This Year’s Invited Artists
Angus McDonaldAndrew Nicholls
Ingrid Van Dyk
Tom Carment speech
Kedumba Drawing Award opening
12th September 2015
One afternoon, many years ago I was sitting on the rocky foreshore at Thirroul, just below Wyewurk where D. H. Lawrence and his wife Freda once stayed.
An elderly gentleman came and stood behind me.
Finally he spoke: ‘Drawing are you? … It’s a great sport.’
There’s something very immediate and direct about drawing: the fizzing neurones in your brain send messages along the nerves of your arm, into the hand and out the fingertips. And there it is.
Skill alone is not enough to make a good drawing, but it’s part of it.
Drawing can bear witness to our lives, the inner emotional life and the outer observed life, and often the two are combined.
It can encompass large and small concepts, it can tell a story, but not completely, and hint at a narrative.
It’s also a simple and inexpensive activity. You don’t need much equipment or a massive studio, the kitchen table or your lap will do. Drawing travels easily.
When Van Gogh was at Arles and ran out of oil paint he cut and split some dry reeds to make pens and did a beautiful series of ink landscapes. At a school in Africa in the 1980s I once saw students using the inside of used cement bags to draw on.
I believe that a good drawing should sustain our interest, like a piece of radium maintaining its half-life. It should continue to intrigue, and it should change the way we look at the world.
I’m usually pretty reluctant to judge my peers but the nice thing about the Kedumba Award is that there is no single winner.
It sounds like an art award cliché to say this, but the overall quality of these works is high and they are all worthy of their place on the walls.
I looked at the drawings over two days, initially without knowledge of the names or genders of the artists, or the price of each work. I have listed the acquisitions chosen in no order of preference and, for want of a better system, alphabetically.
Simon Cooper ~ Still life (I remember me)
This drawing, done on an old manila folder, over a palimpsest of handwriting, grew on me slowly. It gives off a sombre resonance. I like the way it depicts a Cornish ware bowl, normally blue, in a warm sepia.
Paul Delprat ~ Suite 1 four harbour life drawings
These are probably the most casual and light-hearted drawings in the exhibition, ‘gay’ in the old sense of the word. They are small cadenzas in ink.
Anna Glynn ~ Awaiting Discovery
I like the concept of this as much as its execution – within the inkblot shape of the kangaroo are line drawings of ships and birds alluding to long sea journeys, and strange new sights, like the scrimshaw work of a becalmed sailor.
Andrew Nicholls ~ Via Australia Antica #1
This is one of the quirkiest drawings in the exhibition, obsessively detailed and finely drawn. It kept catching my attention. The flora is geographically distinctive, and I asked Jeffrey Plummer, if he could tell me if the artist was from Western Australia, and he replied, ‘Yes, born in Perth, but living now in Italy.’
Wendy Tsai ~ The gully, Winter #2
I was immediately attracted to this subtle work, in warm greys, depicting a modest section of landscape. I like the way the artist takes delight in small things, bushes glimpsed through a screen of trees, like something you’d see on a daily walk.
Richard Wastall ~ Shy Albatross fledgling, Albatross Island, Tasmania
This bird, drawn in charcoal on rough-textured paper, kept demanding my gaze. I wouldn’t call it ‘shy’; it looks like it knows how to survive in that harsh environment. I like the contrast of the rocks and the feathers, the way they are given equal attention.
Christine Willcocks ~ Endurance
The delicacy of this small drawing, the combination of its two components, transcends any slavish copying from the well-known historic photographs. The trapped ship, drawn in sharp graphite, hovers above the watercolour drizzle of the iceberg, the same iceberg that would soon destroy it.