Diena Georgetti and Kenny Pittock awarded 2017 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize


The 2017 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize was today awarded to Melbourne-based artist Diena Georgetti and Melbourne-based emerging artist Kenny Pittock. Celebrating its 21st year, the Prize is among Australia’s best-known art awards, spanning all mediums and offering a total of $36,000 in prize money. Diena Georgetti was awarded the established artist category ($25,000) for The Humanity of Construction Painting (2017) and Kenny Pittock was awarded the emerging artist category ($10,000) for Fifty-two found shopping lists written by people who need milk (2016).

The judges for this year’s Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize – Justin Paton (Head Curator for International Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales), Judith Blackall (NAS Gallery Curator) and Mark Harpley (Visual Arts Coordinator, Redlands School) – announced the award at the opening night of the exhibition of finalist works presented at the National Art School Gallery in Sydney. The judges remarked that this year’s Prize offered a very strong field of artwork in both the established and emerging artist categories, making it a particularly difficult to select an outright winner. 

Justin Paton said: “Diena Georgetti’s painting is a beautiful work, exceptionally well made, which reprises and reimagines a century-long history of abstract painting on new terms. It is major offering, clearly she has invested considerable thought in its making.”

Judith Blackall added: “Georgetti is an artist whose work merits careful consideration, ‘slow viewing’, as her approach is complex and links to rigorous aesthetic, intellectual and historical values.”

Diena Georgetti (b. 1966, Alice Springs) has been a significant figure in Australian contemporary art since the late 1980s. Her work was included last year in the major, two-chapter survey exhibition of contemporary Australian painting, Painting. More Painting, curated by Max Delany, Annika Kristensen and Hannah Mathews at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Georgetti was one of fourteen artists whose work was featured in-depth within the larger exhibition.

“In her acrylic on canvas work The Humanity of Construction Painting (2017) Georgetti has achieved a successful equilibrium through the considered resolution that belies its intrinsic compositional tensions. The work will be a valuable asset to the learning and teaching at Redlands as an object in its own right and in regards to the inherent complexities of abstraction in Georgetti’s material and conceptual practice,” added Mark Harpley Head of Visual Arts at Redlands School.

Emerging artist Kenny Pittock’s winning work is a humorous and strangely poignant investigation into the everyday: 52 shopping lists discarded in the milk section of a supermarket. The artist has faithfully reproduced every detail of each slip of paper.  His use of white earthenware that materially appropriates paper, and his painstaking attention to detail is extraordinary.  The range of languages in the various shopping lists, the often intimate items the shoppers listed, and the occasional personal notes, are touching and, in a way, poetic.   Its down-to-earth materiality and emphasis on the hand and the eye makes an interesting juxtaposition to Diena Georgetti’s refined abstraction.  

Mark Harpley commented on Kenny Pittock’s winning work in the emerging artist category: “The interplay of the delicate earthenware permanently recording the ephemera of daily consumption and wasteful human nature combined with its intrinsic humour will ensure this work will resonate with and excite our students.”

The judges felt this is a good winning duo with the leading prize awarded to Diena Georgetti and the emerging artist prize to Kenny Pittock.  In their work, both artists deliver a rigour in their respective approaches, subject matter, technique and media. 

Celebrating its 21st anniversary, the annual exhibition and acquisitive art award highlights exciting developments in contemporary art and provides a platform for an artist-selected exhibition that features established artists alongside early-career artists. The exhibition’s guest curator, internationally regarded Melbourne-based artist Callum Morton made the selection in line with the Prize’s model, which sees the curator nominate established artists, who in turn each choose one emerging artist to create work for the exhibition.

Participating artists have no limitations on their choice of media or subject matter and can submit a single recent work to contend for one of two prizes. The main award for established artists is the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize, valued at $25,000 and sponsored by Konica Minolta. The Emerging Artist Prize is valued at $10,000 and sponsored by Glenburn Pastoral Company (Brett Whitford).  Most works are available for purchase with the exception of the winning works that are acquired into the permanent art collection of Redlands School, in accordance with the tradition of the Prize.