Mary Tonkin wins the 2022 Holding Redlich People’s Choice Award

Congratulations to Melbourne-based painter Mary Tonkin, winner of this year’s $3,000 Holding Redlich People’s Choice Award with her landscape painting titled Hot kiss, Kalorama, 2021; part of the 2022 Salon des Refusés: The alternative Archibald & Wynne Prize selection exhibition recently shown at S. H. Ervin Gallery in Sydney.

On learning of her win, Tonkin said, “I’m thrilled to hear the news and particularly delighted that a landscape has won the Holding Redlich People’s Choice this year. I’m hoping it’s an indication of a shift in our culture; away from an obsession with ourselves toward a veneration of the landscape that sustains us.”

Mary Tonkin, Hot kiss, Kalorama, 2021, oil on linen, 180 x 180cm. Photograph: Matthew Stanton

Tonkin paints extraordinarily detailed compositions, seeking to convey sensations and emotions that arise in response to the surrounding bushland, grappling with changing light over the weeks and months creating the work.


Hot kiss, Kalorama was made entirely en plein air in bush on my family’s farm at Kalorama in the Corhanwarrabul (Dandenong Ranges), East of Narrm (Melbourne) during late Summer and early Autumn.

In this spot the bush is dominated by Brown Stringybark and Messmate gums (Eucalyptus baxteri and obliqua) with an understory of Prickly Currant Bush (Coprosma quadrifida) and Bracken Fern (Pteridium esculentum). It is named after the memory of a particular kiss; the somewhat shattering tingle and sparkle of which seemed alive in the forms as I painted them.”

– Mary Tonkin.


The Salon des Refusés is a much loved “alternative” to the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Archibald prize for portraiture and Wynne prize for landscape painting, offering a new platform for entries to be on display.

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