I’m thrilled to share the news with you that my work ‘365 Days’ is one of 58 finalists in the Dobell Drawing Prize 2019. The Prize showcases the expanded field of drawing, celebrating innovation, technical skills and diverse media.
The National Art School in association with the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation will present the Dobell Drawing Prize on 28 March 2019.
365 Days, January side
365 Days, December side
Over the course of 2017, I used a simple set of rules to generate a work where my hands and my memory made marks, without the intervention of my sight. The rules were stitch daily and stitch with my eyes closed. The year’s marks read as a map of my mind and hands finding their way across a bounded space.
The judges, Michelle Belgiorno, Simon Cooper and Ben Quilty, said of the submissions:
“We were amazed not only by the number of entries, but by their quality and sheer variety of approaches to drawing. It’s clear that today’s artists explore drawing’s full range of possibilities – from sculptural, performative and digital drawings, to extremely skilful works using classic materials such as charcoal and ink. We’re thrilled to see such technical talent and innovation reflected in this year’s shortlist.”
The exhibition of finalist’s works, will be held at the National Art School, running from 28 March – 25 May 2019
National Art School | Forbes St, Darlinghurst NSW
I am settling in for some long stitching sessions over the coming months. In September this year I will be having a solo exhibition at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space in Manuka.
The show is inspired by ideas that were developed and photographs that were taken during my Asialink Arts Residency at Youkobo Art Space in Tokyo in 2016.
Today I have a bit of a teaser for you from the piece I am currently working on. I am focussed on framing those in-between moments of our daily life.
I am currently working through some fairly tedious passages of mark making on one of my pieces, so yesterday I decided to give myself a break and have a play.
Stitching on a piece of bubble-wrap envelope presented itself. Apart from using different colours of thread, the other change I made between the two pieces was to have one that was stitched in a fairly regular pattern and one which was stitched as randomly as I could manage.
The ‘back’, here is where the differences reveal themselves.
Some of you will know that I have been participating in the #365handstitch2017 challenge where people are asked to stitch a minimum of a thread a day for a year. I thought it was time to show you the progress so far.
The ‘front’ of the piece
As you can see I’ve already added several pieces of cloth together and am working on melding them together. I made the decision up front to ‘stitch with my eyes closed’, (a process I have been using since I first started this blog). Working this way has meant that I do not visually self-censor. This choice has removed from me the necessity of neatness. I also find the process of leaving the decision about which thread and which stitch to use, until the moment I pick up the work, really freeing.
Other people online have asked some very pertinent questions about the direction the work is taking. This has made me think about a number of issues, in particular whether I have a specific end in sight – no; and how much bigger the piece might become.
So I have decided that the current size is where I will leave it (at present). The obvious question of what to do when I run out of space to stitch, was equally quickly answered -work on ‘the back’. I have started this process and not looking while I stitch has helped a lot. It is so hard not to be precious with my work.
The ‘back’, with two new areas of work in cretan stitch and herringbone stitch.
You can see from the photo above that the reverse side of the stitches predominantly resembles small running stitches. That’s why I’m currently adding some strongly coloured lines of stitching. You can see from the following photos that the reverse of even strong colours is not very intrusive.
Blue herringbone stitch is quite strong when looking at the face of the stitch
The reverse of the stitch is quite unobtrusive
The ongoing challenge will be to stick with the process. It may be difficult to ‘spoil’ this work, but working against an established aesthetic is hard.
Here’s a photo for those of you who kindly inquired about the work I sold in the Gold Coast Art Prize. I understand it will be moving to Sydney.
Paperboat for an Inland Sea, cotton stitch on canvas, 25.5 X 73.3 cm, dimensions variable. Found on the roadside in western NSW, a paperboat for an inland sea.