Thursday, August 30th, 2018
Jess MacNeil
Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize

Congratulations to Jess MacNeil who is a current finalist in the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize for 2018.

Jess’s sculpture Threshold has been announced as a finalist alongside 48 other Australian and international artists. This year there were over 500 entries, which were reviewed by a judging panel comprised of Australian arts administrator Michael Lynch AO CBE, and Director of independent art advisory LoveArt, Amanda Love.

Established in 2001, the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize attracts strong support from artists, collectors and critics and is the first national acquisitive prize for an original, freestanding sculpture of up to 80cm in any dimension. A series of Artists’ Talks and Community Workshops will be presented as part of the program, and the winners will be announced at the launch of the exhibition on 19 October, 2018.

An exhibition of all the finalist sculptures will be presented from Saturday 20th October 2018 until Sunday 11 November 2018 at Woollahra Council Chambers in Double Bay, Sydney.


Jess MacNeil - Threshold - 1.jpg

Image: Jess MacNeil, Threshold, 2018, oil on perspex, 28.9 x 23 x 25.5cm

Artist Statement:

During the lead-up to making Threshold a farcically melodramatic sequence of circumstances steamrollered my life. This onslaught brought intense experiences of pain, death, new life, risk, wonder, grief, love, extreme medical emergencies – including very near death, gruelling recovery, fear, fury, weakness, passion, compassion, vulnerability, betrayal and strength.

Even had I tried, it would be impossible for this turmoil not to imbue my work. Through my practice I have consistently conceptually grappled with how we navigate complexity and contradictions, and my work has become increasingly personal. But Threshold is the most intimate work I have made thus far.

Seventeen ‘slices’ of Perspex construct Threshold, each supporting oil paint applied in fragments, combined to create a contorted woman, her pose a consequence of a diabolical blow, or of her powerful summonsing of inner strength to reassert her push back. The images disappear and re-emerge dependent on vantage point; splintered, volatile, evasive. Acrylic sheet’s unstable light-bearing properties enact improbable refractions and reflections as further appearances and disappearances.

Threshold exploits the ability to be not only ‘both’, but ‘many’ simultaneously, with one perceived image knocked adroitly out of place by another, and another, and another, in intriguingly constructive destruction.

Threshold viscerally, aesthetically and experientially embodies both the intense fragility and humble, immense power and vigour of life force.