Words: Erin Irwin
The winner of the 2023 Mosman Art Prize has been revealed as David Griggs for his work The stitches and the melanoma. The prize, which has been running for 76 years and is Australia’s oldest local government award, recognises the best of Australian contemporary painting. All winning works enter the Mosman Council’s collection, and net the artist a $50,000 prize.
The stitches and the melanoma speaks to the artist’s experience of skin cancer, and is reflective of the raw, gestural aesthetic that defines Griggs’ practice. The artist describes the painting as “a free flowing emotional process to exile past worries into a positive flesh-like visual”. Griggs will add this win to an already impressive CV, which includes a plethora of local and international residencies, solo exhibitions, and eight appearances as a finalist at the AGNSW’s Archibald Prize.
Prize judge Fiona Lowry was extremely impressed with the work, stating that “having followed David’s work over a number of years, I was excited to see this work with David’s characteristically provocative and complex storytelling. I found the vulnerability of this work to be especially compelling, as it reflects on our imperfections and the fragility of life”.
Lowry selected Griggs’ work from 1295 entrants and 91 finalists. She also presented the Margaret Olley Commendation Award to Huseyin Sami, the Allan Gamble Award (for built environment) to Lewis Ihnatko, and the Guy Warren Emerging Artist Award to Heath Nock.
All finalists will be featured in the prize’s exhibition. The Director of Mosman Art Gallery John Cheeseman says of the presentation that “artists should be thrilled by their achievement in being selected and audiences will be treated to seeing some of the most exciting artworks being made in Australia today”. The exhibition will be open until Sunday 29 October, and all visitors can cast their vote for the Viewer’s Choice Award which is still up for grabs.
This article was posted 4 October 2023.
Image: 2023 Mosman Art Prize, installation view, with David Griggs’s winning work to centre. Photo: Jacquie Manning. Courtesy: the artists and Mosman Art Gallery, Sydney.