Gareth Sansom Claims Final Dobell Drawing Prize

Gareth Sansom Claims Final Dobell Drawing Prize
Gareth Sansom with his winning work

The Art Gallery of New South Wales today announced that Melbourne-based, 73-year-old artist Gareth Sansom is the winner of the 2012 Dobell Prize for Drawing.

The shock annoucement was also made that this year will be the final year that the Dobell Prize for Drawing will be presented in its current form.  In its place will be the Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial, to be launched in 2014

Sansom was awarded the $30,000 prize for his work Made in Wadeye, a suite of 20 drawings in ink and pencil made during the artist’s visit to a remote Aboriginal settlement south-west of Darwin during September 2012.

Although Made in Wadeye references the Wadeye community, where his wife was engaged in clinical work as a doctor, it was not the subject of the work. “I make stream-of-consciousness drawings with sources going back years,” Sansom explains

Commenting on the winning entry, Aida Tomescu, the judge for this year’s Dobell Prize, said: “Made in Wadeye hovers on the outskirts of figuration and on the borderline of abstraction. I am attracted to the freshness of the work, its clarity and its light playfulness, and the unpredictability of the succession of images, and delicacy of the rapport between them”

Sansom has been a pre-eminent figure of the Australian avant-garde for over 50 years. His watercolours, collages and paintings are based on a personal iconography that includes imagery of a sexual, satirical and philosophical nature.