Portia Geach Memorial Award finalists for 2018

Fifty finalists have been announced for Australia’s most distinguished portrait prize for female artists, the ‘Portia Geach Memorial Award’. This is an annual $30,000 prize which was established in 1961 by Florence Kate Geach, in memory of her sister, artist Portia Geach. It recognises an Australian female artist for the best portrait painted from life of a man or woman distinguished in art, letters or the sciences. Administered by the Award Trustee Perpetual.

Clare Thackway, Portrait of Lynda (Lynda Draper, ceramicist), oil and acrylic on linen 61 x 76.3cm. Courtesy the artist and S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney

Born in 1873 in Melbourne, Portia Geach studied with John Singer Sargent and Lawrence Alma-Tadema in London and was also a lifelong activist for women’s rights. She established the Housewives Progressive Association of New South Wales, The Housewives Magazine in 1933 and the Progressive Journal two years later to promote issues such as equal pay for women and the right to hold public office.

The judging panel for this year’s award comprised Samantha Meers, of Trustee of Art Gallery of New South Wales, Natalie Wilson, Curator of Australian and Pacific Art at The Art Gallery of New South Wales and Director S.H Ervin Gallery, Jane Watters.

A number of artists have entered self portraits for the award and other well-known sitters this year include Maggie Beer, cook; Bruce Beresford, filmmaker; Jane Caro, writer; Kate Fitzpatrick, actor; John Waters, actor; Ann Thomson, artist; Georgia McDonald, musician; Simon Tedeschi, concert pianist and Jess Miller, Deputy Lord Mayor, City of Sydney.

Jeska Valk, Georgia Maq (Georgia McDonald, musician) oil on linen 145 x 155cm. Courtesy the artist and S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney

The 2018 Finalists
Kate Beynon: Demi-ghost guardian with tangerine and kindred spirits Kate Beynon (self portrait)
Joanna Braithwaite: Bird Watcher (self portrait)
Gina Bruce: Ann Thomson (artist)
Ann Cape: Elsa (Elsa Atkin, arts administrator)
Dagmar Cyrulla: Stillness (self portrait)
Sinead Davies: Self portrait-after surgery
Yvonne East: Self portrait
Nicolette Eisdell: Dr. Anne Noonan, psychiatrist & Jungian analyst
Esther Erlich: Teaser (self portrait)
Monika Feuerstein: Balance (self portrait)
Pamela French: Myself – Still Life
Jane Guthleben: Self portrait in puffer jacket
Ildiko Hammond: Self-Portrait
Sophie Haythornwaite: What Remains (Denise Leith, author)
Sophia Hewson: Untitled (birth plan) (self portrait)
Michelle Hiscock: The Actor (Kate Fitzpatrick, actor)
Josephine Josephsen: Fr Andrew SJ (Father Andrew Bullen SJ, Jesuit Priest)
Sally Kay: Maggie (Maggie Beer, cook, restaurateur and author)
Janne Kearney: Time’s up! (Teah Raeburn, student/model)

Joanna Braithwaite, Bird Watcher (self portrait). Courtesy the artist and S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney

Nicole Kelly: The bath (self portrait)
Sandra Lalapoulos: Alexander McKenzie (artist)
Jessica Le Clerc: Mercy (Anna McGahan, actress & playwright)
Kim Leutwyler: Cole (Nicole Rodriquez, visual artist)
Kathrin Longhurst: The Mariner (Anthony Longhurst, mariner)
Effie Mandalos: Portrait of Ciaran Daly (professional mixed martial artist)
Marie Mansfield: Jane Caro (writer, social commentator, lecturer, speaker, columnist, mentor, facilitator)
Alison Mitchell: Me (self portrait)
Lix North: Provocateur (self portrait)
Susan O’Doherty: Self-Portrait In Blue Dress
Alice Pulvers: Portrait of Lucy with Oriental Carpets (Lucy Pulvers, artist)
Lucy Pulvers: Self-Portrait
Jude Rae: Portrait of the Artist’s Mother – Val at 93 (Valerie Rae)
Sally Ross: Zara (Zara Sigglekow, curator and writer)
Brenda Runnegar: Fergus (Fergus Thomson, Barrister)
Raelene Sharp: A journey through time (Leonard Alden, artist)
Wendy Sharpe: Jill McKay with Eye Patch (actor and artist model)
Kerryl Shirley: Professor Helen Verran (Professor of Philosophy)
Loribelle Spirovski: In search of lost time (Simon Tedeschi, concert pianist)
Kate Stevens: Motherhood (Portrait of the Artist’s Son, Ananta Bajracharya)
Clare Thackway: Portrait of Lynda (Lynda Draper, ceramicist)
Pam Tippett:  John Waters, actor and musician
Jeska Valk: Georgia Maq (Georgia McDonald, musician)
Deborah Walker: The Compass (Georgia as Amy Johnson) (Georgia Gibbs, literature student)
Christine Webb: Visiting Elisabeth (Elisabeth Cummings and Robin Lawrence, artists)
Leigha White: Aunty Francis Bodkin (botanist, environmental scientist, University of Western Sydney elder on campus)
Zoe Young: Drawing Storyboards (Bruce Beresford, film and opera director)
Zoe Young: My Kinda Covergirl  – Councillor Jess Miller (Jess Miller, Deputy Lord Mayor)
Yvonne Zaygo:  A man in bed with his dog (A portrait of Iain Dean) (artist)
Caroline Zilinsky: Spring Never Came (self portrait)
Tianli Zu: M  (Monika Tu, business executive, philanthropist)
Michelle Zuccolo: Addressing winter (Self portrait)

The winner of the 2018 Portia Geach Memorial Award will be announced at 7pm on Thursday 11 October with an exhibition of all finalists open to the public from 12 October until 2 December, at the S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks.