Melbourne-based emerging artist Lynn Savery has taken out the major $150,000 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (DMNPP ) for her entry, a self-portrait. The Moran Art Foundation along with artist and previous winner of DMNPP, Louise Hearman made the announcement at Paddington’s Juniper Hall in Sydney this morning, Thursday 1 November 2018.
Describing her painting, Savery says ‘This self-portrait expresses who I am and my views. I purposively chose to sit with my legs open wide and to casually lean to one side rather than sit upright to illustrate how body posture contributes to gender stereotypical impressions. Since there is nothing physiological that prevents women sitting with their legs wide apart or for that matter, men sitting with their legs closed, these postural differences are not biologically determined but socially constructed. Moreover, they are not simply imposed from outside but also internalised to the point where they almost appear natural. The pose also creates a dynamic shape and the outfit I am wearing generates an exciting interplay of lines, shapes, colours and contrasts. The magnolias, which are my personal favourite, add yet more pattern and colour. Clementine the English bulldog is a good friend of mine and I wanted to capture her physical and emotional presence in this work.’
The 2018 judging panel of three included Hearman, Ron Radford AM, the former director of the National Gallery of Australia and Greta Moran, Co-Founder and Director Moran Arts Foundation.
‘We admired the meticulous attention to detail and beautiful placement of the figure and her dog in the picture composition. The portrait had a real impact in its direct gaze to the viewer as only a good self-portrait can achieve. Her colouration was finely calculated, overall, a very engaging portrait. The exhibition itself demonstrates the great variety in approaches in Australian portrait painting today from large flamboyant baroque approach on the one hand to tiny intimate, almost miniature approach on the other. It demonstrates completely different styles to such a wellworn subject as the portrait. The exhibition indicates portraiture still has a lively place in the Australian art scene,’ said Radford AM.
‘A painting for me, when I think it is really good, is an object in space that not only makes me think, but also entices me to keep looking at it. Each time I look at it, I see more, I think more and the more it makes me do that, the more it is, in my mind, a good painting. The winning painting is exactly that, an object that we naturally wanted to keep looking at. Each time I look I see fascinating things that make me think. The maker of this painting has an obsessive eye for detail and is also able to make the entire painting sing as a whole. It has emotion, beauty and love of life’s visual stories. The painting is full of invention, sophisticated colour and defiant SPLAT in your face appeal,’ reflected Hearman.
The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize invites entries of original works from Australian artists, which capture Australians from all walks of life, whether a public figure or someone from their own circle.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the prize and in celebration visitors will also have the opportunity to view an additional exhibition featuring many of the winning art works from the past 30 years. Artists include Ben Quilty, Vincent Fantauzzo, Nigel Milsom, Tim Storrier and Prudence Flint.
The finalists exhibition opens at 10am on Friday 2 November at Juniper Hall located at 250 Oxford Street Paddington, and will run until Sunday 16 December 2018. Open to the public Thursday to Sunday, 10-4pm.