24 August 2007

Ana Pollak wins the Dobell

Ana Pollack has won the Art Gallery of New South Wales' Dobell Prize for Drawing. It is difficult to find a decent photo of the winning drawing, but there is a beautiful gallery of images from the same series at her gallery, Sara Roney.

I've not encountered her work before, but the drawing has a large scale, whole-body sweep to it. It enfolds the viewer's field of vision like a distant daughter of Monet's late waterlillies, with a stripped-back, stark quality. The marks are free, spontaneous but concentrated; the result of real looking at a certain place in all its particularity.

Close up, the architecture of the work across the picture plane might not be immediately obvious, but it is there nonetheless. Her strategy becomes more obvious looking at a whole gallery of pictures of the same motif, the variety of different approaches: in one, perspective shifts across a clear receding horizontal; in another, she simply varies the size of the oyster poles jutting out of the surface of the shiny late afternoon water, anchoring the whole thing around a central, dark vertical in the foreground.

In a similar way Jackson Pollock anchored his own kind of chaos those many years ago.

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