Sarah Tomasetti & Jennifer Keeler-Milne – Finalists in the 2020 JADA

In Artist September 14, 2020

Congratulations to Sarah Tomasetti and Jennifer Keeler-Milne for their exquisite works that have been selected for the Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award (JADA) at Grafton Regional Gallery.

The Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award celebrates drawing in all its splendour from the hyper-real to the expressive and abstract; works that evoke the poetic and emotional response to the human condition and our environment. Many of the works in this award question and challenge the notion of the traditional drawing, while others provide a contemporary perspective and reinvigorate those traditions. The 2020 JADA received a record 659 entries from 521 artists throughout Australia with 56 finalists being selected for the exhibition and subsequent tour.

Grafton Regional Gallery will launch the exhibition on Friday 2 October where Judge, Peter McKay will announce the winner. The works will remain on view until 22 November 2020.

Jennifer Keeler-Milne

“I am a Sydney artist and for over a decade my principal subject has been nature, with a strong emphasis on drawing using charcoal. My 1st major series of drawings were dreamy cloud studies, followed by the desert plants of far west NSW (now in collection AGNSW). My last series of nearly 200 drawings form a virtual cabinet of curiosities featuring natural objects from land, sky and sea. My underlying concerns are to reflect the beauty and mystery of nature, in a manner that is evocative and atmospheric. Working purely in black and white stands in for the opposition of numerous elements; darkness & light, void & physical matter. I use the sparest of materials: black willow charcoal on textured watercolour paper.

Burnt, blackened, charred, scorched burnt offerings is a response to the January 2020 bushfires. It’s a small cabinet of curiosities featuring plant specimens, leaves and charcoal that were collected from fire affected areas on the NSW south coast of NSW near Moruya and Yatte Yattah. I responded to each element through the creation of a drawing using charcoal. As an artist who has used charcoal for much of her career, I wanted to both celebrate the charred and commemorate the damage and resilience of the Australian landscape.” 

– Jennifer Keeler-Milne, 2020

Born in Melbourne, Jennifer Keeler-Milne lives and works in Sydney as a practicing artist and holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts from the Victorian College of the Arts and a Master of Art Administration. A former museum educator with the Art Gallery of New South Wales and lecturer at Sydney University, UTS and the National Art School, Jennifer also runs her own drawing school, Dare to Draw, teaching the principles and techniques of drawing.

Jennifer has exhibited in many public and regional institutions including the Art Gallery of NSW (Sydney), Hazelhurst Regional Gallery (NSW), The Museum of Economic Botany (Adelaide), The Glasshouse Regional Gallery (Port Macquarie), Grafton Regional Gallery (NSW), Orange Regional Art Gallery (NSW), Tweed River Art Gallery (NSW), Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery (NSW), New England Regional Art Gallery (NSW), Casula Powerhouse (NSW), as well as several universities such as the University of Sydney, University of Technology and University of Western Sydney (Sydney), Australian National University (Canberra) and the Victorian College of the Arts (Melbourne). In 2019, Newcastle Art Gallery acquired Keeler-Milne’s Desert Rocks – a suite of 18 charcoal drawings. Her work is also held in the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW, Artbank and the Victorian College of the Arts, as well as private collections in London, New York, Boston, Miami, San Francisco, Paris, Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne.

To view available works by Jennifer, visit our website stockroom.



Above images: Jennifer Keeler-Milne, Burnt, blackened, charred, scorched burnt offerings, 2020, charcoal, paper, foliage, timber, paint, glass. 7 domes 28 x 14cm (each)

Sarah Tomasetti

Sarah Tomasetti trained in Italy under Leonetto Tintori, and went on to develop new permutations of the ancient art of fresco painting that lend her paintings and drawings a delicacy and illusion of fragility that is at once aesthetically seductive and thematically poignant. Recent works engage with the complexity of our shifting relationship to the natural world, dealing particularly with glacial and mountainous landscapes that are in a state of rapid change. Following a postgraduate degree in Fine Art, Tomasetti gained a professional qualification in fresco painting in Italy in 1995. On returning to Australia in 1999 she completed a Masters by Research at RMIT University. Tomasetti is the recipient of the 2020 John Leslie Art Prize, with her work, Kailash from the air, subsequently being acquired by the Gippsland Art Gallery Collection. Her work is also held in a number of other collections including Artbank, Macquarie Bank, National Australia Bank, BHP, Grafton Regional Gallery, in private collections in Australia and overseas, and is included in Contemporary Australian Drawing by Janet Mc Kenzie.

To view available works by Sarah Tomasetti, visit our website stockroom.

Image: Sarah Tomasetti, Kailash North Face IV, 2019, oil and graphite on fresco plaster, 120 x 88 cm