Speech by Peter Sharp
Judge of the Kedumba Drawing Award 2010

Good Afternoon Everyone

I would like to start by acknowledging the original indigenous people of the Blue Mountains area. And to say that there are many histories still to be fully told.

I was reminded of the uniqueness of the Kedumba Drawing Award as I was handing in my Dobell Entry three days ago at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. I had just spent a fortune on framing a series of ten works and I felt like I was in a Michael Leunig cartoon, standing in line with the rest of the faithful delivering my fantastic, worthy entry hoping for the one in ten chance that I might get into the Dobell Drawing Prize.

It’s an interesting test of stamina and motivation when entering prizes because of the reassessing and doubt that sneaks in.

Is my work good enough?

The difference here with Kedumba Award (to quote a famous song) is that ‘Everyone’s a winner baby and that’s no lie’.

The show is invitational and all the artists actually get work in the show.

I remember the thrill I got for just being selected!

We should congratulate everyone for being in the show.

I am a fan of drawing
Drawing as a verb, drawing as a noun.
Drawing is a way of thinking!
And I rather like Joseph Beuys’s idea that “drawing is form”

Ive talked with the great Australian artist Kevin Connor about drawing and I adore the fact that he has a safe for his sketch books. Just in case the would ends Kevin knows that the drawings will be OK!!

If you will indulge me Id like to read something here?

John Berger quote

I think what Mr Berger is talking about here is the directness of drawing and how when a drawing is right an artist can’t hide, even if they want too?

Onto the acquisitions
In no particular order

My preference or justification for acquiring work for the collection simply came down to which drawings I would like to take home and live with.

Alan Jones
11. That’s the way it is #12

A commanding work that includes drawing, collage and text. It’s very Hard to use text in a way that is not literal and just read and so it’s quite difficult to incorporate words and letters as a visual element. Plus I think the work has an sense of play!

Adriane Stampp
19. Hare (In memory of Marcus)

An iconic, enigmatic work that reminds me of the enquiry that Durer was capable of. The artist placed the hare in a believable space without rendering a background. Placing all the importance on the animal itself.

David Eastwood
4. Vantage Point

This drawing is as much a psychological space as an illusionistic space. It’s a room where something has happened or is about to happen. There is something familiar about David’s work whether we recognise the modernist furniture or the decorative patterns from our childhood. David’s work is slow in making and should be viewed the same way, slowly!

Suzanne Archer

A work with ‘grunt’ and authority, its not a pretty work (but that’s the point). This work asks the big questions about life, death and our own mortality. The drawing has pathos reminding me of Goya’s late work.

Annette Iggulden
9. From Here to – to Elsewhere

A work that uses text again but in a way that gives weight and conceptual layering to the drawing. There is a weird narrative going on here that we are not quite privy to. I really like the disembodied quality that the figures bring to the work. Spend time to read some of the text. The drawing has a deceptively simple look, but is actually really sophisticated.

Mary Tonkin
20. Cradle for Thing 2 Kalorama
21. Cradle for Thing 1 Kalorama.

Finally to two works I kept coming back to because they had a gentle conviction. These are quiet and still works that show an understanding and intimacy of the bush. They have a light, fractured quality that basically deals with just line and not tone.

Judging this award has given me great joy and I hope that someday the collection is seen in its entirety.

I would like to congratulate not only all the artists who have been acquired, but also all those who are in the exhibition.


Peter Sharp
Judge 2010