Mel Douglas for her work Tonal Value 2019.
As an acquisitive prize, each year’s winning entrant is awarded $15,000 and their work becomes a part of the State Art Collection where it joins works by previous winners.
Tonal Value was selected as the winning piece from a competitive short list of fifteen works by Australian artists including Kate Baker (NSW), Clare Belfrage (SA), Peter Bowles (TAS), Lisa Cahill (ACT), Mel Douglas (ACT), Ben Edols and Kathy Elliott (NSW), Hannah Gason (ACT), David Hay (WA), Marc Leib (WA), Jeremy Lepisto (NSW), Jessica Loughlin (SA), Nick Mount (SA), Kirstie Rea (NSW), Jason Sims (SA) and Jarred Wright (QLD).
This year’s judges were Warren Langley (Sydney-based artist who’s worked with glass and light for 35 years, has exhibited globally and has works held by museums and galleries locally and internationally, was recently awarded “Lifetime Achievement Award, Australian Society of Glass Artists”), Elizabeth Malone (Tom Malone Prize inaugurator and AGWA Foundation Governor) and Robert Cook (AGWA’s Curator of 20th Century Art).
About Mel Douglas’ winning piece, the Judges stated: “While acknowledging a truly stunning short list, we were unanimous in our decision to award the Prize to Mel Douglas for her five-part wall work, Tonal Value. A study in colour, form and transition, balance and counter-balance, it is both subtle and strangely energetic and animated. While a quiet work, it has an undeniable, even commanding, presence as each of the unit’s two overlapping forms modulate over the work’s length; moving from light to dark the work seems to shift into presence from absence, or from light to shadow. Tracing the dependencies and interactions of line and volume, it builds on Mel’s previous work in three-dimensional form, most especially her near pitch-black objects that seem to carve out sections from their surrounding space. Composed from a type of printing and kiln fusing with glass powder, Tonal Value also evidences her commitment to creative experimentation and evolution with the always challenging medium of glass."