Now living in Victoria, Rodda painted his winning artwork to depict a scene from the Tasmanian highlands. It is titled Looking South from the Labyrinth to Mount Olympus and Lake St Clair. Rodda’s work was selected from an initial field of 260 entries. The independent judging panel viewed an eclectic collection of 42 paintings selected as finalists, before awarding the $40,000 prize to Mark Rodda.
Rodda first entered Australia’s richest annual landscape art prize in 2011. “The Glover Prize name resonates, like the name Turner resonates in the Turner Prize, because it immediately evokes the memory and standing of the great artists of the 19th Century,” he said.
“My childhood experiences growing up in New Norfolk still remind me of the uniqueness of the Tasmanian landscape; specifically the mountainous nature of the terrain. Tasmania’s colour and light attracted Glover. As a contemporary artist, it is quite stimulating to work with the unique light and colour, and undulating horizons that prevail in Tasmania.
“The painting was a challenge inasmuch as I almost never paint in a realistic style. This is one of the first large-scale paintings I have created this way. Most of my previous works are imaginary representations. I feel this has given me the encouragement as an artist to extend my range into more naturalistic landscapes.
“Winning the Glover Prize could not have come at a more opportune time. We are expecting our second child in the next few weeks, so the prize money is a wonderful gift to welcome the new addition to our growing family.”
The three independent judges issued a statement about the winning Glover Prize entry saying that Mark Rodda’s work is a very curious painting. "When you look at it you cannot be sure exactly where, as a viewer of the scene, you are meant to be standing. It's as if the land is falling away, dropping away beneath you, so that you are floating, disembodied. To achieve this, Mark Rodda has been exceptionally inventive in the ways he has composed the painting. The lakes are on a high plateau, from the vantage point of the viewer, one can see that the land drops off both at the front and in the background of the painting.
"It's clear that Mark Rodda knows this country well. There are moments when the textures of the landscape are present on the canvas. Also, in the handling of the paint, one is aware of the ways the clouds are reflected in the water: it makes the viewer think he or she is there. The challenge is to harness Glover's capacity to communicate through the medium of landscape painting, and to consider the value of the Tasmanian landscape as a vehicle for talking about the world around us and the things that matter."
John Glover Society chairman Andrew Heap said Rodda was worthy winner in an extremely strong field of exceptional finalists. “The committee and independent judging panel jointly congratulate Mark on winning the Glover Prize and we look forward to exhibiting his work with the other 10 Glover Prize winning entries from past years. It is certainly a superb addition to the Glover Collection,” Mr Heap said.
The Glover Prize exhibition will run continuously over the current long-weekend (March 8-11, 2014) at the Falls Park pavilion in Evandale, near Launceston.
The Glover Prize is the richest annual prize for landscape painting in Australia. It is awarded for the work judged the best contemporary landscape painting of Tasmania. Entry is open to amateur and professional local, interstate, and international artists.
The John Glover Society Inc. awards the Glover Prize. The winner receives $40,000 plus a bronze Marquette of John Glover by Peter Corlett, valued at $5,000. All other exhibited entries are eligible for the People’s Choice Award of $3,000. The Glover Prize is acquisitive; the People’s Choice Award is non-acquisitive.
More details about John Glover the artist, the John Glover Society, the Glover Prize, and past winners can be found at www.johnglover.com.au. Read more abuout Mark Rodda's win in the Mercury and at the Examiner.