Ben Quilty wins $20k 2012 Redlands Westpac Art Prize, Kelly Doley 10k emerging artist award

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon on Wednesday 02 May 2012.

Ben Quilty wins $20k 2012 Redlands Westpac Art Prize, Kelly Doley 10k emerging artist award image Ben Quilty wins $20k 2012 Redlands Westpac Art Prize, Kelly Doley 10k emerging artist award image

The 2012 Redlands Westpac Art Prize today announced the winners of the ‘established artist’ and ‘emerging artist’ categories at the National Art School (NAS) in Darlinghurst, where the prize is being presented for the first time.

2011 Archibald Winner Ben Quilty has been named winner of the ‘established artist’ category for an intimate and moving portrait of his father. Sydney-based artist Kelly Doley has been named winner of the coveted ‘emerging artist’ category. The artists were selected from the 47 contemporary visual artists from across Australia and New Zealand who have been chosen to present work in this year’s Prize and exhibition. The winning artists will be awarded a total of $31,000 in prize money, with $20,000 allocated to the established artist category and $10,000 for the emerging artist. A further $1,000 is allocated for a visitors’ choice award based on public votes gathered during the exhibition.

The prestigious 16th annual Redlands Westpac Art Prize was this year curated by respected Sydney-based artist Lindy Lee. The Prize was judged by a panel including Rachel Kent, Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art; Katie Dyer, NAS Curator; and Redlands Visual Arts teachers Mark Harpley and Fabian Byrne.

Judge Rachel Kent said that in selecting Ben Quilty as the recipient of the 2012 Redlands Westpac Art Prize, she was drawn both to the artist’s technical mastery of paint and his choice of subject matter.

‘Based in regional New South Wales, Quilty is known for his paintings addressing themes of masculinity, youth, and the rites of passage from childhood to maturity. Often his subjects are family and friends, painted with a characteristically spare, impasto style – thick, textured sweeps of paint against an unadorned background, in which the contrast of shadow and light creates visual depth,’ said Ms Kent.

‘This work presents a surprisingly frank portrait of the artist’s father, seated, with naked torso. In it, Quilty’s interest in masculinity is evident, as is the exploration of family and the father-son relationship. Is the father a willing sitter? I would guess not: his gaze is apprehensive, his eyes slightly averted, his posture pulling back into the chair. At the same time he is vulnerable in his nakedness and advanced age, seated before the scrutiny of the artist, his son,’ said Ms Kent.

Emerging Artist category winner Kelly Doley is a founding member of Sydney performance/video collaboration Brown Council. Doley’s solo practice preferences collaboration and exchange with people and imagines possible futures and ways of life.

The winning work by Doley, The Learning Centre: 49 Things Learnt About Humans, traverses painting, performance and installation. Since 2010, the young artist has received over 27 lessons from members of the public in exchange for a painting of their choice.

Commenting on her winning art work, Kelly Doley said: ‘Over the past two years, I have undertaken an ongoing investigation into the sorts of principles, objectives and knowledge people uphold in order to find or maintain meaning in their lives. The blackboards are leftover from a lesson on Alchemy and a lesson on Indigenous Nyungar Culture. The book is a collation of everything I have learnt and includes quotes from Anarchists, to Christians, scientists and artists to Life Coaches and Shamans. Some profound, some banal.’

The 2012 winning artists of the established and emerging prize categories will have their works automatically acquired into the permanent collection of Redlands. With the exception of winning artworks acquired by Redlands, all works exhibited in the Prize will be available for purchase.

The Westpac Redlands Prize has a unique model in that Sydney artists and Curator of the prize, this year Lindy Lee, initially invited 22 established artists and an artist collective to participate. Each of those artists in turn selected an emerging artist to submit work. This approach fosters mentoring relationships between older and younger generations of practicing visual artists.

Redlands Westpac Art Prize on Artabase

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