SMH: Surprise! The pandemic improved the standard of drawing in Australia
Article by John McDonald
Events such as the 2021 Dobell Drawing Prize at the National Art School Gallery serve as reminders of the many kinds of activity permitted by an expanded definition of “drawing”. The Dobell Foundation can be pleased with the quality of the 2021 entries, which may be due to the esteem in which this award is held, or simply indicate that artists were able to spend more time in the studio during the pandemic year. There’s nothing more conducive to art than a crisis, and the number of works that refer directly or obliquely to the lockdown suggests the virus has played a significant role in the make-up of this year’s show. It will go down as one of the more unusual side-effects of COVID-19 that it seems to have improved the standard of drawing in Australia
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Image: Catherine O’Donnell, Waiting for the world to reopen (detail), 2020, charcoal on paper, 180 × 97.5 cm, Courtesy the artist and Dominik Mersch Gallery