Naked & Nude Art Prize winner for 2019

Laura Matthews has won the ‘Naked & Nude Art Prize’ for 2019, with her work titled Sea Creatures, which will become part of the Manning Regional Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

The $30,000 acquisitive ‘Naked & Nude Art Prize’ invites artists from across Australia, who are practicing at all stages of their careers and working in any medium, to submit works which respond to the evocation of the theme ‘Naked & Nude’. 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.

Laura Matthews with her winning work Sea Creatures, oil on canvas, 130 x 110cm. Courtesy the artist and Manning Regional Art Gallery, New South Wales

‘This beautifully composed painting may be a landscape (or seascape), but it is one that pivots around the formation of the two female figures. Their connection to each other and to their beach setting is the true subject of the work,’ noted judge Denise Mimmocchi, Senior Curator Australian Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

‘Despite the agitated surface texture of this painting; one that encapsulates the perpetual motion of the ocean setting, the work exudes a great sense of calm and intimacy. The figures here do indeed appear as ‘sea creatures’ as they are drawn into their environment, and lead us, as viewers, in with them,’ she continued.

The prize also includes two highly commended selections, which have been awarded to Ainslie Wright’s work Ripped for the sense of both trauma and strength, which she inscribes on the figure. And to Michael Simms’ Hostage for the arresting sense of luminosity with which he paints flesh as it emerges from darkness.

The winning works are on display in the ‘Naked & Nude Art Prize 2019’ finalist exhibition until 13 October 2019 at the Manning Regional Art Gallery, Taree. The exhibition is free to the public and offers visitors the chance to have their say and vote in the People’s Choice award, which will be announced at the closing of the show.