Gippsland Print Award winner formally announced

Visitors inspecting some of the 255 artworks in the 2023 Gippsland Print Award.

A MELBOURNE-BASED artist, Rosalind Atkins, has been named the 2023 Gippsland Print Award winner.

Wellington Shire Council Mayor, Ian Bye, announced Atkins as the recipient of the $5000 acquisitive national award for printmaking, at the Gippsland Art Gallery’s spring season launch on Friday, September 1, in front of a capacity audience.

Atkins was selected from a field of 255 entries by artists from across Australia by the judging panel, comprising printmaker, Dr Lesley Duxbury, artist and Emeritus Professor, RMIT University; Simon Gregg, the director of Gippsland Art Gallery; and Dr Louisa Waters, the co-ordinator collections and exhibitions at the Gippsland Art Gallery.

The judges praised the “exacting technique” of Atkins’ winning work, ‘Columns in a Shock of Light’ and its subject, describing the “dense gum trees” as being a “very Gippsland bush”.

Judges felt the imagery was “highly immersive”, noting that “it draws you in and then sends you back – the more you look at it, the more you see”, adding that “it is easy to get lost and entangled in it”.

For the first time in 2023, the gallery has offered a secondary prize for the Gippsland Print Award – the Pat Waters Prize for Best Gippsland Work, named in honour of one of the region’s pioneer contemporary artists and printmakers, Pat Waters (1944-2022).

Melbourne-based Rosalind Atkins with her winning work, ‘Columns in a Shock of Light’.
Photos: Contributed

A Briagolong-based artist, Maria Fitzgerald, received the inaugural $1000 non-acquisitive prize.

Maria Fitzgerald with her work Night Reflections which was judged as Best Gippsland Work

The judges praised the “painterly quality” of Maria’s work, titled Night Reflections, noting how it “draws you into the landscape”. They commented that “there’s a lot of movement and a real sense of energy about it”.

Judges also noted that as a monoprint (a unique-state print), the work “has an immediacy to it – it’s not a laborious work, it has a real sense of fluidity to it”. Judges complimented the work’s “evocative quality”, which rewards long looking.

The Gippsland Print Award began in 2015, with the Melbourne-based Martin King the winner of the inaugural prize, followed by a Castlemaine artist, Jock Clutterbuck in 2017.

The exhibition draws entries from all corners of Australia in a celebration of printmaking in Gippsland.

Described by one artist as “every printmaker’s favourite prize”, the award has since attracted national attention. The winning work of each exhibition is automatically acquired for the Gippsland Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

The 2023 Gippsland Print Award – featuring all 255 entries – is now on display at the Gippsland Art Gallery until November 19, and admission is free.