I have a confession to make. I used to be a jeweller. Or perhaps I still am. I could stand up in a meeting and say, “Hi. My name is Tracey and I’m a jeweller.” After all, once you become obsessed with detail and precision you never really get over it. Perfectionism is an addiction that haunts jewellers. So I was secretly rather pleased to hear that Julia deVille, a fellow sufferer, won the 2013 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize.
Julia deVille, who is also a taxidermist, won with Sorrow, a stillborn deer (not a murdered Bambi, as she deliberately points out), curled up as if asleep on a silver platter. It would be cute if it wasn’t for the glistening red wound in its tiny furry chest. The piece is filled with pathos, or maybe it’s pathetic. The fact that this is a very fine line is no coincidence since the two words have a common Greek ancestor.
It’s easy enough to see why deVille took home the prize. Thought provoking, guilt inducing and oozing affect, her dead critter certainly stands out within the context of the show. Presented with a jeweller’s eye for detail, Deville’s work is dramatic (melodramatic even) and it is able to hold its own in difficult exhibition circumstances.
The Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize restricts entries by size alone. There is no curatorial theme and the result resembles a small sculpture jumble sale; there are some nice pieces there, but you have to search and nothing on show is really looking its best.
The Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize is on until November 10 at the Woollahra Council Chambers, Double Bay.