New Zealand artist, Marilyn Rea-Menzies has been announced the winner of this year’s Kate Derum Award for small tapestries. The Kate Derum Award is open to Australian and international artists at any stage in their career, for hand-woven tapestries with a maximum size of 30x30cm. Marilyn’s intriguing tapestry, Doll was selected from a shortlist of 41 original works including Australian artists Chris Cochius and Cheryl Thornton, who both received high commendations from the judges.
Awarded every two years, the Award continues to capture the attention of some of the world’s most accomplished tapestry artists. This year 75 entries were received from 12 countries: United Kingdom, France, Latvia, Canada, Argentina, Hungary, Denmark, Mexico, India, United States, New Zealand and Australia. The judging panel comprised former Head of School, School of Art, Architecture and Design, University of SA, Professor Kay Lawrence AM; founding Director of Christchurch Galley, Mr Tony Preston; and Head of Textiles, Australian National University, Canberra, Ms Valerie Kirk.
The judges were excited to have the challenge in selecting a winner from the calibre of internationally acclaimed textile artists. In selecting Marilyn’s work as the winner, the judges were impressed by the tapestry’s profound visual impact and extraordinary technical artistry with an astonishing palette creating a tension between the precise and measured process of tapestry weaving and the immediacy of modern day digital imaging. “The doll is often associated with the safety and comfort of childhood, but the intense colour relationships in Marilyn's tapestry also provoke a sense of unease”, says Kirk
Generously supported by Susan Morgan and the Tapestry Foundation of Australia, the Kate Derum Award was created in honour of the former Deputy Director of the Australian Tapestry Workshop who passed away in 2008. The Award celebrates Kate as an accomplished artist, respected teacher, avid supporter of the ATW and ambassador for Australian tapestry. She was a wonderful role model and leader, and influenced the lives of many young artists.
Marilyn was thrilled to receive the award and said she became “hooked on tapestry" weaving in the eighties and describes a fascination with the ‘doll’ as a metaphor for humanity, creating many drawings and paintings which inspired this small tapestry, the first in a series portraying the human condition. Marilyn intends to use the $5,000 prize money to further develop and extend her art practice which was briefly interrupted following damage to her studio during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
The judges awarded the Irene Davies Emerging Artist award to Latvian artist, Agnese Ondzule for her work, Get to know her. The judges also highly commended New Zealand artist, Sue Weir for her work Amongst the folds. The Irene Davies Emerging Artist Award is open to artists who are in their first five years of professional practice, and is generously supported by Alayne and Alan Davies in honour of their late mother Irene.
An exhibition of the finalists’ works is currently on display at the Australian Tapestry Workshop, 262 – 266 Park Street, South Melbourne until September 25, 2015.