The annual Paddington Art Prize is a national acquisitive award for a painting inspired by the Australian landscape – a significant contemporary genre with a long tradition in Australian painting and a key contributor to our national ethos.
With over 1,200 entries received, this year’s judges – artist/educator Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran on behalf of himself, artist Tony Costa and curator Katrina Cashman – were faced with the task of selecting approximately 20 works each from digital submissions to arrive at the finalist selection of approximately 54 entries from which the prizes were awarded.
‘We commenced the judging process by reflecting on the cultural and professional significance of prizes in a contemporary art context, understanding the struggles many artists face and the transformative potential of this type of recognition and financial bursary. This was to ensure ethical proceedings,’ expressed the judging trio in an official statement.
The winning works were selected based on the following criteria:
Evidence of commitment to artistic practice with Australian landscape painting as a core conceptual interest;
A fresh and contemporary contribution to the genre that acknowledges the vibrancy and complexity of this landscape we are privileged to inhabit;
Formal and technical resolution.
And so, the 2018 winners are;
Al Poulet’s Untitled (Gully) received the $30,000 overall prize. The work ‘conjured associations of the density and complexity of the Australian bush. There is also a highly convincing imaginative and speculative dimension to the work. Looking at it, we imagined wading through a dense landscape, pushing through branches while hearing koalas screech. We acknowledged the legacy of painters like Tony Tuckson and the artist’s father, Peter Poulet. We see much promise in this young painter and believe this award will yield transformative benefits at a pivotal stage in his career. Particularly, as he has recently joined the community of artists in Wedderburn,’ explain the judges.
Fiona Lowry’s My Mother’s Far Embrace received the $3,000 Honorable Mention.
‘This work stood out as a unique and contemporary take on the genre of Australian landscape painting with a clarity of communication reflective of rigorous studio practice and commitment. The lurid palette with reference to the lens and digital culture imparted a metaphysical dimension to the work that poetically gestured towards the landscape as a metaphor to describe internal topographies and human emotions.’
Remnin Alexander Tayco’s, Evergreen was awarded the $1,000 Sydney Art Store voucher for its ‘highly technical and poetic interpretation of the Australian landscape, executed with confidence and nuance. We were drawn to the idiosyncrasy of the artist’s approach to the genre of realism. His monochromatic approach (working solely with shades of green) and playful use of perspective made it sing in a quietly reflective, engaging manner.’
The Cicada Press limited edition print creation with master printmaker Michael Kempson at UNSW Art & Design was awarded to Belem Lett for River Reflection (After Boyd).
‘This award acknowledges a striking work that makes an original contribution to the genre of Australian landscape painting. We believe the artist’s vernacular would lend itself to the etching process in a meaningful and exciting way with potential to extend his visual language and practice.’
Justine Muller received the Sofala Cottage Residency for Dreaming of Rain Clouds
‘This award acknowledges a young artist who demonstrates rigour and commitment to the tradition of plein air painting. The work that blends imagination and observation in a fresh and communicative way. We acknowledged the artist’s skilful use of materials and believe she will be able to dedicate her time at Sofala cottage to further her painterly explorations.’
The inaugural Defiance Gallery Award invited Michelle Hungerford, for her work Wood for the trees, and Andre Bowen, for The Grove, to exhibit with Defiance Gallery at Mary Place Gallery in 2019. Both artists will partake in a 3-week residency at ‘Giverny’ the Nock Art Foundation residency in Queenstown, NZ compliments of Michael Nock.
A finalists’ exhibition is currently on show at Menzies Art Brands, 12 Todman Avenue, Kensington NSW, until 22 September 2018.