Robert Ewing has won the Hazelhurst National Art On Paper Award in 2019, taking home $15,000 for his imaginative landscape Chaos and Consequence. Announced by Hazelhurst Arts Centre as the grand prize-winner on Friday 20 September, the work explores questions of association to a changing natural world.
Ewing cites the local bushland of Pinjarra and the Darling Range in Western Australia where he lives as inspiration. His oeuvre marries elements of both the familiar and otherworldly to intrigue and unsettle viewers. In Chaos and Consequence, tropical colour blooms in unexpected forms amidst earthy bush tones, and birds in flight resemble weapons of war wreaking destruction through a foreboding sky.
“The artwork presents a real and imagined landscape in the context of a theatrical stage setting,” says Ewing. “Populated with organic and anthropomorphic shapes, combining and colliding with changing elements, the artwork seeks to engage the viewer in an intimate dialogue of association to a changing landscape”.
With the announcement of the prize coinciding with worldwide climate strikes, this theme takes on particular pertinence.
The biennial Hazelhurstprize is unique in its aim to promote the status of works on paper. With a total prize money of $26,000, the award recognises excellence and innovation in the field and gives artists working with this medium a significant national platform.
Entries from more than 800 artists across Australia were received this year, comprising a diverse range of paper works and techniques. The award highlights the versatility of the medium, with the possibility for paper to be cut, torn, folded, layered, scratched, scrunched, burned, animated, woven, found and re-purposed.
Artists Idris Murphy, Joan Ross, and Oliver Watts, artist and Head Curator of Artbank, Sydney, were tasked with judging the award, whittling entries down to 86 finalists before selecting the final winners.
Amongst the minor award winners, Belem Lett received The Young & Early Career Artist Award of $5,000 for Mountains of Madness.The Friends of Hazelhurst Local Artist Prize, also for $5,000, was awarded jointly to Kerry Toomey for Mundhuii, and Paul Williams for Painting ongoing.
Kate Vassallo will receive a four-week residency at Hazelhurst for her work Chance Forms, nominated as the installation crew’s favourite.
Visitors are also encouraged to vote for The People’s Choice Award of $1,000, to be announced on 8 November 2019.