Thursday March 13, 2014 | by Paulina Switniewska

Artist Mel Douglas wins Australia’s Tom Malone Prize

FILED UNDER: Announcements, Award

The Tom Malone Prize, which that promotes the creation, appreciation, and enjoyment of glass made in Australia, has been awarded to the country's top glass artists since its inception in 2003. The prize-winning entry is acquired by the State Art Collection and includes a $12,000 cash award as well. This year’s winning entry, titled Camber, was created by Mel Douglas, and judged by the Governor of the Art Gallery of Western Australia Elizabeth Malone, glass artist David Hay, AGWA’s Director Stefano Carboni, and AGWA’s Curator of Modern and Contemporary Photography and Design, Robert Cook.

Similar to many of Douglas’ works, Camber demonstrates the subtle markings that elicit thoughts of stillness and the subtleties of movement. Her usage of engraving creates a fluid motion to the object. “I am interested in how objects balance and sit in space, holding on to that last moment of silence and stillness before they spill over,” explains Douglas. “I use the engraved lines of light to add to this tension, tilting the object off-center. This sense of anticipation generates tension between the object and the surrounding space.” She says of Camber, “The simplicity of my work suggests stillness and silence, a meditation on the elements and concepts of light, space, and time…I aim to concentrate the viewer’s attention to the proportion and linear relationships of the work. Each line is a unique mark defining a physical shape; it is a contour, a stroke, and an outline.”

Douglas was born in Burnie, Tasmania, and attended the Australian National University School of Art in Canberra, where she currently lectures at the Glass Workshop. Her artwork has been featured in exhibitions throughout Australia, the United States, and Europe. Douglas is also the recipient of several awards, including the Ranamok Glass Prize, the New Work Grant, and the Lino Tagliapietra Prize, among others.

The 2014 prize had a short list of artists exploring a range of themes varying from the personal to the narrative. Such artists included Andrew Baldwin, Clare Belfrage, Tim Edwards, Kevin Gordon, Jeremy Lepisto, Nick Mount, Jasmine Targett, Tevita Havea, and Jamie Worsley.

—Paulina Switniewska

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.