The 2019 Mosman Art Prize winner is artist Paul Kelleher

We congratulate New South Wales artist Paul Kelleher who was awarded the $50,000 acquisitive Mosman Art Prize by judge, artist and former Prize winner, Guan Wei, at the official ‘Mosman Art Prize’ exhibition launch at Mosman Art Gallery on the evening of Tuesday 10 September.

Kelleher’s winning entry, titled The party is over, 2019, is an oil and mixed media painting, which portrays a series of intricate depictions of tiny figures, Australian wildlife and farm animals, snippets of the Australian bush and farm life, and paintbrushes and other curious objects superimposed over a large Australian $100 banknote.

Paul Kelleher, The party is over, 2019, oil and mixed media on canvas, 102 x 152.5cm. 2019 Mosman Art Prize winner. Courtesy the artist and Mosman Art Gallery

‘Australia is under construction, socially, economically and environmentally. The windmill has gone and balloons are not far behind. We are riding a wave of discontent but no longer riding the sheep’s back…To the Chinese the rooster means high fidelity and honesty, which to me is also on its way out’ said Kelleher. ‘The party is over.’ Where do we go from here?,’ he asks.

Commenting on Kelleher’s work, Wei shared ‘The new ideas presented in this intriguing painting caught my eye. I was impressed by the use of imagery and the fresh composition. The painstaking level of detail within the painting reminded me of the work of Dutch artist M.C Escher and clearly demonstrates the artist’s outstanding technical ability. The painting captures a feeling of change, and perhaps a feeling of uncertainty.’

The 2019 Mosman Art Prize is Australia’s oldest and most recognised local government art award and this year received 670 artist entries from across Australia, and which saw 88 finalist’s paintings selected for the show.

The prize also includes the ‘Margaret Olley Commendation Award’ awarded to Karlee Rawkins from Glennifer, NSW for Tiger tribe, 2019. The ‘Allan Gamble Award (for built environment)’ was won by Zengping Lai from Sydney for Backyards, 2019. And the ‘Guy Warren Emerging Artists’ Award’ was presented to Lachlan Gromek of Shellharbour, NSW for Ian Connors’ revenge, 2019.

The winning and finalists works are on display at Mosman Art Gallery until 27 October. The exhibition is free to the public. Public programs include an artist talks event, tours and life drawing workshop will accompany the exhibition.

Mosman Art Gallery