Kāpiti artists shortlisted for Parkin drawing prize

Morag Stokes with pieces from his Mickey Mouse Revisited series. Photo / Rosalie Willis

Two Kāpiti artists were shortlisted for this year’s Parkin Drawing Award after a record number of entries.

The award attracted 563 entries this year, the highest number since 2014, one year after the launch of the award.

Elisabeth Vullings from Paraparaumu and Morag Stokes who recently moved to Waikanae from Wellington were announced on the list of 80 works selected for the National Drawing Competition, founded by philanthropist and patron Chris Parkin.

Elisabeth Vullings with Double-Sited, her work selected for the Parkin drawing prize.  Photo / Rosalie Willis
Elisabeth Vullings with Double-Sited, her work selected for the Parkin Drawing Prize. Photo / Rosalie Willis

Both are no strangers to the award, with both artists being finalists for the fourth time this year.

“I was quite surprised to be shortlisted because it’s such an experimental piece, but I’m also thrilled,” said Elisabeth.

“Mainly because there have been so many entries this year.”

Elisabeth’s Double-Sited play was an experience that was not originally intended to be a double-sided work.

“It’s very experimental work, working with an idea that I have wanted to explore for a while.

“The idea was to take something really familiar and break it down and deconstruct it to find new meaning.

“That was the starting point.

“I started with our house, which is a topic I often start with, and started breaking it down into different spatial relationships.

Side A of Double-Sited by Elisabeth Vullings.
Side A of Double-Sited by Elisabeth Vullings.

“Everything revolves around interior spaces and spatial relationships using this schematic architectural language. “

Painting the glass first, then engraving her designs in it, Elisabeth then painted onto the glass with her fingers and a fine brush, all on the back of the glass door that she used as a canvas.

“It was an interesting technique because I engraved the designs on painted glass, then I had to turn it over and look at what was happening on the other side.

“At this point, the other side was not going to be seen, but when I saw that he had developed his own abstract composition, I made it double-sided.”

Working with graphite and India ink for his Mickey Mouse Revisited series, Morag’s Mickey Mouse Revisited (diptych) piece # 2 was shortlisted.

“It’s a drawing, but not as you know it,” she said.

“It’s not done in the traditional way at all, but with traditional materials applied with non-traditional tools.”

Wanting to get the viewer to look at what is real and what is not, Morag said, “For this series I have used Mickey Mouse balloons, merchant fantasy to challenge the photo realism in the drawing – except doing everything backwards.

Mickey Mouse revisited (diptych) # 2 by Morag Stokes.
Mickey Mouse revisited (diptych) # 2 by Morag Stokes.

“Normally, an artist would start with a photograph of something real and start drawing the image.

“I did this backwards.

“I entrusted the piece to a specialized photographer to print it in very high resolution in order to create a photographic reproduction.

“The room looks black and white but there is a lot of temperature variation there.

“I want the photo to be as close as possible to my original drawing and for people to question the realism of the photo.

“I want people to look at a real work like this next to a photo and struggle to make a difference.”

After finding out she was on the shortlist for the fourth time, Morag said: “For me this is Wellington’s most interesting art exhibition, so being shortlisted is great.

“It’s always a very engaging show.”

The inspiration for his piece came from organizing balloon painting workshops at Pablo’s Art Studio in Wellington.

Having started using Mickey Mouse balloons, Morag started using extra large condoms because the balloons burst too easily.

“Creating these works was a pretty meditative process, which took me several hours to get to the point where I can get there.

“There’s a soft spot that I need to get to where I mix the mediums – sometimes it’s too wet and sometimes it’s too dry.

“It’s only about 2-3 minutes where I get it just perfect.

“So I have to get there really quickly, which is why I have to be in the zone.

“I create and destroy until I find myself in this sweet spot and something magical happens.”

The works will be on display at the Parkin Drawing Prize exhibition at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts from August 3 to 29 and the winners will be announced on August 2.

The winning submission will be selected and announced by Dr. Sarah Farrar, Curatorial and Exhibitions Manager at Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tāmaki.

The main prize is $ 25,000 with 10 highly recommended prizes valued at $ 500 also awarded.

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