Kadumba Drawing Award 2015 – A Review by Rose Niland

Ben Quilty

Ben Quilty, Red XB, aerosol and charcoal on paper, Acquired for the Kedumba Collection by the Trustees from the 2006 Award

The Kedumba Drawing Award 2015 exhibition is currently on display at the Orange Regional Gallery until 15th November, 2015.

Twenty one artists across the nation were recently invited to participate in this prestigious acquisitive Award.

The Kedumba Collection has sourced almost two hundred drawings and many have been selected from the annual Kedumba Drawing Award since its inception in 1990.

The Collection celebrates drawing as the foundation of all visual art and has fostered an appreciation of drawing in Australia over the past two decades.

The Kedumba Collection has become the most representative collection of drawings of this period in this country” according to Australian artist John Olsen (b.1928-).

This is a remarkable exhibition showcasing a diverse range of talent, subject matter and style.

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Paul Delprat – Suite 1, Four Harbour Life Drawings, courtesy The Kedumba Drawing Award 2015

The very impressive standard of the artworks offers the public the opportunity of viewing drawings by leading Australian artists.

They include: Chris Casali, Tanya Chaitow, Simon Cooper, Paul Delprat, Mary Donnelly, Jane Giblin, Anna Glynn, Bela Ivanyi, Adam Knott, Wendy Loefler, Angus McDonald, Andrew Nicholls, Bernard Ollis, Chris Orchard, Andy Quilty, Joseph Rolella, Kurt Schranzer, Wendy Tsai, Ingrid Van Dyk, Richard Wastell and Christine Willcocks.

In Joseph Rolella’s Reveal 2 the ripples of water, the angles of flight and the shadows of light created movement and a flooded terrain.

The fluid ink lines and the compelling markings of charcoal depicted the minimalist landscape inspired by the artist’s visual clarity.

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Joseph Rolella, Reveal 2, ink and charcoal, courtesy Kedumba Drawing Award 2015

The horizontal plane was explored with deft effective black zig-zag lines.

The water beneath the surface was suggested by the stretches of white and the forces of nature were subtly drawn in this discerningly beautiful composition.

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Joseph Rolella, Reveal 1, ink and charcoal, courtesy Kedumba Drawing Award 2015

In Reveal 1 flood waters swirl and surge below almost swallowing farm fences and tree stumps. The expansive landscape eloquently spoke of a lurking catastrophe.

The path of water and its murky residual was ardently crafted. Again movement resonated in the artist’s skilfull strokes and motifs. There was a sense of ambiguous calm, a sacred stillness and endless silence.

These two evocative drawings resounded with the beauty of nature and the unique patterns it creates.

Joseph Rolella understands light and shadow and how they reveal and define form.

He has recorded his response to the natural world where lyrical and poetic qualities dribbled across the surfaces reminiscent of the notes of a musical score.

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Wendy Tsai, The Gully, Winter #1, pencil and watercolour, courtesy Kedumba Drawing Award 2015

In Wendy Tsai’s The gully, Winter #1 slender lines of trunks intertwine and structure a beguiling view of the bush and the play of light on its configuration.

The artist has created a structured movement with the lines of the undergrowth contrasted by the light that peeks through the few vacant spaces.

The woven, rhythmic arching trunks dance a slow waltz and this haunting quality is delicately drawn.

The soft lightness of the ground with fragile smudged colorations illuminated the drawing.

Wendy Tsai’s skilfull application of shades of grey was compelling viewing and aesthetically edifying.

In The Gully, Winter #2 she explored a pastoral scene that was tempered by the fall of weeping leaves on the background tree.

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Wendy Tsai, The Gully, Winter II, pencil and watercolour, courtesy Kedumba Drawing Award 2015

The foreground throbs with the curves of tree branches that have been touched by the caresses of the breeze.

Her technical and observational acumen was apparent in the tenderly executed drawing of the under layer of swaying grasses that softened the composition.

Tom Carment, whose own work Pastorale was acquired by the Trustees from the 1998 Kedumba Drawing Award was the 2015 Judge.

The eminent Australian artist chose this drawing for the Collection saying;

“I was immediately attracted to this subtle work, in warm greys, depicting a modest section of landscape” he said.

“I like the way the artist takes delight in small things, bushes glimpsed through a screen of trees, like something you would see on a daily walk”, Tom Carment commented.

Both of these scenic works celebrated the natural world, the artist’s penetrating awareness of form, proportion and shade and the masterful strokes of line that emphasized each branch.

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Chris Casali, Bandjalang dreaming, graphite pencil, pigment and watercolour courtesy Kedumba Drawing Award 2015

Chris Casali’s, Bandjalang dreaming was a grand majestic scene with towering boulders, windswept shores and a hovering haze.

Depth had been crafted by the sweeping, circular, soft shades of the expansive flat surface that edged the steep dark rocky outcrops.

The contours of the landscape permeated with strength, resilience and challenge.

The translucent effects of the haze and swirling sand were cloud like in implementation.

There was a powerful framing line that delineated the image and functioned to create an ethereal dream like quality about the work.

The diagonal line severed the connection with reality.

However wisps of smoky lines hinted at the shifting tenuous link.

The composition is a potent study of struggle and buoyancy.

The drawing is tinged with the spirituality of constantly seeking inner tranquillity and holding on to a sacred cultural heritage. Bandjalang dreaming is an explosive passionate work imbued with an enigmatic quality that engaged the viewer.

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Jane Giblin, One Lilu look, ink and pigment, courtesy Kedumba Drawing Award 2015

In Jane Giblin’s One Lilu look, the mesmerising gaze of the dog, the lines and painterly quality of the ink and pigment drawing created a compelling narrative.

The eyes of the dog communicated an intensity that signalled control and the background figures of the cows faded into shadows also suggesting the authority the dog usurped over them.

This was an expressive composition that sang with the joy of the land and the extraordinary talents of the mustering dog.

Jane Giblin’s affinity with the rural landscape and the animals within was evident in the time she has taken to observe analyse and reproduce her own very fine interpretation.

The concept of what drawing means was richly explored and imaginatively demonstrated in this remarkable exhibition.

The profoundly diverse artworks and intensely creative talents of the artists in The Kedumba Drawing Award 2015 was a very fine reflection of the vibrant drawing scene in Australia today.

Rose Niland, Special Features NSW, The Culture Concept Circle, 2015

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