2020 Clayton Utz Art Award winner announced

Our congratulations go to Henri Van Noordenburg, winner of the 2020 Clayton Utz Art Award, for his work Hiding Place II (2020) – a hand-carved photograph on Hahnemülhe paper.

The judge of this year’s Award Dr Laini Burton, a senior lecturer at Griffith University’s Queensland College of Art, also awarded four Highly Commended places to: Mitchell English, for his painting Heatwave (Van Dyke Brown); Carolyn McKenzie-Craig, with her charcoal dust drawing Roadside Remains; Gerwyn Davies, for Desert (East/West) an archival inkjet print; and Lindy Sale, for her oil painting Ithaca Creek. Clayton Utz Brisbane partners, employees and clients voted for The People’s Choice Prize, which was awarded to Kathy Ellem. Ellem’s oil work Two lefts and a right which depicts a bullock driver is reflective of the artist’s oeuvre of realist paintings portraying Australian rural life.

Van Noordenburg’s winning entry, part of a series titled ‘When a memory becomes a story or a story a memory’, is described by Dr Burton as revealing the artist’s ‘labour of love and desire to develop the medium of photography. Over the course of the last decade, Van Noordenburg has developed this practice of hand carving prints and photographs, a similar process to sgraffito.’ Dr Burton went on to say that the work is ‘a haunting thicket that summons a viewer to entertain an imagined narrative of either untold horror or hope… The work seemingly travels between places in the mind, becoming transformed over time and from one generation to the next as the artist has suggested.’

Henri Van Noordenburg, Hiding Place II, 2020, from the series ‘When a memory becomes a story or a story a memory’, hand-carved photographs on Hahnemülhe paper, 100 x 100cm. Courtesy the artist and Lethbridge Gallery, Queensland

The winners were announced via a virtual presentation conducted by Scott Sharry, partner-in-charge at Clayton Utz’s Brisbane firm. Sharry explained the changes to the 2020 iteration of the Award which has included displaying a video montage of the forty-one finalists’ works, projected on various walls of the firm’s reception, providing a virtual tour in place of their typical Award function.

Viewings of the finalists’ works can be arranged via appointment at Lethbridge Gallery, Queensland.