The Dominion Post

Drawn out success

- Felix Desmarais

If at first you don’t succeed, draw, draw, draw again.

After being highly commended for the award in 2017, Nelson artist Michael Dell has won the $20,000 Parkin Drawing Prize for his charcoal drawing Every Valley, shown inset.

The work of charcoal on a canvas stretcher topped this year’s list of

78 finalists, which had been narrowed from 472 entries nationwide.

The winning entry was a return to something more traditiona­l for the award, which has previously drawn controvers­y for pushing the boundaries of some peoples’ view of drawing, awarding artworks made with fishing line, carpet, and graphite rubbings.

Dell was ‘‘genuinely thrilled’’ to be the winner. Every Valley had combined his interest in the ‘‘impartial and arbitrary character of the natural world. Nature exists on its own terms’’.

He worked out of a Nelson studio but regularly went out to nearby Pigeon Valley, where he got inspiratio­n for the 1.9-metre by 1.4m work.

‘‘I started thinking about Every Valley six months ago and it took me three days to do the physical drawing.’’

Judge John Gow said ‘‘the mystery’’ of the work drew him back many times. ‘‘I wasn’t sure if I was looking into the forest or into the future or into the past.

‘‘Quality of image, quality of materials and quality of thought all added up to a winning combinatio­n in my mind’s eye.’’

The Parkin Drawing Prize exhibition season runs until September 8 at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts Gallery in Wellington.

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