Leah Bullen wins the 2021 Stanthorpe Art Prize

Congratulations to Armidale-based artist Leah Bullen, winner of the 2021 Stanthorpe Art Prize with her watercolour, Memoryscape (Garden with sunflowers and pencil pines).

‘I started this work of a garden before the hardest part of the drought,’ said Bullen. ‘For me, gardens and gardening have always been a place and an activity centred around family, the beauty of nature and tranquillity. Memoryscape has gained a new currency over this challenging summer. It is a landscape of personal memories, daydreams and nostalgia — a landscape of ecological grief.’

Leah Bullen, Memoryscape (Garden with sunflowers and pencil pines), watercolour, gouache and monotype on paper, 79 x 85cm

Bullen was awarded the $22,000 Best in Show as well as the $3,500 2D Painting/Drawing category, announced at a gala opening of the finalists’ exhibition on Friday 19 February, and opened by Philip Bacon AM.

The judges – Simon Wright (QAGOMA) and Rachael Parsons (New England Regional Art Museum) – highlighted Bullen’s accomplishment in a tricky and unforgiving medium. Wright said, ‘I can smell that scene. It’s like comfort food’ while Parsons commented on the outstanding quality of the beauty, texture, depth and colour in the work, balanced with the conceptual and technical vigour.

Full list of 2021 Stanthorpe Art Prize winners:

Best in Show $22,000 – Memoryscape (Garden with sunflowers and pencil pines), Leah Bullen

2D awards:
Painting/drawing $3,500 – Memoryscape (Garden with sunflowers and pencil pines), Leah Bullen
Print media $3,500 – Harrigans Lane Horizon, Renata Buziak
Mixed/crafted $3,500 – Big Jim, Joy Ivill

3D awards:
Modelled/carved $3,500 – Banksia Integrifolia Vessel with Blue Wren, Fiona Hiscock
Cast $3,500 – Textural Story of Hope, Kirsten Perry
Composite/assemblage $3,500 – Suck Eggs’ a send up of the colonial table centrepiece, Trevor Dunbar

Emerging Artist $2,000 – Say hooray if you’ve had a good day, KHR Stewart
Local Artist $2,000 – Chalcopyrite, Yve Gray
Youth $1,500 – It’s not just a dog, Jacqui L Close
Public Choice $1,500 (to be awarded at the conclusion of the exhibition)

The 2021 Stanthorpe Art Prize finalists exhibition is on view at Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery in Queensland from 20 February to 18 April 2021. All works are available for purchase.