Photographic artist Justine Varga has taken out the 2019 Dobell Drawing Prize, an acquisitive award worth $30,000. Presented by the National Art School in association with the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation, the biennial prize celebrates the significance of drawing within contemporary art practice. Varga’s winning artwork, Photogenic Drawing, challenges the traditional distinctions between photography and drawing, positing that photography is “drawing with light”. The work will form the centrepiece of an exhibition at the National Art School Gallery in Sydney, featuring the finalists of this year’s prize.

Justine Varga with her  Photogenic Drawing. Photo © Peter Morgan

“Drawing is a fundamental part of many visual art practices,” said Ben Quilty, the judge for this year’s Prize. “The winner of the Dobell Drawing Prize #21 uses drawing in the most meaningful and sophisticated way. Her work is a distillation of so many components of our collective lives. Drawing plays a pivotal role in this artist’s exploration of us all. The winning work is a powerful, playful and sophisticated 21st-century drawing and a deserved winner.”

Varga’s work was created by drawing on and daubing a negative with ink and pigment during its long exposure. The artist...

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