Grace Cossington Smith Biennial Art Award winners announced

Three artists share in prize pool of $20,000, with finalist exhibition on now.

Words: Charlotte Middleton

The Grace Cossington Smith Gallery has announced the three winners of its biennial art award for 2021, with its finalist exhibition now open to the public.

The not-for-profit gallery, run by Abbotsleigh School, invited submissions from Australian artists aged 18 and over for original work in any two-dimensional media in response to the theme Making Connections.

Judged by Katrina Cashman, Gallery Manager & Senior Curator at the National Art School; and Oliver Watts, artist and Senior Curator of Artbank, Sydney, the top acquisitive $15,000 prize went to Nadia Hernández (represented by STATION Gallery, Sydney & Melbourne). The Venezuelan-born and Sydney-based multidisciplinary artist was selected as winner for a multimedia textile composition.

Dulce de lechoza verde (procedimiento)/Green papaya sweet (procedure), is a beautiful textile work that harks back to Hernández’s heritage, considering ideas of diaspora and food connecting culture and family,” commented Cashman and Watts. “It is full of life, tenderness and is a very loving work that represents the connections we all need now.”

The early career artist $2,500 non acquisitive prize went to Alice Wormald (represented by Gallery 9, Sydney; and Daine Singer, Melbourne) for a painting titled Turning in Circles. The judges noted that the work, “revels in artifice, with Wormald playing with and remaking of found images.”

David Collins meanwhile took out the $2,500 non acquisitive local artist prize for his evocative landscape painting Hot Burn, poetically capturing a strong sense of connection to place.

The three winning artists will also share a three-week group exhibition at the Grace Cossington Smith Gallery in 2023.

In all, more than 425 entries were received from around the country, with works by 45 leading and emerging Australian artists selected as finalists.

The guest judges commented that they were impressed by the calibre of talent that the national award attracts from artists at varied stages in their career, especially considering the ongoing difficulty of producing art under recent circumstances.

The other finalists were: Louise Allerton (NSW), Kim Anderson (VIC), Susan Andrews (NSW), Suzanne Archer (NSW), Dhinawan Baker (NSW), Ed Bartok (NSW), Deborah Beck (NSW), Max Berry (NSW), Lee Bethel (NSW), Amber Boardman (NSW), Kevin Chin (VIC), Yvette Coppersmith (VIC), Jedda-Daisy Culley (NSW), Adrienne Doig (NSW), Chris Dolman (NSW), Nikki Easterbrook (NSW), Sarah Edmondson (NSW), David Fairbairn (NSW), Emily Galicek (NSW), Sophie Lee Georgas (NSW), Liron Gilmore (NSW), Eliza Gosse (NSW), Nicole Kelly (NSW), Martin King (VIC), Belem Lett (NSW), Steve Lopes (NSW), Tom Loveday (NSW), Paula Mahoney (VIC), Lisa McKimmie (NSW), Bridgette Mcnab(VIC), Anh Nguyen (NSW), Amanda Penrose Hart (NSW), Katya Petetskaya (NSW), Julien Playoust(NSW), Rhonda Pryor (NSW), Cate Riley (NSW), Peter Sharp (NSW), Wendy Sharpe (NSW), Sally Stokes(NSW), Elefteria Vlavianos (NSW), Barbara Weir (NT), Agus Wijaya (NSW).

The finalist exhibition runs until Saturday 26 February 2022 at Grace Cossington Smith Gallery, Wahroonga. Visitors to the gallery are asked to abide by current social distancing and mask recommendations.

This article was posted 16 February 2022.

Main image: Installation view of Grace Cossington Smith Biennial Art Award 2021 exhibition, 2022. Photography: Richard Glover.

Nadia Hernández, Dulce de lechoza verde (procedimiento)/Green papaya sweet (procedure), 2021. Cotton, linen, and corduroy on linen textile, 145 x 100cm. Courtesy: the artist and STATION Gallery, Sydney & Melbourne.

Alice Wormald, Turning in Circles, 2020. Oil on linen, 140 x 110cm. Courtesy: the artist and Gallery 9, Sydney.

David Collins, Hot Burn, 2021. Oil on canvas, 122 x 200cm (diptych). Courtesy: the artist and Defiance Gallery, Paddington.


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