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$30,000 painting prize now open

Brooke Boland

A long prize-giving tradition continues to offer support to contemporary practice at Geelong Gallery.
$30,000 painting prize now open

Kate Beynon, winner 2016 Geelong contemporary art prize Graveyard scene/the beauty and sadness of bones  2014-15. Photo: Hails & Shine.

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‘We have a long tradition of prizes here at the gallery that has always been painting based, with watercolour and oil painting being an early focus, as well as our printmaking prize which was first staged in the early 1960s,' said Senior Curator Lisa Sullivan. 

The 2018 Geelong Contemporary Art Prize continues that proud tradition. 

‘We have a commitment to all mediums of art, of course, but we have a particular focus on painting, which is an area of active collecting for us. We want to continue that tradition of the painting prize and support contemporary practice,’ Sullivan said.

The $30,000 acquisitive award and biennial exhibition will open to the public on Saturday 9 June. The official opening and prize winner will be announced on Friday 8 June 2018.

Entries to the prize are now open and close on Friday 23 March at 5pm.

Sullivan said the selection process will be a little different this year, with the addition of a third judge. ‘We are working with two external guest judges, whereas in previous years it has only been one guest judge. 

‘It is wonderful to engage the expertise and viewpoints of different individuals in the sector. People who are academics, curators, people who are interested in contemporary painting practice, and who bring their different knowledge base and awareness.’

This year, Sullivan will be joined as a judge by the Head Curator of International Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Justin Paton, and the Director of Shepparton Art Museum, Rebecca Coates.

Advice for artists

Sullivan advises artists to put forward their strongest work. ‘We look for a range of elements during the shortlisting and judging process. We look for a work that is technically adept and strong; we also look at how a work fits into an artist’s practice as a whole, something that is a strong representation or example of their practice. 

As a contemporary painting prize, the judges also look for works that speak to the contemporary world and the current climate in terms of subject matter and approaches, she said, as well as artists who are evolving the form. 

‘We are interested in artists whose work stretches the boundaries or possibilities of the paint medium,’ Sullivan said.

In 2016, Kate Beynon’s work, Graveyard scene/the beauty and sadness of bones 2014-15 stood out because of the artist’s technique and compositional approach. ‘Also, thinking about Kate’s practice as a whole, it was a very strong image. It was a key painting in a recent body of work, representing a  fine example of her practice at that point in time.’ 

The recipient of the 2018 Geelong Contemporary Art Prize will be announced on the evening of Friday 8 June (by invitation). The exhibition of shortlisted works will be on display at Geelong Gallery from Saturday 9 June to Sunday 19 August. 

Geelong Gallery is open daily from 10am–5pm. Admission to this exhibition is free. 

To find out more or to enter, visit www.geelonggallery.org.au/prizes/geelong-contemporary-art-award

About the author

Brooke Boland is a Melbourne-based freelance writer.

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