NSW artist wins WA’s 2018 Black Swan Prize for Portraiture

NSW artist Antoinette Barbouttis’ life-size charcoal on paper portrait of Greek award-winning film-maker, Alexandra Liveris titled Alexandra has won the 2018 Black Swan Prize for Portraiture – WA’s premier portrait prize worth $50,000 donated by the Lester Group, plus two return tickets to any Singapore Airlines destination to the value of $3,500.

‘Alexandra and I both come from the Greek island of Castellorizo, and we discovered we were fourth cousins twice removed,’ said the artist. ‘In the past few years, I have taken solace in my female contemporaries and she is one of them. My artistic approach is personal, connected, and sustained—elements that I find complement our friendship.’

2018 $50,000 Lester Group Prize Winner – Antoinette Barbouttis, Alexandra

This year’s judges — Joanna Gilmore (Curator, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra), Mathew Lynn (Artist and fifteen times Archibald Finalist), and Dr Stefano Carboni (Director of AGWA) — described Barbouttis’ work as simultaneously powerful and gentle, and demonstrates a palpable connection between artist and sitter, sitter and artist. ‘On close looking, we were struck by the artist’s consummate handling of the medium, and the skill with which she has pushed the possibilities of charcoal without losing its qualities and its capacity for nuance of texture and tone.’

Additional winners include:

Tony Fini Foundation Artist Choice $10,000: Benjamin Aitken (Camberwell, VIC), synthetic polymer paint on canvas titled Jack.

Benjamin Aitken, Jack

Highly Commended: Ruth Leigh (Floreat, WA), oil on canvas titled May Wokka Chapman.

Ruth Leigh, May Wokka Chapman

Highly Commended: Peter Wegner (Diamond Creek, VIC), oil on canvas titled Medicated Man–portrait of G.D.

Peter Wegner, Medicated Man–portrait of G.D.

Also part of the Black Swan Prize for Portraiture Exhibition Season is the Youth competition, featuring 30 youth finalists aged 12-17, which is on public display along with the Salon des Refusés works until 23 November 2018 in Towers 1 and 2 of Brookfield Place, 125 St Georges Terrace, Perth. Winners of the Youth prizes will be announced on 7 November 2018.

Voting for the Baldock Family People’s Choice Award closes on the last day of the finalists’ exhibition which is currently on display in the Centenary Galleries at the Art Gallery of Western Australia until 26 November 2018.