Kelly Austin wins the STILL: National Still Life Award for 2019

Kelly Austin from Hobart, Tasmania is the winner of Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery’s $30,000 ‘STILL: National Still Life Award’ for 2019.

The winning work, Stilled Composition 43 (2018), is a three-dimensional ceramic composition that seeks balance between warm and cool, heavy and light, positive and negative.

‘I’m humbled to be recognised alongside all the other artists here tonight, it is a tremendous honour – this award reinforces a sense of meaning in the work and acknowledges that I’ve made a valuable contribution to the art world,’ said Austin. ‘It encourages me to continue taking risks, asking questions and finding comfort in the unknown.’

Kelly Austin, Stilled Composition 43, 2018, ceramic, timber, acrylic paint, 48 x 148 x 38cm

The ‘STILL: National Still Life Award’ is a biennial, acquisitive award for artworks in the genre of still life, in all mediums, and open to artists at all stages of their careers. Over the years it has highlighted the diversity and vitality of still life in Australian contemporary art practice, broadening the interpretation and meaning of this enduring genre.

Kelly Austin with winning work, Stilled Composition 43

This year there were over 750 entries, of which 59 works were selected as finalists, currently on show at Coffs Regional Gallery until 30 November 2019.

The 2019 judge – Rebecca Coates, Director Shepparton Art Museum – described how art prizes can be ‘life-changing for artists’ and when the winning artwork joins the gallery’s collection, ‘it will be enjoyed for generations to come; it becomes part of this place and these people.’

‘We need artists,’ she stated. ‘It is artists who often find a language for difficult things, who make a space for creativity and bring people together.’

She awarded four commendations to Sue Bell of Port Macquarie, Fiona Currey-Billyard of Nambucca Heads, Helen Earl of Sydney and Stephanie Theobald of Geeveston, Tasmania.

Voting for the popular People’s Choice Award, worth $5,000, will take place until 1 November 2019, giving locals the chance to vote for their favourite artwork.