Judge Marian Drew has a hard decision to make, choosing a winner from 275 artworks.
Judge Marian Drew has a hard decision to make, choosing a winner from 275 artworks. ANDREW MORGAN

How judge tackles tough task in art awards

JUDGING the Rio Tinto Alcan Martin Hanson Memorial Art Awards won't be easy. Journalist Kirsten Cunningham asks judge, Associate Professor Marian Drew, how she does it.

What do you look for when judging the artwork?

I want to see a depth of understanding reflected in the artwork, in whichever medium the artist has chosen.

Having an individual voice is important, and as an audience I want to be engaged and affected.

How difficult is it to make a decision with so many mediums represented?

It's a challenge because there is so much work and so little time.

But having more time might not make it easier.

A work always has to live on its own and speak to an audience, even when it is in a space with other art like this.

How have you prepared?

I trust that my experience and process will do the work justice.

I have been assessing masters and doctoral artworks at Griffith University for the past few weeks and feel it has put me in training to judge this award.

I do have a process. I collect responses, make lists, layer the responses, and revisit it.

It is a rigorous process that takes time and hard work.

Do you like what you see?

I'm really enjoying the amount of colour and sense of humour in this exhibition.

There is a vibrancy and desire to express colour that seems to come from living in bright, colourful central Queensland.

Colour is not always evident in exhibitions, and for example in Europe, you wouldn't see this range of colour.

There is evidence that people have found the pleasure in the world around them.

By the numbers:

  • $15,000 first prize
  • $34,500 total prize money
  • More than 300 entries
  • 275 selected artists
  • 60% of works are local
  • 1 judge
  • 20 sponsors


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