The Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, presented by Woollahra Council, today announced 43 emerging and established artists as finalists for the 19th annual Prize and exhibition. The 2019 finalist group includes artists from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom highlighting the Prize's growing international reputation.
The innovative submissions – each for a freestanding sculpture of up to 80cm in any dimension – were selected from 634 entries by a judging panel comprised of Professor Ross Harley, Dean of the Faculty of Art & Design and UNSW Chair of Arts and Culture, Louise Herron AM, Chief Executive Officer, Sydney Opera House, and Design and Architecture advocate, broadcaster, author and comedian, Tim Ross.
Louise Herron AM said: "The 2019 Prize finalists highlight the wide range of concepts and emotions expressed through sculpture, both in Australia and internationally. The judging panel focused on excellence in execution and was moved by the wide range of materials, colours and textures used in the works, including those by Alison MacDonald and Carol Crawford. We are delighted to have included several exceptional pieces by or inspired by First Nations artists, including Tracey Deep and Mandy Quadrio, as well as some masculine works such as 'Fortitude' by Stuart McLachlan."
Professor Ross Harley commented: "It is significant that Woollahra Council continues to support and provide artists with such an incredible platform to develop and share their work. We have been struck by how many of the finalist works respond to the big questions of the day; exploring issues around culture, the natural world and the role of the human in these spaces. While many works deal with heavy issues, we haven't turned away from the humour in some of the works and the selection ultimately has something for everyone to engage with."
The exhibition will be on view, free to the public, from 11 October until 3 November 2019 at Woollahra Council Chambers in Sydney. Prize money this year totals $24,000 across four categories. The Prize categories are the main Acquisitive award of $20,000; a Special Commendation award of $2,000; the Viewers' Choice award of $1,000; and the Mayors Award of $1,000.
The 2019 Woollahra Sculpture Prize finalist artists are: Ali McCann (VIC) Alison McDonald (QLD) Ara Dolation (VIC), Benjamin Jay Shand (NSW) Brenda Page (VIC) Carol Cooke (ACT) Carol Lehrer Crawford (NSW) Donna Marcus (QLD) Erica Izard (NSW) Jane McKenzie (NSW) Jane Price (SA) Jeffrey Wood (NSW) Jessica Leitmanis (VIC) Johannes van Nunen (NLD/NSW) Julie Monro-Allison (ACT) Julie Pennington (ACT) Kate Ellis (VIC) Kenny Pittock (VIC) Kieta Jackson (UK) Lisa Giles (NSW) Louis Pratt (NSW) Louiseann King (VIC) Luke Storrier (NSW) Mandy Quadrio (TAS/QLD) Mehwish Iqbal (NSW) Merran Esson (ACT) Natalie Rosin (NSW) Nathan Keogh (NSW) Neil Laredo (NSW) Nicole de Mestre (NSW) NOT (NSW) Oliver Ashworth-Martin (UK/VIC) Patricia Smart (NSW) Paula Dunlop (QLD) Peter Zappa (WA) Stuart Rex Mclachlan (NSW) Tai Snaith (VIC) Tina Fox (NSW) Toni Morrison (NSW) Tracey Deep (NSW) Ulan Murray (NSW) Veronica Andrus-Blaskievics (NSW) Wanda Gillespie (NZ).
Many of the works are architectural in nature such as Neil Laredo's Little Boxes which considers the residential home as a metaphor for identity and its many facets, and Jane McKenzie's exploration into the influence of architecture on the sculptural form in her work Circumvent.
There is also a clear trend towards the use of natural materials and colours with a number of exceptions being the bright autumnal coloured trees of Merran Esson's Autumn On The Monaro, Toni Morrison's Fire within, a red spherical sculpture inspired by the St Ivan bushfire in 2016 and made from merino wool and other mixed materials, and Peter Zappa's HBs a set of three prototype pencils that reinterpret the function and form of the pencil, adapting the form for drawing within three dimensions.
Tim Ross added: "The high standard and huge range of the 634 works submitted has made for a remarkable judging experience and we have been wholeheartedly moved by many of the finalist works. The combination of our different opinions and views has made for what we hope will be a diverse exhibition and we look forward to reviewing and judging the finalists' small sculptures this October."
A free exhibition of all the finalist sculptures will be presented from Friday 11 October to Sunday 3 November 2019 at Woollahra Council Chambers. The winners will be announced at the launch of the exhibition on 11 October with further details to be provided closer to the time. A series of Artists' Talks and Community Workshops will be presented as part of the program.