$6000 prize pool for national drawing prize

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Anthony Morris

The Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Prize, presented by Noosa Regional Gallery, is now open to entries from emerging and established artists across Australia.
$6000 prize pool for national drawing prize

Ginny Grayson’s winning entry from 2018, Min Little Black Muse. Image: supplied

The Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Prize, a non-acquisitive prize established to celebrate the art of drawing in Australia, is looking for entries.

Now in its fourth year, the Prize is presented by Noosa Regional Gallery in memory of local artist Lyn McCrea.

‘John McCrea approached the gallery with the idea of an art prize dedicated to drawing in memory of his late wife Lyn,’ Noosa Regional Gallery Director Michael Brennan told ArtsHub. ‘Lyn was an artist, a teacher herself with a really strong passion for drawing. John saw a prize in her name as being a really fit way to honour her memory and her dedication and love of the arts.’

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Brennan, who is overseeing the prize for the second year, explains why drawing is such an important artform.

‘I see drawing as fundamental to so many if not all art practices, and to be able to shine a light on the importance of that for a short period of time in the form of an art prize and exhibition, and to be able to present a diversity of approaches to it and highlight excellence in that kind of practice, is a great opportunity for the gallery.’ 

Last year saw the gallery push to encourage national interest in the prize, in a move that Brennan feels helped broaden the range and diversity of entries.

‘I was really interested in being able to tap into the talent that exists all around the country, and I was really interested in making it known that entering an art prize doesn’t need to be embarking on some kind of epic artwork that has to lead to a drawing that you intend to be exhibited. 

‘This is the fourth iteration of this arts prize and at this stage we only have a commitment for five, so we’ve been really excited to see the quality of the entries improve and the number of entries increase each year.’

Nature and the environment were strongly represented amongst last year’s finalists, but Brennan stresses the prize is open to all forms of subject and approach. ‘I’ve noticed that artists that are from this region in particular tend to gravitate toward landscapes as subject matter, just because we’re surrounded by this epic, naturally beautiful environment up here in Noosa.

‘Having said that, we’ve received entrants from all around the country and landscape is a broad genre – there were quite a number of urban landscapes that were entered last year. We had quite fantastic, almost surreal artworks contributed, there were abstract drawings which were quite amazing, there was quite a strong photorealistic approach with a number of the drawings, but there was also a lot of really free and expressionistic approaches to mark-making too.’ 

With no prior artistic experience needed – Brennan says last year’s entrants were roughly evenly split between emerging and established artists – the prize is a way to encourage Australian artists to stretch the boundaries of the medium.

‘We’re always turning to artists to have our preconceived ideas tested to see if they still hold water, and we’ve tried to embrace that with this prize. Last year we had some beautiful animation works in the prize, which arguably is a way to stretch people’s imaginations when it comes to thinking about what drawing accomplishes.’

This broader view of what makes a prize-worthy drawing was reflected in last year’s winner – Victorian artist Ginny Grayson’s work Min Little Black Muse, a series of studies of her cat drawn with charcoal on paper.

‘I was thrilled with that work,’ says Brennan. ‘It had a real spontaneity to it, and it really embraced drawing’s ability to capture movement as well. Sometimes approaching a drawing without the intent of it being a finished artwork can reveal something magical.’

Important Prize Information and Dates

The winner of the Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Prize will receive $5000 while the People’s Choice Award (sponsored by Friends Noosa Regional Gallery) winner will receive $1000. Both prizes are non-acquisitive. Artists requiring support in completing their online application are encouraged to call the Gallery directly.

Entries to the Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Prize are currently open and close on 11 August 2019. Shortlisted entries will be notified 19-23 August 2019.

The winner of the Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Prize and People’s Choice Award will be announced at the official exhibition opening at Noosa Regional Gallery on 1 November 2019.

The exhibition will run from 1 November through to 1 December 2019.

To learn more about The Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Prize visit: noosaregionalgallery.com.au

About the author

Anthony Morris is a freelance film and television writer. He’s been a regular contributor to The Big IssueEmpire MagazineJunkeeBroadsheetThe Wheeler Centre and Forte Magazine, where he’s currently the film editor. Other publications he’s contributed to include ViceThe VineKill Your Darlings (where he was their online film columnist), The Lifted BrowUrban Walkabout and Spook Magazine. He’s the co-author of hit romantic comedy novel The Hot Guy, and he’s also written some short stories he’d rather you didn’t mention. You can follow him on Twitter @morrbeat and read some of his reviews on the blog It’s Better in the Dark.