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Commercial firm’s artistic side


Cite as: (2007) 81(7) LIJ, p. 15

Melbourne artist Ben Armstrong, whose beautifully crafted works incorporate glass sculpture as well as drawing and printmaking, has won the 2007 Maddocks Art Award.

As a Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) graduate and an occupant of a studio at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Mr Armstrong was eligible for the prize of a study tour to the Venice Biennale in October this year.

Maddocks, a Melbourne and Sydney-based commercial law firm, has a long association with both the VCA and the studios and has sponsored Australia’s representation for the past four Biennales.

In addition, through the award, Maddocks sponsors an emerging Australian artist to attend the exhibition.

The sponsorship, worth $6000, includes a return airfare, accommodation in Venice and an allowance for the week.

Maddocks CEO David Laidlaw said that “in an odd way” the award was even more exciting than the sponsorship of the official Australian Biennale entrant.

“One of our key values is to make a difference. For emerging artists like Ben, getting to see and experience the best contemporary art in the world in one place has a huge impact.”

That impact was clearly evident in the winner of the 2005 Maddocks Art Award, Mira Gojak, Mr Laidlaw said.

“The delight of having her come in afterwards and talk about her experience showed that what we had done had real traction in her practice.”

Mr Armstrong said that he felt very lucky to be chosen for the award, and admired Maddocks’ generosity in funding the study tour.

“It’s an incredibly important way of nurturing and building artists at the ground level,” he said.


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