2022 Parkin Drawing Prize Judge, Felicity Milburn, comments on the merit and winner.


Liam Cutting His Hair After An All Nighter by Siân Stephens is a riveting drawing that takes us deep into a private space and moment. There’s a powerful tension created between what is shown and what is withheld. The subject stands in front of a bathroom mirror, partway through a drastic and perhaps impromptu DIY haircut. Though complex, the composition is appealingly spare, and what we can see only serves to heighten a sense of intrigue. The artist has deliberately compromised our view, we see the subject only from behind and his reflection is visible only to him. We are unable to gauge his feelings or motivation – is this radical change in appearance exhilarating or cathartic, or has it been prompted by something darker? We gather our clues from an array of tenderly observed details - the boldly striped shirt, the blue nail polish, the long, braided ‘rat’s tail’ about to be shorn off. All this, and much more, makes Siân Stephens Liam Cutting His Hair After An All Nighter a fascinating work, a deeply satisfying viewing experience and a worthy winner of the 2022 Parkin Prize.


Siân Stephens Liam Cutting His Hair After An All Nighter


I’m lucky enough to work every day with a collection that includes some wonderful portraits, and this next winner reminded me of the economical and expressive pencil drawings of the Canterbury artist James Cook. Felicity Bergstrom’s I Captured Your Being is a confidently rendered work, in which a convincing sense of character is established within relatively few lines. While our focus is immediately drawn to the subject’s eyes and mouth, subtlety and skill is evident across the entire composition. It’s realistic – and that figure seems almost as though he might turn to look at us – but the work never loses its ‘drawingness’.


Felicity Bergstrom I Captured Your Being


One of the most powerful things an artist can do is make you want to know more, and that’s exactly what Sam Dollimore achieves with Shared Space. Indistinct forms hover at the edge of recognition; they’re fluid, sensual, bodily. There’s a beautiful contrast between the intensity of the chosen colour – red – and the delicacy of the mark-making in which fine lines stretch out like fabric across the paper. It’s a work that confirms nothing, but suggests much, and I liked it a lot. Congratulations, Sam.


Sam Dollimore Do You Think Dreams Are Shared Space (Let’s Talk About it Tonight)


The second highly commended award goes to Robyn Penn for Hold Time. What struck me most about this work was its sense of uncontained power. It churns and billows right to the edges, the unusual ground giving it a convincing transparency and luminosity. The textures of the cloud formation are incredibly subtle, varying in intensity across the composition. The undoubted technical accomplishment required to achieve this, though, was secondary for me to the psychological impact the artist achieves; there’s a sense of something threatening or vulnerable – perhaps both. Creating something so powerful while retaining an airy delicacy is a difficult task, but one the artist has accomplished with confidence.


Robyn Penn Hold Time


There’s a kind of art work I especially like that I think of as an ‘eye-washer’. They’re fresh and unexpected, confident, energetic – just a lot of fun to look at. The next work to win an award has all those qualities for me. Playing off the formality of a grid with an appealing sense of disruption, Rugosity by Simon Nicholls shows the power of simple, but perfectly formed mark-making to convey movement and energy. I loved it.

 Simon Nicholls Rugosity


Edged like an old wool blanket, Lea-Anne Sheather’s Blessings Bequeathed has an appealing, rumpled liveliness. It’s strange and spellbinding; the fine stitching erupting across the surface and taking on a life of its own as it leads your eye around the composition. The artist has skilfully incorporated a number of different textures, and I especially enjoyed the colour sense that’s evident in this work – autumnal russets and golds blend with mossy greens to provide a perfect contrast to the bright white stitching.


Lea-Anne Sheather Blessings Bequeathed


Ina Johann’s Mapping Another Life: A State of Being is a complex and intricate work. A series of seemingly unrelated images – some organic, others architectural – are superimposed over a backdrop of deep blue sky and cloud. There’s a sense of fracture and disruption, a glitch, a corruption, a re-setting. What we’re seeing might be the stuff of memory or imagination, or a futuristic vision. Or maybe it’s all those things at once.


Ina Johann Mapping Another Life: A State of Being 


For all of the works in this exhibition, I was judging blind – with no indication of the artist’s name or the title of their work. So when I found out that the title Veronica Herber had given her work was Joy Net I was delighted to find that it captured exactly what I had enjoyed most about it. It’s a very simple undertaking – strips of yellow washi tape enclosed within delicately traced pencil lines. It’s the kind of thing that would be very easy to get wrong. As the shapes form and reform in front of your eyes, the work becomes meditative in its repetition and simplicity, but never boring.

Veronica Herber  Joy Net


The next highly commended award goes to an epically-scaled work that benefits from a deliberate incongruity. The setting for The Artist in Situ – The War of Art by Jordan Barnes, with its sumptuously upholstered seat and dramatically darkened background, suggests a kind of gravitas, but it’s one that is undercut by the ordinary details of the subject’s attire – the black jeans (I’m assuming that colour), the scruffy boots, the wrinkled shirt. All the drama is concentrated in the figure’s face, but he looks off to the side and the palpable sense of internal conflict gives this work a strong psychological edge.


Jordan Barnes The Artist in Situ – The War of Art 


I mentioned that several works took me to a different place, but one seemed to beckon towards another time. Lisa Call’s Aragon is a richly worked textile that glows with an almost medieval lustre. Its golden surface hums with tightly contained energies, as lines of tight stitching create both texture and depth. Despite the sense of movement, it feels almost ceremonial; a strange and beautiful work.

Lisa Call Aragon


The last of the highly commended works extends the boundaries of what might be considered a drawing. It actually depicts a drawing in progress – the silvery trails left by an assortment of snails spilling out of an overturned container. We can’t be sure whether this spillage is the result of an accident, an escape attempt, or maybe even an invasion, but what we do experience is compelling and entrancing – a squelchy, languorous, slow motion procession in all directions. Every choice Denise Batchelor made in Mark-Making Slowly was perfectly judged: the closeness of the shot, the sultry colour palette, even the way the composition resembles the set up for a Dutch still life painting – when the subjects are anything but still. As the snails perform their gentle explorations, gliding over each other and up slopes, we’re taken into another world entirely and I for one was willing to go.


Denise Batchelor Mark-Making Slowly




2022-Judges comments on the merit and winner

See 2022 Finalist Artwork here

2022 Parkin Prize


Siân Stephens Liam Cutting His Hair After An All-nighter (Wellington) - Not For Sale

Merit Awards

Denise Batchelor Mark-Making, Slowly (Omapere) SOLD

Robyn Penn Hold Time (Auckland)

Veronica Herber Joy Net (Auckland)

Jordan Barnes The Artist in Situ (The War of Art) (New Plymouth)

Sam Dollimore Do You Think Dreams Are Shared Space (Let’s Talk About it Tonight) (Porirua)

Felicity Bergstrom I Captured Your Being (Waipawa) SOLD

Lisa Call Aragon (Paraparaumu) SOLD

Ina Johann Mapping Another Life: A State of Being in Disguise of a Cloud/Glitches 2022 (Christchurch)

Simon Nicholls Rugosity (Hamilton) 

Lea-Anne Sheather Blessings Bequeathed (Whakatane) SOLD

See 2022 Judges comments here

2022 Parkin Drawing Prize Finalists


Rebecca Agnew - The Britney Spears Freedom Galaxy Endowment

Kathy Barber - Plume

Gareth Barlow - In Their Presence You Will Grow

Jordan Barnes - The Artist In Situ ( The War of Art ) MERIT

Denise Batchelor - Mark Making, Slowly MERIT SOLD

Janet Bathgate - Micrographica Anxietacea

Felicity Bergstrom - I Captured Your Being MERIT SOLD

Louie Bretana - Nature Waits Underneath The Concrete

Laura Buchanan - Names Will Never Hurt Us SOLD

Esther Bunning - Celebral Unravel

Esther Bunning / Catherine Daniels - Pixelated Memories

Lisa Call - The Journey

Lisa Call - Aragon MERIT SOLD

Hana Carpenter - Land Body

Greg Chaston - R.N. Barnes

Katherine Claypole - A Temporal Anomaly

Pass the Blue Collective - Restless

Zoe Cromwell - We Are a People of Hope SOLD

Brenna Crump - Boston Terrier

Akiko Diegel - Thinker

Akiko Diegel - David

Inge Kuindersma Doig - Faces in the Sand

Sam Dollimore - Do You Think Dreams Are Shared Space (Let’s Talk About it Tonight) MERIT

Wana Ellison - Vol. 2, pg. 65 SOLD

Leslie Falls - Ophelia and Arthur go to Town Part 2

Nicholas Fields - We Are Made of the Same Stuff SOLD

Stuart Forsyth - Self -portrait

Robyn Gibson - 14 Things SOLD

James Gilbert-Milne - 974:1223

Brett Harfield - 20/20

Raewyn Turner / Brian Harris - Sort

Emily Harris - Down In the Valley By the Stream

Rowan Heap - Tomboy

Vishmi Helaratne - Vishmi’s Web

Lesa Hepburn - Erosion

Veronica Herber - Joy Net MERIT

Veronica Herber - Burnish

Ina Johann - Mapping Another Life  - A State of Being in Disguise of a Cloud/Glitches 2022 MERIT

Locust Jones - Isolation Is Bad For Business

Katherine Joyce-Kellaway - (un)certainty

Motoko Kikkawa - Weathers

Erika Kruger - Freak Show

Helen Lenihan - Scorched Earth 3

Kate MacKenzie - Refugees

Friday Meulengracht-Madsen - MeatSack #2

Rosemary Mortimer - Fragile Worlds SOLD

Deborah Moss - This Is The Place

Kylie Murrle - Metaverse

Samantha Murton - I Don’t Know What The Doctor Said

Debbie Neill - Evanescence lV-ll

Debbie Neill - Evanescence Xl-l SOLD

Gill Newland - Loop de Doo-dle

Simon Nicholls - Rugosity MERIT

Rachel Hope Peary - Scrawl

Robyn Penn - Hold Time MERIT

Roberta Queiroga - The Divorce Dress

Helen Reynolds - Black 1.113 (Doubt and Certainty)

Peter Rive - Untitled (Studio Floor)

Francis Salole - The Ossuary (In Deep Water)

Lea-Anne Sheather - Blessings Bequeathed MERIT SOLD

Louann Sidon - A Kind of Pale Jewel

Margaret Silverwood - Sunflower

Anne-Marie Simon - Sombre SOLD

Madeleine Slavick - In Times Like These

Jo Stallard - There’s Always Something About Gaia

Sian Stephens - Liam Cutting His Hair After An All-nighter WINNER Not for Sale

Jane Tan - Journal Entry  - Air

Ashia Te Moananui - Schizophrenia is the Art of Seeing the Invisible

Emma Theyers - Untitled (Riverton Stone 3)

Cathy Tuato’o Ross - Charites

Briar Tucker - For Just a Moment on the Lips

Greta Umbers - Forecast

Folina Vili - Untitled (hair) diptych

Christopher- David White - Sound of the Crowd

Billy Wilson - Tearing Strips 10

Bonnie Wroe - Jane

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