An intriguing contemporary painting that combines figurative and abstract imagery has won the prestigious Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2018.
From 325 entries, artist Madeleine Kelly was announced as the $25,000 major prize winner for her work Allowable Forms and Unconscious Facts at a special event held at Caloundra Regional Gallery last night (August 30).
Kelly, whose winning work will now sit in the Sunshine Coast Art Collection, has a PhD from the Queensland College of Art and is a lecturer in Visual Art (painting) at The University of Sydney.
Her work can be found in public collections, including the Queensland Art Gallery - Gallery of Modern Art, the University of Queensland Art Museum and Artbank, as well as corporate collections including KPMG Sydney.
More than 250 dignitaries, artists and guests joined Mayor Mark Jamieson and judge Dr Campbell Gray for the official exhibition opening and winner’s announcement.
Queensland artist Aaron Butt was announced as the Highly Commended winner for his work entitled Missed Encounter (A grid of objects from lightest to darkest and largest to smallest).
NSW artist Monika Behrens’ entry Hunting Trophy II earned her the Sunshine Coast Art Prize residency at Montville Country Cabins.
Mayor Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast Art Prize had become not only the region’s signature annual art prize but also a competition with a national profile that culminated in an exhibition of some of the best contemporary Australian art.
“I congratulate Madeleine Kelly on winning the Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2018,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Her artwork, Allowable Forms and Unconscious Facts, is a welcome addition to the Sunshine Coast Art Collection.
“Our thanks to the judge Dr Campbell Gray, who decided on the winners from a high calibre exhibition.
“It would have been a difficult task and the three works he has chosen reflect the diversity of visual art that the Sunshine Coast Art Prize is able to showcase.”
Dr Gray selected Allowable Forms and Unconscious Facts as the winning artwork based on the complexity and ambiguity of the painting’s discourse, underpinned by the high level of painting craftsmanship.
“The foundations of this work are based in the artist’s visual and theoretical awareness of art history together with extensive personal capacity in the craft of painting,” Dr Gray said.
“Situated in a domestic space with a common oven expanded as if in an engineer’s drawing, but also forming the body of a distorted human being, the entity that is created is a hybrid mechanical form at once comfortable and troubled, complete and uncertain.
“The work is deeply psychological – ironic and paradoxical.
“In Aaron Butt’s work Missed Encounter (A grid of objects from lightest to darkest and largest to smallest), it is clear that no one thing is the work of art.
“Indeed, some elements, perhaps most, appear to be cast-offs or failed experiments, hence from superficial inspection one might read the work as a deceit.
“However, each element, while perhaps individually unimportant, has a significance that becomes apparent as an essential element of a collection.
“When reviewing Monika Behrens’ painting Hunting Trophy II, I was left without resolution as I faced a painting that was both a decorative aesthetic exercise and one that potentially was more charged with social critique than the earlier works it refers to (17th century still life paintings) – a state of being that was both provocative and satisfying.
“I look forward to seeing what the residency might bring to her practice.”
Art lovers can vote for their favourite artwork by visiting the exhibition and voting in the gallery or online via the gallery website before October 14.
The artist who receives the most public votes will win the People’s Choice Award and receive a $2500 cash prize, sponsored by the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce.
The exhibition will be on display at Caloundra Regional Gallery until October 14.
The Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2018 is supported by Sunshine Coast Council (Major prize), De Deyne family (Highly Commended prize), Caloundra Chamber of Commerce (People’s Choice prize), Montville Country Cabins and Caloundra Regional Gallery (Art Prize Residency), Coastline BMW, Mantra Hotels, Horizon Festival and International Art Services (Transport).
For more details about the Sunshine Coast Art Prize, visit council’s gallery website.