2020 Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing – Finalists Announced

In News February 1, 2020

Image above: Jennifer Keeler-Milne, 6 sketchbooks (2019), paper, coloured pencil and card, 8 x 56 cm (each)

Congratulations to Jennifer Keeler-Milne, Jenny Bell and Maryanne Coutts who have been selected as finalists in the 2020 Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing.

The Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing is a $25,000 acquisitive art award among the most significant of its kind in the country. Inaugurated in 2006, the Prize is generously supported by the Parents and Friends’ Association of PLC Sydney. Named in honour of respected painter, printmaker and draughtswoman, Miss Adelaide Elizabeth Perry  (1891-1973) who taught Visual Arts at PLC Sydney from 1930 to 1962, the Prize attracts submissions from around the country.

PLC are pleased to announce that the judge for the 2020 Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing, Dr Felicity Fenner, Associate Professor UNSW Art & Design, has selected 43 works for Perry Prize Exhibition from 29 February – 27 March at the Adelaide Perry Gallery.

Of the selection process Dr Fenner said, “Entries for this year’s Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize closed on 8th January, as bushfires were raging across our country with catastrophic impact on the natural environment. Not surprisingly given the timing, this year’s entries to the Prize were dominated by depictions of the land. Some artists envisaged the fires in full force, many drew desolate landscapes scorched to the ground, while others captured in images the apocalyptic smoke haze shrouding the city.”

“While there was a sprinkling of other topics addressed amongst this year’s entries – portraits, still lives, suburban streets, wombats and quite a few dogs – it was the landscape that dominated the entries and the selection of works for the exhibition reflects this. Many were of landscapes and natural phenomena drawn before the fires: the artists’ respect for and preoccupation with their subject matter seems prescient in hindsight.”

“Drawing has an immediacy not easily achieved in other media. The initial shock and ongoing grief felt by us all for the flora and fauna wiped out by the recent fires is eloquently captured by many of the works in this exhibition. In times of crisis, art can hold a mirror not only to the events of the day but to society’s feelings in response. Collectively, the drawings selected for this year’s exhibition offer an insightful and empathic response to the world in which we live.”

The Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing 2020 Exhibition of Finalists opening event and announcement of the winner will be held on Friday 27 February at 7.00 pm with guest speaker Dr Felicity Fenner, Associate Professor, UNSW Art & Design.

The exhibition continues 8.30 am – 4.00 pm weekdays and 11.00 am – 4.00 pm Saturdays until 27 March.

For the list of all finalists – click here.

Jennifer Keeler-Milne

“I made all these sketchbooks over 2019, culminating in the fire ravaged landscape one, created while the fires were burning on December 31. We had driven through this area called East Lynne, just north of Bateman’s Bay on the south coast and witness the devastation.

All of the books are based on landscapes I’ve encountered. The first one (the black pencil one) was inspired after I saw the small rainforest area at Bundanon, where I had taken my students to draw for a couple of days. I then created a green version based on the same area. The black one is based on the view from the balcony of a friend’s house balcony into the trees in the Upper MacDonald valley near St Albans.” – January, 2020


Image: Jennifer Keeler-Milne, (detail of) 6 sketchbooks (2019), paper, coloured pencil and card, 8 x 56 cm (each)

Jenny Bell

“In the manner of a magpie attentive to the underground presence of a worm, these drawings came in a moment of revelation. Brisk and apparently imprecise they seize a fleeting awareness of the interface between the forces beneath our feet and the atmosphere.

The lifeblood of life on earth.”


Image above: Jenny Bell, Study for Lifeblood (2019), charcoal on paper, 10 sheets, 42 x 148.5 cm (overall)


Coutts_Maryanne_Katie_detail sf



Above images: Maryanne Coutts, (details of) Katie (2019), bound book – mixed media on kozo paper, 32 x 17 cm