Wynne Prize Finalist Award, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2001
Ildiko Kovacs’ magnificent painting entitled Escarpment was a finalist in the Wynne Prize in 2001. This fine example of her early work reveals a strong sculptural presence and vibrates with rich energy and passion. Ildiko’s work demonstrates a masterful grasp of paint’s materiality, with a bold and direct application of line and colour. She has a dazzling ability to sculpt line as if it were a three-dimensional form rendered flat. A number of these earlier and pivotal works open a dialogue between western traditions of abstraction and indigenous art.
Works by Ildiko Kovacs are held in National Gallery of Australia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Art Gallery of New South Wales; Newcastle Regional Art Gallery; Allen Arthur Robinson Collection; Artbank; Bathurst Regional Art Gallery; Campbelltown City Arts Centre; Gold Coast City Art Gallery; Hamilton Art Gallery, Victoria; Macquarie Bank; Maitland Regional Art Gallery; National Gallery of Australia; National Gallery of Victoria; Riddoch Art Institute; World Bank, Washington DC, USA; Visy Corp, Melbourne; Various private collections
Ildiko Kovacs’ ability to sculpt line, as if it is a three-dimensional form rendered flat, is a signature feature of some of her most-celebrated works. During this period in her oeuvre Kovacs initiated a dialogue between the western tradition of abstraction and Indigenous art. The palette of the subject work accentuates the artist’s focus on the textural qualities of paint, built up in layers to create a distinct sense of both depth and solidity.
In the mid-1990s Kovacs spent 10 months living and working in Broome, beginning a period of engagement with Indigenous artists and their communities. She was particularly moved by the work of Rover Thomas as suggested by the dynamic lines and flat planes of colour that map terrain in a number of her subsequent works.
Kovacs’ painting radiates energy and movement. A sculpted, unbroken line emerges like a pathway through a field of colour, the composition enriched by the tension between the positive and negative spaces that it connects.