'Drawing has always been number one. And line. And in the last three years, the exploration of line has been inspired by Chinese calligraphy … but the best I can do is try to capture the essence of it, and play with that essence of movement, because it is all about movement and line and bringing the two together.' (Ana Pollak to Jill Sykes, Look, July 2008, p 23).
Pollak created this large drawing in her studio on Dangar Island in August 2007. It was worked up from several small preparatory studies made from her dory (rowing boat), in situ up Mullet Creek, which is adjacent to her home. She was
inspired by ‘the gentle way the skeletal framework of the oyster leases at low tide delineate the vast estuarine spaces of the Hawkesbury River’, and by the pattern of dark stakes and their reflection against shimmering water. With a minimum of abbreviated marks, her drawing evokes the broken-up reflections created by the movement of water. Its pacing is sensitive, with drawn marks counterpointed by areas of unmarked white paper. Pollak attributes this delicacy of approach to the influence of music, and what it has taught her about the importance of pauses and silence. 'Mullet Creek' evokes the atmospheric stillness and calm of a landscape that Pollak cherishes, but which is undergoing change. The old oyster farm beds are being progressively removed and replaced with plastic equivalents and new strains of oysters, to counter the pervasive QX virus.
This drawing was the first work by Pollak to enter the Gallery’s collection, and was joined the following year by a small study in graphite, 'Study for Mullet Creek' 2007, gifted to the AGNSW by the artist. In 2012 a hand-drawn film 'Flux',
featuring her drawings of Hawkesbury River water, was purchased by the Gallery.
This work won the Dobell Prize for Drawing in 2007 and was acquired by the Gallery in 2007.
graphite on rice paper
100.0 x 240.0 cm sheet; 106.5 x 245.0 x 4.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Gift of the Trustees of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation 2007
Not on display
© Ana Pollak
Dobell Prize for Drawing (discontinued)
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Dobell Prize for Drawing 2007, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 24 Aug 2007–04 Nov 2007
Contemporary Australian Drawing: 20 Years of the Dobell Drawing Prize:
- Grafton Regional Gallery 15 Feb 2013–24 Mar 2013
- Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Booragul 30 Mar 2013–05 May 2013
- Orange Regional Gallery, Orange 05 Jul 2013–18 Aug 2013
- National Art School, Darlinghurst 29 Aug 2013–06 Oct 2013
- Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, Murwillumbah 18 Oct 2013–24 Nov 2013
- Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra 11 Apr 2014–18 May 2014
Referenced in 16 publications
Elizabeth Fortescue, The Daily Telegraph, 'Oyster stakes her claim to art prize’, pg. 15, Sydney, 24 Aug 2007, 15 (illus.). Pollak pictured standing in front of work.
Elizabeth Fortescue, Herald Sun, 'High stakes, but Dobell winner rows to the occasion’, pg. 95, Melbourne, 27 Aug 2007, 95 (colour illus.).
Rosalie Higson, The Australian, ‘Oysters the pearl of Dobell prize’, pg. 7, Canberra, 24 Aug 2007, 7 (illus.).
Hendrik Kolenberg, Contemporary Australian Drawing: 20 years of the Dobell Prize for Drawing, ‘Introduction’, pg. 6-14, Sydney, 2012, 9, 48, 49 (illus.), 61.
Hendrik Kolenberg, Look, 'A fine harvest of drawings: legacy of an exceptional draughtsman', pg. 28-31, Sydney, Nov 2011, 30, 31 (illus.).
Louise Schwartzkoff, The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Up the creek without a palette: sketch takes prize', pg. 3, Sydney, 24 Aug 2007, 3 (illus.).
Louise Schwartzkoff, The Age, ‘Walking on air: water-bound artist wins Dobell Prize’, pg. 6, Melbourne, 24 Aug 2007, 6 (illus.).
Louise Schwartzkoff., The Age, ‘Water-bound artist wins Dobell Prize’, Melbourne, 24 Aug 2007, (colour illus.). viewed 24.08.2007, http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2007/08/23/1187462438794.html
Sebastian Smee, The Weekend Australian, ‘Pencil it in’, pg. 18, Canberra, 08 Sep 2007-09 Sep 2007, 18 (illus.).
Jill Sykes, Look, 'How last year's Dobell was spent...', pg. 19-23, Sydney, Jul 2008, 19 (colour illus.).
Look, Sydney, Nov 2007, 43 (illus.).
www.abc.net.au, 'Subtle landscape wins Dobell Prize', 23 Aug 2007, (illus.). viewed 23.08.2012, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2007-08-23/subtle-landscape-wins-dobell-prize/648572
the (sydney) magazine, 'Dobell Prize for Drawing', Sydney, Sep 2008, uknown (illus.). Review of Dobell Prize for Drawing 2008
The Canberra Times, ‘Fame for Mullet Creek’, pg. 5, Canberra, 24 Aug 2007, 5 (illus.).
Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser, ‘Mullet Creek takes out Dobell Prize’, pg. 19, Wagga Wagga, 24 Aug 2007, 19 (illus.). Pollak pictured standing in front of work.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Minimalist drawing wins $20,000 Dobell prize', Sydney, 23 Aug 2007, (illus.). viewed 23.08.2007, http://www.smh.com.au/news/arts/minimalist-drawing-wins-20000-dobell-prize/2007/08/23/1187462419805.html