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Sydney-based artist Julia Davis has taken out the $15,000 City of Devonport National Art Award: tidal.18 with a single channel video loop titled Undercurrent, 2017.

Now in its seventh iteration, the City of Devonport National Art Award is open to 2D works, by artists living in Australia, that reflect on the theme ‘tidal’ in some way, from political, cultural or environmental concerns to personal relationships with the sea or coastal regions.

The biennial award is acquisitive, so Davis’s work will enter the permanent collection of the Devonport Regional Gallery in Tasmania.

This year the award was judged by Adam Harding, director of the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne; Ashleigh Whatling, curator of visual art and design at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston; and Dr Jan Hogan, coordinator of the printmaking and drawing studios in the School of Creative Arts, University of Tasmania, Hobart.

Harding said of Davis’s winning work, “Keep watching, the waves rush in and out, and then the horizon flips, we are folded into the space, we are within the waves, surrounded by the materiality of water. Produced by bringing together drone footage from the sky and a soundscape from the ocean floor, Davis uses these multiple perspectives, to disconnect us further from the real. Placing us at the centre of a timeless work of epic nature.”

When asked what drew her to the award Davis responded, “The Tidal Award has been on my radar for some time as my research has focused on active landscapes – the known and unknown, visible and invisible forces in our world. It’s fantastic to have this work acknowledged and have it included in a major collection in Tasmania (where the footage was taken) that will enable it to be seen by a broader audience.”

The judges also highly commended Tasmanian artist Lisa Garland for her photograph Arthur River Kelp, 2018. “This large-scale photograph transports us to the windswept and salt encrusted coast of the Great Southern Ocean. Documenting a process that responds to the tidal nature of this community, Garland’s work illustrates there is a season to collect and a season to dry bull kelp, a process and activity that has been undertaken for generations,” Harding said.

Works by all 46 finalists are on show in tidal.18 at the Devonport Regional Gallery until 27 January 2019. Visitors can vote for a people’s choice award.

tidal.18
Devonport Regional Gallery
3 November – 27 January

Art Guide Australia