Pat Brassington wins $25,000 Bowness Photography Prize

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Monash Gallery of Art on Friday 04 October 2013.

Pat Brassington wins $25,000 Bowness Photography Prize image

One of Australia’s most celebrated artists Pat Brassington has won Australia’s most prestigious photography prize, the $25,000 Bowness Photography Prize. The Hon Heidi Victoria MP, Minister for the Arts announced Brassington as the winner of the Bowness Photography Prize at a cocktail party at Monash Gallery of Art on Thursday 3 October 2013.

Pat Brassington‘s winning photograph Shadow boxer 2013 from the series Quill is a visually striking, strange and contradictory picture. Typical of the artist’s work, the monochromatic image brings together a series of fragments that create a strange and ambiguous world. The parts of the image – two heart-shaped, cactus-like mitts being worn into a space of strange darkness – are drawn from Brassington’s vast archive of images and are deeply personal. The picture offers a contradiction between the soft photographic tones, the intimacy of the forms and the spikiness of the cactus.

Brassington has said of the Quill series ‘With these works, I had in mind creating a series of tough and uncompromising images that could still be considered beautiful.’

One of Australia’s most widely acclaimed and exhibited artists, Brassington states of her work, ‘I aim to pitch my images just off the verge of normality, into those dense patches where the commonplace goes awry.’

For the judges, the winning picture presented an encounter with the uniquely arresting visual world of one of Australia’s most important artists.

Judge and MGA Director Shaune Lakin said that ‘Shadow boxer presents a strange self-portrait of one of our greatest contemporary artists. It is a real privilege to award the $25,000 prize to Pat Brassington for this wonderful picture, as it gives us a chance to acknowledge an artist who has made a huge contribution to photomedia practice in Australia. Across four decades, Pat has produced images that have never failed to take us by surprise, and her work has had a tremendous influence on many artists now working in Australia. Judy Annear and I found this image to be at once highly moving and, as with much of Pat’s work, slightly discomforting.’

Montalto Honourable Mention awards were given to Cherine Fahd, Kelvin Skewes and Wayne Quilliam.