Rewards in risk and experiment

Castlemaine Art Museum front of house and prize administrator, Anna Schwann, with some of the winning and finalist pieces in the Experimental Print Prize – now on exhibition. Photo: Eve Lamb

Willingness to take risk lies at the heart of the Experimental Print Prize exhibition freshly launched at Castlemaine Art Museum.

Work featured is that of the winners and the finalists in this year’s newly announcedprize results.

The judges, Catherine Pilgrim and Trent Walter, had initially selected 43 artists as finalists from among 140 entries submitted, with the winning works announced in recent days.

Melbourne-based artist Bridget Hillebrand has taken out the $10,000 first prize with her work titled, Drift 2021, with Melbourne’s John Loane securing the $5000 highly commended accolade for his piece The Shallow, The Deep (existential dichotomies) 2020.

Melbourne’s Hannah Caprice has received the $3000 emerging artist gong for her entry titled We must be imagining things 2019.

CAM front of house and prize administrator, Anna Schwann, says the Experimental Print Prize recognises the important role of experimentation and risk in art-making.

“Entries were invited from artists using innovative approaches to traditional printmaking processes and resident in Victoria,” Schwann says.

“It is really difficult to define ‘experimentation’, which for an artist is probably amazing because it leaves it wide open to interpretation.”

The result, Schwann observes, is a great diversity of work in terms of technique, media, subject matter, stage of artistic career represented and artistic background.

With the work now on exhibition at CAM through to the end of February, visitors are invited to vote for the People’s Choice to be announced at the exhibition’s close.

“Particularly around Castlemaine, but regional Victoria as well, there is quite a colony of printmakers,” Schwann says, noting that several of the finalists represented are from the Castlemaine area.

There is a strong tradition of printmaking in Victoria and this non-acquisitive prize is the second of three such award iterations, with the gallery paying homage to the generous support of local donor, Michael Rigg, for making the prize possible and opening the platform for experimentation in the discipline of printmaking.