Loribelle Spirovski | Naked & Nude Art Prize 2021 winner

Congratulations Loribelle Spirovski, winner of the $30,000 acquisitive Naked & Nude Art Prize 2021 for her work Moving House, an oil painting of the artist’s husband whose depicted stance is comparable to Michelangelo’s David.

The biennial Naked & Nude Art Prize is the only award of its kind in Australia and attracts entries from across the country from artists at all stages of their careers and working in all mediums with the winning work acquired by the Friends of the Gallery and donated to Manning Regional Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

Loribelle Spirovski, Moving House, oil on linen. Courtesy the artist and Manning Regional Art Gallery, New South Wales

‘My husband Simon Tedeschi is a concert pianist and I have painted him many times, not only because he is the closest person to me but because I love the lines of his body – they remind me of Michelangelo’s David, both virile and boyish. In this painting, I’ve portrayed him standing, distracted by his phone as he often is, in an environment as bare as him, painted in an impressionistic style that in turn exposes the paint and brushstrokes.

If he had his choice, Simon would spend most of his time at home naked. Having spent so much of his life performing in formal wear and in an atmosphere of decorum, tradition, and fierce concentration, when he returns home, the first thing Simon does is fling off all his outer layers – I see it almost as a way of unburdening himself in preparation for the next sonata or concerto. In the way I have portrayed him, there is nowhere to hide. The performer is gone. He is no longer behind his clothes.’

– Loribelle Spirovski

Regardless of current COVID-19 restrictions, Manning Regional Art Gallery was determined to stay the course and continue with the official announcement of the winner on Saturday 28 August, promoting Spirovski achievement to both the local community and further afield digitally through their website and social media channels.

The theme ‘Naked & Nude’ is an evocative platform for creative inspiration, and artists delve into representations of the human form. With a history dating back to ancient times across many cultures, the exposed human figure is one of the most enduring themes in the visual arts and remains relevant to artists across all disciplines.

Due to current NSW Public Health Orders, it was impossible to bring the judge, artist Wendy Sharpe, to the MidCoast so, for the first time in the 30-year history of the prize, judging took place via virtual walkthrough.

Nick Stathopoulos, Alone in the half-light, acrylic and oil on polyester cotton blend. Courtesy the artist and Manning Regional Art Gallery, New South Wales

In announcing Moving House as the winner of the Naked & Nude Art Prize 2021, Sharpe highlighted the obvious intimacy between the subject and artist; ‘This painting is a disarmingly intimate and personal work; the work is more naked than nude, both painter and sitter have an intimate understanding of each other.’

Sharpe also highly commended works from two other artists, which she believed also showed the intimate relationship between artists and subject: Nick Stathopoulos with the work Alone in the half-light and Dagmar Cyrulla’s work Grateful.

Dagmar Cyrulla, Grateful, oil on linen. Courtesy the artist and Manning Regional Art Gallery, New South Wales

Three other commended works mentioned were Tyler Arnold’s Self Portrait with kitchen knife, Mica Pillemer’s Closing In, and Nicole Kelly’s Ubique.

The Naked & Nude finalists’ exhibition continues until Sunday 10 October 2021 at the Manning Regional Art Gallery in Taree, New South Wales.