Michael Bell wins Kilgour Prize 2020 with a double self-portrait

Mambo artist and art teacher Michael Bell has won the prestigious Kilgour Prize 2020 with a whimsical double self-portrait titled Starting The after party (Two self-portraits) (2020).

Chosen from more than 350 entries and 30 finalists from across Australia, Bell’s painting depicts the artist standing in front of another self-portrait The after party, which was a finalist in last year’s Kilgour Prize.

Michael Bell, Starting The after party (Two self-portraits), 2020, oil and charcoal on canvas, 130 x 170cm. Artist collection. Courtesy the artist

This year’s $50,000 Kilgour Prize was judged by Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton and invited judges Rachel Arndt, Gallery Programs and Touring Exhibitions Manager, Museums and Galleries of NSW, and Stephen Gilchrist, Curator and Lecturer Art History, The University of Sydney.

The judges were impressed by the composition of the winning painting and details of the studio throughout – the bottle of linseed oil, the motivational quotes stuck up on the wall, the tip of the dog’s nose on the canvas to the right – a nod to some of the artist’s most well-known dog beach works.

A finalists’ exhibition is on display at Newcastle Art Gallery from 1 August to 15 November 2020. Visitors to the show can vote for the $5,000 People’s Choice Award until 5pm, Wednesday 21 October 2020. The winner will be announced Monday 26 October 2020.

The Kilgour Prize 2020 finalists are Elizabeth Austin, Michael Bell, Andrew Bennett, Daniel Butterworth, Lileana Colarelli, Tony Costa, Greg Creek, Dagmar Cyrulla, Tracy Dods, Esther Erlich, Peter Gardiner, Craig Handley, Jacqueline Hennessy, Corinna Howell, Brittany Jones, Erik Krebs-Schade, Bronni Krieger, Kenneth Lambert, Kerry Mcinnis, Joshua Mcpherson, Anh Nguyen, Lori Pensini, Jordan Richardson, Melissa Ritchie, Ben Ryan, Lynn Savery, Wendy Sharpe, An Sheng, Oliver Shepherd and Kylie Melinda Smith.