The winner of the 2019 Tom Malone Prize for Australian glass artists is Mark Eliott for his work Down at the water table.
As an acquisitive prize, Down at the water table becomes part of the State Art Collection where it will join works by previous winners: Clare Belfrage, Gabriella Bisetto, Charles Butcher, Cobi Cockburn, Brian Corr, Mel Douglas, Deirdre Feeney, Kevin Gordon, Marc Leib, Jessica Loughlin, Tom Moore, Nick Mount and Benjamin Sewell.
Down at the water table was selected as the winning piece from a competitive shortlist of twelve works by Australian artists including Mark Eliott (NSW), Clare Belfrage (SA), Jeremy Lepisto (ACT), Marc Leib (WA), Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello (ACT), Nick Mount (SA), Matthew Curtis (ACT), Liam Fleming (SA), Kayo Yokoyama (NSW), Anne Sorensen (WA), Stephen Skillitzi (SA) and Lewis Batchelar (SA).
This year's judging panel of Aimee Frodsham (Creative Director at the Canberra Glassworks), Elizabeth Malone (Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation Benefactor), Dr Stefano Carboni (Director, Art Gallery of Western Australia and Robert Cook (AGWA Curator of 20th Century Arts) said of the work:
“As we moved around the highly competitive field of this year’s truly outstanding works, we found ourselves coming back to our eventual winner: Mark Eliott’s wonderful Down at the water table. What an unusual piece! Cartoony but not humorous, whimsical but not impulsive, it’s entirely in keeping with the offbeat, ever-inventive work Mark has been making over the last 20 years. It’s the first time an artist using predominantly flame-work has won the Prize, and it’s a brilliant example of the possibilities inherent in this technique. Fluid and downright untamed, Down at the water table feels simultaneously carefully planned and totally seat-of-the-pants improvised. Either way, it’s a delicate high-wire act of technical skill, yet also a very intimate work. There’s a lot to observe at close detail and a stack of surprises to be encountered (like the figures in the upside down human/canine realm) and really beautiful chromatic nuances. It’s brilliantly fresh in all ways, and we couldn’t be happier with Mark’s piece as a winner for 2019.”