and international art historical knowledge and major corporate sculpture collecting experience.
The vast number of sculptors submitting quality entries, the range, scale and diversity of the work and the energy and ambition of many of the proposals, indicates that sculpture is very much alive and well in Australia.
Most entries, and consequently the majority of works selected for the exhibition, were 'object' based sculptures and to some extent the competition description encouraged the showcasing of this category of work. Equally, future National Sculpture Prizes may be exhibited in settings both indoor and outdoor that complement other more site or environment specific works.
Selecting approximately 40 sculptures out of more than one thousand works entered was a daunting task and without question not all exceptional works have been able to be included. Available space simply wouldn't allow this. The final choice showcases the brilliance of individual artists and their works but also demonstrates the range, diversity and depth of Australian sculptural practice today.
Mr Julian Beaumount, Chairman, Macquarie Bank Art Commitee
This is a really exciting project. I am in awe of so many aspects of it.
The vast number of outstanding entries, from which sadly we have had to choose only a few, demonstrates the excellence and richness of Australian sculpture today.
I've been particularly impressed with the diversity of the selected works - diversity of scale; diversity of media, including new media and the inventive use of traditional media; diversity of composition and interpretation; and the range of experience and age of the finalists - it is so exciting to see some younger Australian Sculptors in this exhibition, vying for the prize with better known artists.
Dr Brian Kennedy, Director, National Gallery of Australia
The exhibition of selected entries, opening on 30 November 2001, will be a most exciting one, exploring the range of possibilities encompassed by sculpture in Australia today, and offering delight and visual stimulation. We have no doubt that the National Sculpture Prize is set to become a major exhibition on Australia's cultural calendar.
Dr Deborah Hart, Senior Curator of Australian Painting and Sculpture, National Gallery of Australia
I very much enjoyed the process of looking at the diverse range of applications for the National Sculpture Prize and Exhibition. One of the considerations for the judges was to shape an exhibition that would be lively and provide an interesting take on the nature of sculpture in Australia today.
Like all the judges, I felt that we could have chosen several different exhibitions. Overall while the sculptures in the show are object-based, we were impressed by the imaginative use of a wide range of materials. Above all what stands out is the breadth and exceptional inventiveness of sculpture in Australia today. We are grateful for Macquarie Bank's support of this Prize because it has already opened up many possibilities for us now and in the future.