Grace Cossington Smith Art Award 2018 Finalists

2018 art award Winners

We are excited to announce the winners of the Grace Cossington Smith biennial art award 2018.

Catherine O’Donnell – the recipient of the acquisitive $15,000 prize

Jane Théau – early career artist award $2,500 non acquisitive

Stephen Hall – local artist award $2,500 non acquisitive; (Sponsored by Susie Stathakis and Di Jones Real estate Wahroonga)


Grace Cossington Smith art award $15,000 acquisitive: Catherine O’Donnell

Catherine O’Donnell: Yates Court, pencil on paper, 46 x 65 cm  courtesy the artist and MAY SPACE

Artist Statement
My art practice focuses on the urban landscape, representing the commonly overlooked dwellings of suburbia in an abstracted form. Recently, during a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, I extended my research into Parisian and London mid-century housing estates. In the mid 1900s, when buildings such as ‘Yates Court’ were developed, they embraced contemporary aesthetics and were full of promise for a better tomorrow. These structures now stand quietly making connections to the past and the people who called them home, exhibiting the signs and marks of past lives etched into the walls. In this straightforward pencil drawing, I aim to portray both the formal aesthetics of this structure as well as capture a sense of the humanity present in these homes.



Grace Cossington Smith early career artist award $2,500 non-acquisitive: Jane Théau

Jane Théau: In Touch (Screens 1), thread and tarlatan, 100 x 80 cm

Artist Statement

In transit at Hong Kong airport I passed the time taking photos of people waiting for their connecting flights. Upon returning home, I uploaded the images and realised that of the 20-odd people I had photographed, only one was not looking at a screen. They could have been emailing or catching up on Facebook, working or listening to music, reading the news or watching YouTube. They were making connections.
In Touch represents one of these people using his smart phone, that amazing device that, while revolutionising the way we stay in touch, has minimised our tactile and aural connection with people. We are now more likely to text than visit or talk. This work is made with textiles, that most tactile of media which is always against our skin. The holes in the lace, the absences, are the skin – symbols of the loss of touch in our digital world.



Grace Cossington Smith local artist award $2,500 non-acquisitive: Stephen Hall

Stephen Hall Asking Answers Revealing Questions Punctuating with Sighs (suite of 10 etchings), etching, aquatint, 37 x 30 cm each

Artist Statement

This work contemplates the human race attempting to make connections beyond the Earth. The skeleton represents humanity’s fragility and that it is most likely finite; however, it is depicted as alive and moving within an astronaut suit, which symbolises a possible future for humanity beyond Earth. The horse skeleton represents the things humanity implicates and uses to reach its goals – its ‘progress’.

Connections are also made between the future and the past, depicting images that reflect aspects of humanity’s journey and legacy on Earth, such as mythology, religion, economic society and monarchy, but they are now projected into a future context, perhaps not left behind. Other images show the astronaut tinkering and planning for life in an unchartered phase, attempting to make new connections.


Related downloads
GCS art award 2018 Winners Media Release Download PDF
GCS art award 2018 Catalogue Download PDF
GCS art award 2018 Roomsheet Download PDF
GCS art award 2018 Learning- Catherine O’Donnell Download PDF

2018 GCS art award Finalists and exhibition


Exhibition Photographs copyright Richard Glover

Thank you to the many artists who entered the 2018 GCS art award

The Grace Cossington Smith Gallery and Abbotsleigh invited submissions from Australian artists for the Grace Cossington Smith biennial art award for work in any two-dimensional media in response to the theme Making Connections.
The award theme is inspired by the work of Abbotsleigh Old Girl and artist Grace Cossington Smith who made connections with her changing world through her drawing and painting.

The awards:

  • $15,000 awarded to the winner (acquisitive).
  • $2,500 awarded to an early-career artist.
  • $2,500 awarded to a local artist from Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai area.

The Judges
The judges of the 2018 Grace Cossington Smith art award are:
Alison Clark, Team Leader Arts & Culture at North Sydney Council;
Dominik Mersch, Director ominik Mersch Gallery Rushcutters Bay