THIS month, a weather-scarred boulder weighing more than a tonne will take centre stage at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney. It will have made its journey there on the back of a truck driven by an obliging property owner on behalf of artist Peter Sharp after having been prised from its resting place at Fowler’s Gap, 140km north of Broken Hill in far western NSW. Clustered around this monolith will be small sculptures made from sticks, leaves and other natural ­materials, alongside a weathered 5.5m wooden sculpture bleached silver by the elements.

“I’ve been drawing this place for 25 years or more, and I decided I wanted to bring a witness back, an artefact,” Sharp says in a phone call to ­Review on his way to the Jacaranda Drawing Award in Grafton. “And if we have enough money, I want to take it back at the end of the show and put it back in exactly the same place.”

This rustic tableau of built and found objects, along with a group of charcoal drawings, represents Sharp’s exhibit in the inaugural Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial, the replacement for the Dobell Prize for Drawing held annually at the AGNSW. First awarded in 1993, the acquisitive prize was initiated by the AGNSW and the trustees of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation — established from the estate of the Australian artist — to encourage excellence in drawing and draughtsmanship. 


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