Friday, 26 March 2010

Sam Leach wins Wynne Prize

Sam Leach: Proposal for landscaped cosmos
copyright the artist

Sam Leach has won the Wynne Prize 2010 (AUS$25,000) for his landscape Proposal for landscaped cosmos. His painting style emulates 17th century Dutch painting. The painting for me prompts thoughts of the South Sea Bubble which, given his overall direction and emphasis on painting the offices of the corporate world, is maybe intended as a commentary on the dire state of global financial affairs - but that's just a guess on my part!

I do love his painting though - he captures the style of Dutch landscape painting perfectly. I'll leave it to the Australians to judge whether it reminds them of the Australian landscape.

The painting can be seen from 27 March – 30 May 2010 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales after which it leaves for a tour of Australian Art Galleries (see end).

The Wynne Prize is awarded to what the judges consider to be the best landscape painting of Australian scenery in oils or watercolours, or for the best example of figure sculpture by an Australian artist. This year there were 798 entries for the Wynne. The Archibald and Wynne prizes are both judged by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales

Sam Leach has also won the Archibald Prize 2010 (AUS$50,000) with a portrait of Tim Minchin. This is the second year in Archibald’s history that an artist has won both the Archibald and the Wynne prizes in the same year, the first being William Dobell in 1948.
Born in Adelaide in 1973 and based in Melbourne, Leach has a Bachelor of Arts, Honours (Painting) and a Master of Art (Fine Arts) from RMIT University. He won the Metro5 Art Award and the Fletcher Jones Prize in 2006 and the Eutick Memorial Still Life Award in 2007. He has had ten solo shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide and has been represented in various group shows. This is his fourth consecutive year in the Archibald Prize.
Sam Leach has been consistently being listed for and winning prizes for his paintings since 2004. What I find fascinating is that his first degree is in economics and that he worked for years in the Australian Tax Office before becoming a full time painter - which provides a powerful message that there is hope for us all! ;)

This list of Wynne Prizewinners from 1897 to the present day is maintained on the website of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

It's great to see a country proud of its landscape and giving prominence to a landscape art prize. I do wish there was something similar for the UK.

Touring dates:
For those living in Australia, the touring dates and venues for the exhibition are on the website:
  • 11 June — 11 July 2010 Goulburn Regional Art Gallery
  • 22 July — 22 August 2010 Wagga Wagga Art Gallery
  • 30 August — 24 September 2010 Tamworth Regional Gallery
  • 4 October — 27 October 2010 Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery
  • 4 November — 5 December 2010 Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre
  • 14 December — 18 January 2011 Shoalhaven City Arts Centre
  • 27 January — 3 March 2011 Albury Art Gallery and Library Museum

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