Congratulations to all students who were recognised as finalists for the Tim Olsen Drawing Prize, 20th Anniversary Exhibition.
Tim Olsen has been encouraging and supporting young and emerging artists to build careers as professional practicing artists since 2001. 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the Tim Olsen Drawing Prize at UNSW Art & Design encouraging excellence in drawing. This collaboration has been continuously supported by the Olsen Gallery and celebrates students who use drawing as a significant part of their artistic practice.
Candidates were nominated by academic staff and then selected for inclusion in the exhibition and consideration for the $5,000 Prize.
The judging panel included Alexie Glass-Kantor (Executive Director, Artspace Sydney, and UNSW Art & Design alumna) and Dr Rochelle Haley (UNSW Art & Design Lecturer and former Tim Olsen Drawing Prize winner).
This year’s exhibition took place online. Finalist’s work was displayed on our Facebook and Instagram channels including the announcement of the 2020 recipient at 3pm on Tuesday 6 October 2020.
Online exhibition: Monday 28 September – Tuesday 6 October 2020
Prize announcement: 3PM (AEST), Tuesday 6 October 2020
The 2020 finalists:
Joshua Alipio, Alyssa Alzamora, Liana Berzins, Sarah Catania, Monika Cvitanovic Zaper, Fatima Farrukh, Victoria Ferguson, Aileen Heal, Eric M. Hoenig, Sophie Lane, Stella Laurence, Elizabeth Lewis, Kehan Li, Lisa Myeong-Joo, Marleena Oudomvilay, Tiffany Pham, Hannah Saunders, Anna Seymour, Karan Singh Shekhawat, Ruvé Staneke, William Taylor, Emma Vey-Cox, Maiya Wilson.
This work consists of drawings on nine panels, which pop out into puzzle pieces used to build a model house, as well as a 14-second looping stop motion video demonstrating the construction of the model house. 'i built my house' employs an additive drawing process using charcoal, conté, graphite, marker, soft pastels, and print image transfers to depict ideas, the physical qualities, and specific memories associated with my home.
The additive drawing process took place over four weeks, where the steps and drawing methods applied symbolised a particular aspect related to the home. Some of these ideas and methods included floor plan drawings, collages through print image transfers, written descriptions and anecdotes, foot traffic outlines, portrait drawings, and more. The drawing process were repeated on both sides of the nine screen board panels, which were then hand cut to create templates and puzzle pieces used for building the model house.
The concept for this work was inspired by my relationship with my family and home, brought about a moment of reflection whilst quarantining and working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, I wanted to explore living in the same home for over half of my life, as well as the experiences and memories of coexisting with family during a period of physical and mental growth (aka adolescence). I aimed to depict my home for what it is physically, what it looks like visually, and what it represented emotionally. This is shown through the various techniques employed in the drawings, sculpture and video; ranging from floor plan drawings, to room sketches, to the “house noises” present in the video. Furthermore, the model house concept was inspired by the idea of ‘play’ and the association of toys with childhood and growth and the resulting nostalgia and memories.
Joshua Alipio, ‘i built my house’ 2020. Charcoal, conté, graphite, marker, soft pastels, print transfers on screen boards, animation. 89.1x63.0cm (flat), 27.7x15.8x19.2cm (sculpture), 14-second video. Image courtesy: the artist.
'Mirror Mirror' is a one-take performative drawing piece which seeks to comment on the messages produced by the beauty and makeup industries and the varying impacts that this can have on oneself. This work was created using a variety of cosmetic items, including foundation, concealer, mascara and many others, which are used to draw directly onto the bathroom mirror. Overlaid onto this work is an audio transcript of the key words used to market each cosmetic product being used. Thus, this work seeks to explore the conflicting dichotomy of makeup and the beauty industry. On one hand, while makeup can be used as a positive form of self-expression and empowerment, the messages the beauty industry relays through their products and marketing can also be very damaging to oneself and that makeup overall can sometimes hinder the way in which one sees themselves.
Alyssa Alzamora, ‘Mirror Mirror’ 2020. Video stills. 2-minute 53-second video. Image courtesy: the artist.
'Luminous Beings' is a dialogue between my child and adult self; a reflection upon the process of ageing and maturing, and how this change has manifested in me. Each of the five drawings – drawn using a combination of Copic marker and coloured pencil – seeks to articulate which aspects of the self I have retained through this process.
Liana Berzins, ‘Luminous Beings’ 2020. Copic marker and coloured pencil on paper. 40.5cm x 59.4cm drawings. Image courtesy: the artist.
Names of the works from left to right: Nadir; Ragnar; Eilwen; Asril; Arla.
'I’d rather not say', explores the habit of keeping an emotional distance from others. The work revolves around the desire for others to only know surface level information about me, while keeping anything tactile or serious hidden. Each piece of plastic in the work has a symbol sewn onto it with thread that fades from red to black. Both the thread and the symbols have a connection to me in some way. Only I know the full extent of the connection between myself, the thread and the symbols and by only sewing the outlines, the inside and details of the symbols are hidden to those who view it.
Sarah Catania, ‘I’d rather not say’ 2020. Thread and plastic. Image courtesy: the artist.
'Lineage' is a large-scale work that uses both needlework and painting to address my creative connection to the crafts practiced by my female ancestors.
Monika Cvitanovic Zaper, ‘Lineage’ 2020. Thread and acrylic on a recycled polyester fabric. 127cm x 108cm. Image courtesy: the artist.
Fatima Farrukh, ‘Sahi se yaad nahi hain’ 2020. Drawing and digital drawing. Image courtesy: the artist.
Inspired by the artworks of Jenny Saville, 'Forget-Me-Not' consists of two A1 drawings that experiment with erasure and the transparency of charcoal and soft pastels to reproduce two photographs of family members taken on May 6, 2012 during our travels into the city. While depicting a seemingly ordinary event, the images have taken on a deeper meaning as these two members of my family have since passed away. Having revisited the photographs years later, I have applied Saville’s gestural marks and her process of spatial construction to portray memory as something that is ever changing, flexible and obscure. Both of the images have been obscured by faint impressions of limbs and heads which, when layered, capture a sense of rapid movement, similar to the apparent streaking of moving objects that can be seen in a photograph. Through the technique of erasure, together with the continuous layering of bodies, my family members “visually collapse as they become buried, and the new bodies emerge as the dominant forms”, ultimately allowing the viewer to “tune in and out of different realities or passages of time. Like looking at a memory” (Saville, 2016).
Victoria Ferguson, ‘Forget-Me-Not’ 2020. Willow charcoal, soft pastels and graphite on paper. Pair of 841 x 594 mm drawings. Image courtesy: the artist.
'Digital Mosaic' is a large-scale drawing with coloured pencils on white paper. This drawing was created by initially digitally compositing dozens of photos of myself, that were published in a secret online account in 2017. The process involved pixelating the image and transferring it into a grid of 1cm squares by hand. The artwork is 150cm across, consisting of rows of 150 individual coloured blocks.
This artwork explores the concept of our identity and that which we hide from the public in our digital presence. This manifestation is a process of censoring one’s own face in online channels, despite it being so freely available amongst the public in physical reality, which is common yet contradictory.
The analogue nature of this work, involving the repetitive technique of individually colouring squares, emphasises the arduous yet futile efforts we make to curate our online identity, yet having our flaws openly exposed in reality. This work highlights the cognitive dissonance we experience when we manipulate our image online and how it is incongruent with our reality.
This work highlights the distortion caused by censoring our digital presence, making that which is plain in reality now unrecognisable. Our online selves are so distorted, censored, edited, refined, and curated that the truth becomes indiscernible. Our digital identity is constructed, a mosaic of pixels perfectly curated where all flaws are concealed.
Aileen Heal, ‘Digital Mosaic 2020. Pencil on paper. 150cm x 120cm. Image courtesy: the artist.
'A Language of Shadows' consists of three monumental concrete tablets presented as a single structure. The surface of each tablet has been broken to reveal an ideogrammatic motif fashioned from steel and alluding to some semantic meaning yet defying comprehension.
Drawing on processes of automatism, each motif is created subconsciously, replicated in the bending, cutting and arrangement of lengths of industrial steel. These intuitive steel drawings are then buried in layers of concrete and, once cured, a hammer and chisel are used to break the surface of the concrete to reveal the lines of the motif once more.
This labour-intensive process mirrors mark-and-erasure in traditional drawing practice, while drawing an analogy to the way in which meaning is uncovered through veils of consciousness, at times a traumatic and arduous endeavour.
This work marks the convergence of two streams of ongoing research: one into the use of drawing in the European occult tradition as a method of evocation, whereby the creation of mystical symbols are destroyed to manifest desire of the practitioner; and the other a material exploration that challenges the notion of drawing as a purely creative act, highlighting the qualities of marks made with destructive force.
Eric M.Hoenig, ‘A Language of Shadows’ 2020. Concrete, steel. 70cm x 75cm. Image courtesy: the artist.
'Inheritance' uses handmade paper made by the destruction of dozens of letters written to loved ones, then transformed into paper pulp to create new sheets of paper. These paper sheets were formed using an embroidery hoop, referencing the embroidery practice my mother and grandmother taught me, making up a significant part of my childhood and my relationships with these women. The work also features dried and pressed flowers from my mother and grandmother’s gardens. Honouring this matrilineal knowledge pathway of textile and gardening practice also works to highlight and elevate the care practice which has also transferred through this pathway.
Sophie Lane, ‘Inheritance’ 2020. Paper, thread, flowers, matchsticks. 15cm diameter, each. Image courtesy: the artist.
My imperfect, process-driven drawings stray from traditionally ‘worthy’ art subjects, such as fruit bowls, pleasant pastoral scenes or grand architecture, to the everyday, namely, postcards of my frumpy rescue cat, Rosie. My compositions drift: Rosie’s body might be cut off at just the wrong place, such as halfway across her eye, or she might be nearly off the page or barely recognizable. Similarly, patchy colouring often wanders beyond the lines, while pen marks are scribbled and scrawled, with bits missing, no real blending and only disjointed attempts at accurate representation. Sometimes, Rosie is left alone on the page with nothing to place her at all, while elsewhere, my perspective roams, and lines which might anchor my cat into a context or ‘place’ really only serve to disorient and displace her further. Likewise, the work is optimally viewed through 3D anaglyph (red/cyan) glasses, where disorienting 3D vibrations force viewers’ eyes to physically drift to unexpected places.
Where are my cat and I straying from... and to? Rosie is a stray, the ultimate Other, a (formerly!) homeless outsider. Meanwhile, I am a nomad, a human stray, forging my New Zealand Australian Romany Gypsy hybrid identity. Reflecting our close, yet utterly alien, relationship as human and animal strays, fragments of found vintage Gypsy, Australian and New Zealand music sheet photo releases scatter through the work. Accordingly, tension-filled cat drawings interact with broken, hilariously outdated, yet somehow beautiful songs.
This is an ongoing project of 88 drawings, 64 shown.
Stella Laurence, ‘Songs for Two Strays (The Gypsy Nomad Identity Crisis Series) ' 2020. Ink pen, Sharpies and found vintage music sheet photo releases on cotton rag and canvas paper. 10.5cm x 14.8cm, each. Image courtesy: the artist.
Elizabeth Lewis, ‘King Cactus in Terracotta' 2020. Watercolour, gouache, pen, oil pastel, photograph, porcelain, digital collage. Image courtesy: the artist.
Kehan Li, ‘3KG of Being’, 2020. Chinese ink, cloth rope, photographed by Nikon D7500. Image courtesy: the artist.
Lisa Myeong-Joo, ‘Drawing for 2 colours’ 2019. stills from performance, 3m 53s. Image courtesy: the artist.
Marleena Oudomvilay, ‘The Little Mermaid Colouring Book’, 2020. Digital. Image courtesy: the artist.
'Untitled' is a life size plush sculpture of a headless person, covered in frowny faces. The sculpture base was made using cotton fabric and stuffed with toy filling. The frowny faces were tattooed on using a rotary machine and black ink. The artwork is about my feelings towards my tattooing and art. I’m not as far along as I expected myself to be artistically and it’s been difficult to come to terms with that. A frowny face very simply captures the negative thoughts I have about my art.
Tiffany Pham, ‘Untiled’ 2020. Cotton fabric, filling, tattoo ink. 160cm standing. Image courtesy: the artist.
The series seeks to translate the non-material feeling of home into material and conceptual outcomes by bringing normally behind-the-scenes materials, thread and floor plans, to the foreground. Additionally, thread connects the disciplines of architecture, drawing and textiles, while also allowing an exploration of body, time and space.
Hannah Saunders, ‘Rental History’ 2020. Thread and paper. 560 x 760mm. Image courtesy: the artist.
Anna Seymour, ‘Epoch’ 2020. Felt-tip pen. 42x237.6 cm. Image courtesy: the artist.
Karan Singh Shekhawat, ‘mind lost its brain’ 2020. Primer, inks, coloured pencils on paper. 85 x 60cm. Image courtesy: the artist.
The triptych '2020: “You’re On Mute”' embodies three drawings on paper, each piece measuring 59.4 x 84.1 centimetres. Exhibiting the use of graphite pencil, fine liner ink pen, and oil paint, this suite pays homage to the three major global events experienced throughout this year thus far.
Beginning with individual photoshoots of the depicted subjects, three photographs were then selected to edit. Afterwards, the blank paper was gridded and outlines of the forms were sketched. Following, the realistic subjects were rendered using the technique of scumbling, as well as the (albeit more painterly) techniques of sfumato and chiaroscuro. Successively, with oil paint specific pieces of clothing were coloured, and the implementation of scribbling in pen hashtags unique to each scene completed the background. Each piece took roughly eighteen hours to complete. The figures were rendered realistically so that the grime component would stand as more distinct (making the work appear collage-like), noting that current life seems more disjointed than something of a linear experience, with each of us being overwhelmed by fragments of feelings, emotions, thoughts, and realities.
'2020: “You’re On Mute”' as a phrase is a play on words; not only referencing the individual pieces as well as the political silencing of the underlying topics, the phrase is also undoubtedly one of the most coined terms I have heard expressed this year through online platforms. Conclusively, this triptych allegorically exhibits three prevalent events experienced this year—all of which require our attention. These are: Climate Change, the Black Lives Matter movement, and COVID-19. '2020: “You’re On Mute”' solidifies what has occurred this year in the hope that we can, in retrospection, identify how we as the human race have transformed for the better as a result of the current hardship endured by all people.
Ruvé Staneke, ‘2020: “You’re On Mute”’ 2020. Graphite pencil, fine liner ink pen, oil paint on paper. 59.4 x 84.1. Image courtesy: the artist.
This artwork is a series of four videos which feature an interaction between and audio-reactive 3d visual and ambient audio tracks. The visuals were created using a program called Max 8 and audio was created using a website called PIXELSYNTH.
The creation of these artworks took place over the span of a month or so, as the result of much experimentation and learning within Max. The patch I used to make the artwork primarily uses the Jitter package within Max to create a 3d gridshape which expands and contracts in response to the volume of an audio input, either from a file or a microphone. The Audio files were created by inserting a picture into the PIXELSYNTH site which converts images into MIDI synth sounds, altered by various controls embedded into the site such as harmonic limitations and image positioning. The images selected for this were chosen to be representative (either literally or metaphorically) of different relationships in my life which I feel have inspired me.
That is, in essence, what this series of works is centred around; the celebration of relationships which I have fed on to create up until this point. These relationships also share a common thread of influencing my personal taste in music as well as art, hence this artwork's marriage of audio and visuals.
Emma Vey-Cox, ‘In My Room’ 2020. Graphite on paper. 150x120cm. Image courtesy: the artist.
The triptych ‘Mental’ is a self portrait that explores my personal struggle with mental health at a younger age. Using drawing techniques paint was applied to the body in front of a mirror over a nine-hour process. The conscious decision to use my naked body as a canvas allows this work to become incredibly intimate between subject and subject matter. By using this medium as a therapeutic tool I am able to unlock personal trauma deep within, physically bringing it to the surface in order to grow and learn about myself.
The biggest threat to happiness is yourself, when the inner demons finally escape through the cracks in your being and manage to destroy everything that is good. Feeling trapped within this mental prison with no end in sight, you pin a smile upon your face to avoid suspicion from others. This work is raw and honest, exposing my personal journey through depression so that others hiding behind their skin can feel less alone in this very real battle.
Maiya Wilson, ‘Mental’ 2020. Paint on body over 9 hours. Image courtesy: the artist.