I frocked up to attend the opening of the Geelong acquisitive print awards last night. It was great to see Geelong Gallery crowded to capacity, and the celebratory atmosphere gave the event a great vibe. It’s a night when you really get a sense of the strong support for the arts in Geelong (take note Richard Marles, Greg Lacey and Peter Read). Without further ado, here is the media release from Geelong Gallery announcing the winners. As the judging panel commented, the winning works do indeed address “unpalatable truths”…
The Geelong Gallery is delighted to announce that Lisa Roet is the 2013 recipient of the Geelong acquisitive print award and emerging artist Travis Paterson is the recipient of the inaugural Ursula Hoff Institute award.
A gothic tale of murder, and a true story addressing issues of sexuality and isolation are the primary influences behind the prize-winning works in the 2013 Geelong acquisitive print awards.
Lisa Roet’s hard-ground etching triptych The Beast of Cuvier I, II & III, was inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe’s short story ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’, written in 1841.
As Roet explains, the story involves “a double murder where the bruises, hairs found on the scene, and the brute force of the murders could not be delivered by a mere human.”
Poe’s story was written during the time of intense debates relating to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and, as Roet suggests a “fear of humans’ primal and animalistic ancestry was prevalent amongst society. Through etchings I tried to portray the ‘other’ as seen through this story [with] hairs, scratches, marks and bruises.”
The Beast of Cuvier I, II & III (detail) 2011
hard-ground etching; edition 10/15
Collection: Geelong Gallery
Geelong acquisitive print awards (winner), 2013
Reproduced courtesy of the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne
Seeking to address issues of sexuality and isolation, Travis Paterson’s multiplate aquatint etching Is this where your heart is? is inspired by the trial of two young boys in 1727, found guilty of sodomy whilst working on the Dutch merchant vessel Zeewijk moored off the coast of what is now known as Geraldton, Western Australia. Their punishment was to be exiled to separate islands and left to die.
This work, as Paterson explains, “alludes to one of the more unknowable aspects of the Zeewijk boys’ story. Were they even queer in the way we understand the term today or were they simply seeking some form of comfort?”
Is this where your heart is? 2012
multiplate aquatint etching; edition 2/5
Collection: Geelong Gallery
Geelong acquisitive print awards—Ursula Hoff Institute award (winner), 2013
Reproduced courtesy of the artist
The announcements of the prize-winning works were made by guest judge, Susi Muddiman (Director of the Tweed River Art Gallery) at the opening of the exhibition. Ms Muddiman was joined in judging this year’s awards by Geelong Gallery’s Director, Geoffrey Edwards, and Curator, Lisa Sullivan.
According to the judging panel “it was a phenomenally strong field in contention for this year’s prizes and a very difficult task to decide on the winners”.
This year’s prize pool consists of the major title, the Geelong acquisitive print award of $3,000 presented to Lisa Roet for her work The Beast of Cuvier I, II & III and the inaugural acquisitive Ursula Hoff Institute award of $1,500 presented to Travis Paterson for Is this where your heart is?.
The panel said:
“We were extremely impressed with the numerous and varied examples of techniques and processes, and the number of works that have a strong narrative focus: whether dealing with historical events or contemporary themes, or citing political or ecological issues. Murder and injustice feature prominently, indeed the winning works (quite coincidentally) both address some unpalatable truths—of crime and inequality—while also each referencing history (both real and fictional).”
“The suggestively sinister form of the ape’s claw in Lisa Roet’s etched triptych extends across the three panels like a story unfolding: the three part format adopted by the artist cleverly hinting at her source of inspiration.”
“Using the seemingly innocent imagery of children’s story books, Travis Paterson interprets the tale of two young boys who were found guilty of an indecent crime in the early 18th century in his winning work. In the spirit of Dr Ursula Hoff’s extensive support of Australian printmaking, we’re delighted to present this inaugural award for the work of this emerging artist.”
About Lisa Roet
Lisa Roet is a Melbourne-based artist who has exhibited extensively both in Australia and internationally. She is interested in the exploring the relationship between humans and primates through her bronze sculptures, charcoal drawings, film, photography and printmaking. Roet has spent considerable time travelling to remote areas in Borneo for field observations of apes in forests in addition to involving herself in a range of residencies with research centres and major international zoos. Her work is represented in significant public and private collections in Australia and overseas. She completed her award-winning triptych as the Australian Print Workshop Collie Print Trust Printmaking Fellow in 2011. Lisa Roet is represented by Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne.
About Travis Paterson
Based in regional New South Wales, Travis Paterson specialises in printmaking. He completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (first class Honours) from Southern Cross University and has exhibited in a number of highly regarded print-based exhibitions including the Port Jackson Press graduate printmaking award in 2009 for which he was highly commended and he received the People’s choice award in the 2012 Fremantle Arts Centre print award. His work is represented in the collections of Charles Sturt University Art Collection, Geelong Gallery, Print Council of Australia and Tweed River Art Gallery.