Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Wynne Prize 2012 - Selected artists and winner

The Wynne Prize for landscape painting or figure sculpture seeks to identify the best contemporary landscape painting in Australia or figure sculpture of Australian scenery.

Apart from the prestige, the monetary value of the prize for this art competition is US$35,000 in 2012. (£22,716 / US$36,032)

I don't think there has been enough Australian Art on this blog to date so prepare for a surfeit!

This post identifies both the finalists and the 2012 winner of The Wynne Prize and says something about the history of the Wynne Prize.

[I was writing my post about the 2013 Prize and came back to reference this one - which I can well remember writing - only to discover I'd not quite finished it and it wasn't published it - so a year late here it is!]

Wynne Prize 2012 - Finalists

The 32 finalists cover the range of ways in which artists in Australia interpret their landscape - see below for images of their entries and links to their websites

BELOW are the finalists.  
  • Click the links in the name to see the selected artist's website, blog or gallery.  
  • Click this link to see the images produced by the 32 finalists for the Wynne Prize 2012 - and then on the image to see an image in more detail. (Tip:  If you start with the first and then press the arrow to the right of the image you can work your way through all 32 images)
I've also included a sentence about each work - taken from the page dedicated to the selected artwork, where artists in general have a lot more to say about their work. I think these commentaries will give all readers of this blog pause for through about the way landscape art can be stimulated and interpreted.

I recommend that people look through all the images if you're in any way interested in landscape art.

I've commented on some but not all of the artworks.  Do let me know what you think too and identify which are your favourites.

I sooooooo wish we had a prize like this in the UK!

  • Ernest Aaron - Untitled  The painting depicts a dense crowd of figures in the landscape, pictured through a pattern of highly contrasted, interlocking, black and white shapes.  I think this work must have started from a photograph.  
  • Jason Christopher - Battery hens The work is ergonomic, animal friendly, efficient and easy to maintain. It leaves you with that guilt-free feeling that only technology can deliver. A 3D work - heavy with irony.
  • Kevin Connor - Moonlight Bay (Watson's Bay) A painting has to speak for itself, stand alone, a thing within itself. Art is only in the making. If you can spare a little silent time to look at this painting, please do so with my thanks. Kevin Connor, 2012
  • David Egan - Reality dreamer  represents the chaotic world that we live in and the overload of images that constantly bombard us.  Q. Does this painting use the patterns and perspectives of the Aboriginal dreamtime artwork to create a contemporary commentary on modern life?  I'm not quite sure what to make of the squiggles - do they mean anything?
  • Robert Ewing - The passing storm I am intrigued by the elusive qualities of landscape, those mysterious aspects that appear to be immediately recognisable yet never fully understood.  I like the perspective and palette of this highly stylised painting.  The style reminds me somewhat of the works of Eric Ravilious
  • Alix Fairbairn - William Street aglow  This painting is one of a series of twilight street scenes. I am enchanted by that brief phase in the evening, during which the urban landscape takes on a strange, almost fairytale quality.  I do wish they'd give media and sizes for the images.  This ones looks to me like it's a very saturated watercolour - in which case it's quite a painting.  However it could be an acrylic - in which case I'd be less impressed with its technical competence.  That said it's a very technical painting which has maintained control over perpsective and colour balance
  • Juan Ford - Whitewash  Pouring paint on native flora is an absurd act, analogous to the way that mere painted representations of our landscape are absurd.  I take it this is a statement piece by an artist with a long track record of exhibitions and prizes?  I think this is oil paint on a plant rather than oil on linen (as his other paintings of plants are - but I could be wrong. (where are those media descriptions?)
  • Graham Fransella - River track My painting River track is a distillation of my experiences flying over the Northern Territory viewing river paths in the landscape and from a recent trip to the Kimberleys after the extreme floods in 2011.  This is a watercolour and it reminds me of my geomorphology studies.
  • Neil HaddonGrafting landscape (West Hobart) Grafting landscape (West Hobart) is one of a series of works that looks at migration to and from Tasmania, all of which attempt to convey a sense of the emotional implications of leaving a place of deeply felt connection.  A painting with an anthropological feel to it - with psychological roots. 
  • Camille HannahAustramythicus – paternus  The title Austramythicus – paternus is fictional, and refers to a ‘brand and tag’ notion of Australia as a European species, evolved from pastoral capitalism since European settlement.  I get the concept but I don't get the painting.
  • Nicholas HardingPandanus 2012 Immigrating to Australia as a boy, I initially experienced a sense of displacement and sought ways of engaging with my new domicile’s landscape.
  • Tim Johnson - Observatory Hill  Using Observatory Hill as a starting point, this painting maps landmarks and places of interest around Sydney.  I rather like this one - it's a new way of seeing which I should prove to be very accessible - and interesting - to a lot of people.  The colours are also optimistic and joyful - it is this a "feel good" painting?  Do click through to the largest size of this image - it really is lots of little coloured dots.

  • Jasper KnightThe woods themselves I chose this subject because this is the area I grew up in and this to me is Sydney.  Read the rest of the narrative - I'm struggling with the connection between the subject matter and the title.  000
  • Michael LindemanOriginal oil painting Original oil painting is a large-scale conceptual landscape painting derived from an appropriated published classified advertisement offering a painting for sale.  A wry painting with a point.  I rather like this.
  • Margaret Loy PulaAnatye (bush potato)  The viewpoint of the work is looking down onto the landscape, similar to a topographical map, where the bush potato grows.  Margaret is a member of a distinguished family of Aboriginal artists.  This is a painting which, for me, works better with the narrative explanation.  I rather like that this is an understated painting of the relationship between Aboriginal women and the landscape.  I "got it" when she referenced the crowbars the women use to dig up the ground.
  • Guy MaestriNo man’s land no. 7  After countless painting trips, and after the realisation that the task of rendering a place is not made easier by its beauty, I made a series of ‘side of the road’ paintings. Guy is also a former winner of the Archibald Prize.  So many landscape painters will identify with the sentiments behind this painting.  a RECOMMENDED READ for all those who travel to paint landscapes.
  • Robert Malherbe - Blackheath landscape  I refuse to paint from photographs because I like to be surprised, which is why I always paint from life.  Blackheath landscape was painted on site on a still chilly afternoon late in August. This is a man who has painted the same place many times - and still finds something new to see.
  • Aleander McKenzie - The isalnd is a mighty fortress This work continues my exploration of an implied narrative taking place within a landscape.
  • Alicia Mozqueira - Kozciusko, snowgus and puddles a synthesis of my visits to the Snowy Mountains. It is a place, which remains clear in my mind: the gums, the unpredictable, threatening weather, and the puddles formed from melted snow.
  • James Powditch - Blues Point Blues Point Tower on Sydney Harbour polarises people. It is both loved and loathed. But, to borrow a line, some buildings are more equal than others.
  • Louise Pratt - Whatever  ... is a sculpture of a disenfranchised youth living in a cyber world, his existence depending on technology.
  • Andrew Rogers - We are a metaphor for that relationship with the organic, rippling and pulsating; ribbed and undulating outer surfaces acting as a counterpoint to the delicate, highly polished interior world of our thoughts.
  • Jenny Sages - After the dry season For 24 years in the dry season I have walked and flown by helicopter over this land, which is so old it makes me but a blink of an eye.
  • Kate Shaw - Milkwater My paintings deal with the tensions and dichotomies in both the depiction of the natural world and our relationship to it.
  • Tim Storrier - The dalliance (Tim is this year's Archibald Prize winner) I believe that any written interpretation is superfluous to the innate narrative of the painting. (I applaud that sentiment!)
  • Imants Tiller - Waterfall (after Williams) This painting is my version of Fred Williams’s Free copy of Eugene von Guerard’s Waterfall, Strath Creek, 1862.
  • Aida Temoescu - Crossgrain Intensively worked, scraped back repeatedly, and reconsidered, Crossgrainis not a painting about texture. Interesting painting but I'd have liked more of an explanation about why it relates to the Wynne Prize.
  • Craig Waddell - The dunce - I will learn the rules before I speak This possible self-portrait has its origins in a series of ink drawings made after Goya’s Los caprichos print series.  Goya's prints condemn the follies of the society he lived in.  I'm not getting the connection with Australian scenery.
  • Susan J White - Salamander Bay  This painting was done from memory. In my mind’s eye I went back to a place where I spent a lot of time when I was growing up and where I feel free  An incredibly free loose monochromatic painting - is this a dreamtime of European heritage? This won the Trustees Watercolour Prize 2012
  • Philip Wolfhagen - Third exaltation The study of clouds was my first interest within the genre of landscape painting and every few years I return to the subject with renewed enthusiasm. I'm a fan of cloud paintings and this one is good.
  • Joshua Yeldham - Mangrove tree - Hawkesbury This golden tree, the stingrays, fishing lines, the tinny full of rain and the Hawkesbury River have deeply touched us. Very stylised and very effective.

The Wynne Prize Winner

The Winner of the Wynne Prize 2012 is Imants Tillers for Waterfall (after Williams).

Waterfall (after Williams) by Imants Tiller
This is a copy of a copy of a painting of a waterfall.
Imants Tillers is one of Australia's most significant contemporary visual artists and has been at the leading edge of contemporary art in Australia for over three decades.  He is also a writer and curator.   He made his name in the 70s and 80s as one of Australia’s most thought-provoking and engaging contemporary artists.

His signature works are canvas boards (which appears to be some sort of grid system) which explore themes relevant to contemporary culture.  The themes include:
  • the centre/periphery debates of the 1980s, 
  • the effects of migration, displacement and diaspora. 
  • place, locality and evocations of the landscape.
This National Gallery of Australia exhibition webpage provides an overview of his career


Note about The Wynne Prize

The Wynne Prize was first awarded in 1897 and marked the opening of the Art Gallery of New South Wales at its present site.

It owes its origins to a bequest by the late Richard Wynne of Mount Wilson who died in 1895.  The Wynne Prize is judged by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

The terms of his bequest dictate that the Wynne Prize should be awarded to what the judges consider to be
  • the best landscape painting of Australian scenery in oils or watercolours, 
  • the best example of figure sculpture by an Australian artist.
The Wynne Prize has an excellent tradition of picking artists who have become or go on to become icons in Australian landscape painting.  You can see a list of the artists who have won the Prize.  Click the links to the finalists each year and you can find out who were the selected artists.  Unfortunately the Gallery has not been in the habit of photographing all the artwork until recently. 

 Their art can be found in the collections of public art museums. The Art Gallery of New South Wales has purchased eight Wynne Prize winning entries including
  • Hans Heysen’s watercolour Summer, a consummate masterpiece of 1909, 
  • Russell Drysdale’s classic Sofala of 1947 

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