Words: Erin Irwin
The pastel on paper work Maria’s Garden, Scheme C has nabbed top spot at the 2023 Dobell Drawing Prize, hosted by the National Art School, Sydney. The work has secured Brisbane-based artist Jane Grealy $30,000 in winnings, and will be acquired for the National Art School Collection.
Maria’s Garden, Scheme C was inspired by the garden of the artist’s neighbour, overlaid with lines evoking its likely future as a construction site. “As a refugee from war-torn Italy, this garden was Maria’s insurance policy for her family”, says the artist, “I know it’s going to disappear eventually with urban development. It represents the conflict with have today – the garden will be lost, built over because we all want a certain kind of houses now”.
“There is no right or wrong”, states Grealy, “for me art is a way to reflect on this”.
The work has further meaning for the artist’s own journey in artmaking. Grealy has a background in architecture, having worked as an architectural illustrator for 30 years, and through this found her way towards an art practice. “While I was always working to other people’s specifications, I did my own arts apprenticeship, and in the end it gave me access to a life I’d always wanted as a practicing artist”.
The work was selected from a pool of 64 finalists by judges Catherine O’Donnell, an artist and NAS alumna, NAS Galleries Manager and Senior Curator Katrina Cashman, and Paula Latos-Valier from the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation.
Of the work, O’Donnell says “Jane’s work is beautifully executed, very skilful but also expanding drawing to a different level with her layering of architectural elements. It was a unanimous choice”.
NAS Director and CEO Steven Alderton has expressed thanks to the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation for their continuing support, as well as all the entrants. “We had a record 1,062 entries this year”, adding that “The Dobell Drawing Prize is such a fitting event for NAS, where all our students develop their drawing practice as a fundamental component of the degree”.
All finalist works are on show at the NAS Gallery Friday 31 March – Saturday 10 June.
For more information, visit the NAS website here.
This article was posted 31 March 2023.
Image: Jane Grealy, Maria’s Garden, Scheme C, 2022. Pastel on paper, 67 x 108cm.