Fire and devastation inspire winning work

Australian bushfires have caused 800 human deaths, killed billions of animals and caused immeasurable environmental devastation since 1851.

Worse still, statistics state 50 per cent of fires are caused by human activity, including arson and carelessness.

Dianne Fogwell’s artist book “Inferno” explores this destructive history and has taken out the $7000 Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal National Artists’ Book Award at this year’s Libris Awards.

Inferno is an eye-catching collection of linocut, woodcut and burnt drawings.

Dianne Fogwell explained the work was a unique piece culminating from months of

cutting, printing and learning about the facts of fire and Australia’s worst fires.

“We cry for damage, loss of flora and fauna, donate money and time, but still history repeats

and I ask myself ‘what have we learnt’?” Fogwell said.

The 2020 Libris Awards: The Australian Artists’ Book Prize winners were announced live to a national audience of arts enthusiasts, including many of the 120 entrants, on Facebook.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the Libris Awards allowed Artspace Mackay to continually expand its artists’ book collection to the point where it was the envy of most galleries in Australia.

“Our artists’ book collection is one of the most significant collections in Australia, and I have to pay tribute to Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal for their continued sponsorship that allows us to acquire the winning entry and runner-up each year,” Cr Williamson said.

One of two guest judges and Rare Printed Collections manager at State Library Victoria Des Cowley said the calibre of entrants received by the Libris Awards attested to Artspace Mackay’s

capacity to attract the very best work of artists currently making artists’ books.

“In looking over our final list (of 60 finalists), I am struck by the diversity and vitality of the form itself,” Cowley said.

“The very idea of the book, it seems, is far from being exhausted,” he said.

“These artists have demonstrated that the book can be interrogated, stretched, pushed to its very limit.

“At the same time, they are intent on creating works that reflect the beauty and mystery inherent in the form itself.”

The $3000 highly commended recipient this year was Lyn Ashby for The Light Down There.

All 60 finalists are now on display at Artspace Mackay in the FIELD Engineers Gallery until September 13.

The gallery is has returned to normal opening hours, and out-of-town artists’ book enthusiasts can view the exhibition online at artspacemackay.com.au via a digital exhibition.