Celebrating 21 Years of the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize

Celebrating 21 Years of the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize thumbnail

The 2017 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize was awarded to renown Australia artist Diena Georgetti for her work The Humanity of Construction Painting (2017) at the official opening of the exhibition on Tuesday 28 March. Kenny Pittock was awarded the Emerging Artist prize for his work Fifty-two found shopping lists written by people who need milk (2016).

Celebrating its 21st year, the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize is among Australia’s best-known art awards, spanning all mediums and offering a total of $36,000 in prize money.

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 winners 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 beautifully made object, a pleasure to look at and to think about, which reflects thoughtfully and with care and passion on a century-long history of abstract painting. It is a major offering by this subtle painter, and a work that repays long looking.”

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 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize 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.