Friday, 24 June 2011

Prizes at the Art Gallery

Last night Tony and I were invited by Michael Moynahan CEO of HarperCollins to a private viewing of the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman paintings and sculptures on display at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

We were greeted at the Gallery entrance with a glass of champagne and a very informative and entertaining off the cuff chat from Edmund Capon explaining the history of the three prizes.

$50,000 is awarded to the winner of the Archibald Prize for portrait painting, $25,000 to the Wynne Prize winner for landscape painting or figurative sculpture and $20,000 to the Sulman Prize winner for subject, genre or mural painting.

I loved Ben Quilty’s award winning portrait of the amazing Margaret Olley. Margaret’s wonderfully quirky character just flew off the canvas.

The Packing Room Prize winner Vincent Fantauzzo’s portrait of Chef Matt Moran was posed in Matt’s cool room and was amazing.  It must have been uncomfortable for Matt and Vincent to work and pose in the cold suroundings.

The people’s choice of award winning author J M Coetzee by Adam Chang certainly showed the aura around this very private man.

I had a lump in my throat observing Angus McDonald’s portrait of the late Dr Ann Lewis. Her face was etched with pain and stoicism and was most poignant.

The Wynne Prize of a sculpture of an upside down motorcycle resting in what I think was a rickshaw was interesting and I know has perplexed many people. Richard Goodwin’s title for the work 'Co-isolated Slave' had me giving it a lingering look to work out why he came up with this title. I’m still in the dark.

Edmund told the audience that the main controversy for the year was the Sulman Prize judge Peter Bell's admission that he choose the winner by the toss of a coin. Peter Smeeth was the fortunate winner for his painting 'The Artist’s Fate'.

The amount of bright primary colours in the paintings did lift my spirits and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

Written by Barbara

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