The Art Gallery of New South Wales has announced Sydney artist Natasha Walsh as the winner of the 2018 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship for her body of work which includes her self-portrait Dear Frida (2018).
A prestigious national painting prize awarded annually to a young Australian painter aged between 20 and 30 years, the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship includes a three-month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris and $40,000 funding to further recipients’ art education while in Europe.
Walsh, who is currently a finalist in the Archibald Prize and was recently awarded the Newcastle Art Gallery’s Kilgour Prize, joins an alumni of past scholarship recipients that include Ben Quilty, Mitch Cairns and Marcus Wills, all of whom went on to win the Archibald Prize. It seems the odds are in Walsh’s favour.
In her work Walsh examines her own mortality through intricately detailed miniature self-portraits painted on copper. In the close observation of her own appearance, Walsh records the passing of time. Her use of copper as a support for paintings evokes the fluctuating nature of her subject matter as the metal is highly responsive to change until sealed by the layers of paint.
Guest judge Ben Quilty said Walsh’s work, ‘has a quiet yet very self-assured sophistication that belies her youth. The future of Australian painting is in fine hands!’
Quilty selected Walsh from this year’s scholarship finalists who include Otis Hope Carey, Martin Claydon, Danica Firulovic, Holly Greenwood, India Mark, Jason Phu, Jordon Richardson, Monica Rohan, Nick Santoro, Adrian Smith and Myles Young.
Art Gallery of New South Wales director Dr Michael Brand congratulated Walsh as the latest recipient of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship; ‘Her striking small-scale self-portraits have made Natasha a three-time finalist in the Archibald Prize and I look forward to seeing the impact of the scholarship on her practice. With her commitment to painting and her exemplary achievements in recent years, Natasha is a worthy recipient who will undoubtedly make the most of this enriching experience,’ Brand said.
A selection of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship finalist works will be on display at the Brett Whiteley Studio from 7 September to 7 October 2018.