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Australian art

Contemporary art

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Mullet Creek



Ana Pollak


1958 -


'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.


Place where the work was made

Dangar Island Sydney New South Wales Australia



Media category


Materials used

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

Accession number


Dobell Prize for Drawing

Winner - 2007

Artist information

Ana Pollak

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

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.).

Lisa Hudson (Editor), the (sydney) magazine, 'Dobell Prize for Drawing', Sydney, Sep 2008, uknown (illus.). Review of Dobell Prize for Drawing 2008

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.).

Paul McLoughlin (Editor), 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.

Alan Oakley (Editor), The Sydney Morning Herald, 'Minimalist drawing wins $20,000 Dobell prize', Sydney, 23 Aug 2007, (illus.). viewed 23.08.2007,

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,

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.).

Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, Sydney, Nov 2007, 43 (illus.).

Jack Waterford (Editor), The Canberra Times, ‘Fame for Mullet Creek’, pg. 5, Canberra, 24 Aug 2007, 5 (illus.)., 'Subtle landscape wins Dobell Prize', 23 Aug 2007, (illus.). viewed 23.08.2012,