2023 Geelong Acquisitive Print Awards celebrate exceptional artistic talent

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2023 Geelong Acquisitive Print Awards celebrate exceptional artistic talent

2023 Geelong Acquisitive Print Awards, installation shot, work by Marian Crawford, ‘A blizzard’ 2021, letterpress and relief prints; unique state, Geelong Acquisitive Print Award (winner), 2023, © the artist
Words by Staff Writer

In an exciting announcement, the 2023 Geelong Acquisitive Print Awards have revealed the two distinguished recipients of this year's prestigious prizes.

The top honour, the 2023 Geelong Acquisitive Print Award of $10,000, goes to the immensely talented Melbourne-based artist, Marian Crawford. Additionally, the 2023 Ursula Hoff Institute Award, worth $5,000, is bestowed upon Christopher Orr, another brilliant artist from Melbourne.

This year’s selection panel comprised the expertise of Independent Curator & Writer, Kirsty Grant, Geelong Gallery Director & CEO, Jason Smith, and Geelong Gallery Senior Curator, Lisa Sullivan.

Stay up to date with what’s happening within the region’s art scene here

The 2023 exhibition showcases thought-provoking responses to various themes, including the natural world, history, culture, geopolitics, and world events such as the Corona virus. Moreover, it delves into subjects like everyday objects, feminism, language, storytelling, and explorations of colour and form through abstraction.

The judges were highly impressed by the artists’ exceptional vision and their captivating take on various aspects of life. The Colin Holden Charitable Trust and the Ursula Hoff Institute’s unwavering support enabled the presentation of the two acquisitive prizes.

Marian Crawford’s “A Blizzard, 2021”

Marian Crawford’s “A Blizzard, 2021” stood out and claimed the coveted 2023 Geelong Acquisitive Print Award. The artwork captivated the panel with its quiet, poetic quality and the skillful merging of personal and political elements. Created during Melbourne’s lockdown, the piece references the constrained domesticity experienced during that time.

The artist expertly incorporates text from significant literary sources to critique the overwhelming presence and power of media in our lives. Comprising numerous small-scale letterpress and relief prints, “A Blizzard” demands the viewer’s undivided attention, leading them on a journey from left to right, exploring intimate textures and cleverly intertwined words from different times.

Crawford’s work challenges the fast-paced news cycle, providing an opportunity for a more thoughtful and introspective reading, as the artist puts it, “art can slow and still this cycle, making space for a different type of reading.”


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Christopher Orr’s “Served Bold, 2023”

Recipient of the 2023 Ursula Hoff Institute Award, Christopher Orr’s “Served Bold, 2023,” is a masterful digital print that left the judges utterly captivated. The artwork brilliantly merges imagery from historical engravings with the intricate circuitry of a computer motherboard, highlighting the prominence of technology in the 21st century and its pervasive influence over contemporary life.

“Served Bold” draws connections between the historical role of printmaking in democratising imagery and disseminating information with the modern global and all-encompassing power of computers. In the context of the biblical Judith beheading Holofernes, the artwork also serves as a reminder of the fine line between reality and make-believe in the age of artificial intelligence.

The Geelong Acquisitive Print Awards once again demonstrate the incredible depth of talent within the Australian art scene. The Geelong Gallery is delighted to include Marian Crawford’s third and Christopher Orr’s debut work into its esteemed collection of Australian prints.

As the awards celebrate artistic brilliance, they also remind us of the profound impact that art can have on society, provoking thought, introspection, and dialogue on the world around us.

The exhibition is on until Sunday 8 October 2023. Find out more here