Finalists selected for Portrait Prize at Lismore Regional Gallery

69 portraits have been painstakingly selected from 211 strong entries for the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize. These 69 will be included in the exhibition of finalists at Lismore Regional Gallery from 28 July – 23 September 2018. The announcement of the winner will be by this year’s judge, Dr Michael Brand, Director, Art Gallery NSW, on Saturday 28 July at 12 midday.

Robert Malherbe ,  Nina looking up   2018, oil on board, 46 x 38cm, image courtesy the artist and Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney

Robert Malherbe, Nina looking up 2018, oil on board, 46 x 38cm, image courtesy the artist and Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney


According to Kezia Geddes, curator, Lismore Regional Gallery, “Portraiture is Australia’s favourite genera of art. Big art prizes like The Archibald, The Doug Moran and The Portia Geach Memorial are testament to our love of the portrait. People are ultimately programmed to understand the human face and its many expressions. It is therefore not surprising that we are so readily enchanted by the ability of artists to render subtle nuances of a person and to capture something - whether this be a likeness or an aspect of someone’s persona.”

The Hurford Hardwood Prize started in response to a public call for a portraiture prize in the region. Now in its 8th year the prize was originally called The Northern Rivers Portrait Prize, and it was a painting and drawing prize open to artists whose artwork depicted a person from the Northern Rivers. It has since expanded to include portraits of any subject in any medium and is open to artists Australia wide. The finalist works reflect this expansion and include paintings, drawings, photographs, ceramics, and video portraits. Subjects are equally diverse and include local identities such as, Michael Balderstone, Dailan Pugh OAM and Ric Richardson, celebrities like Reg Mombassa, and more personal portraits of artists’ family members and quite a few self-portraits.

Gallery staff were so impressed by the standard of entries that the Permanent Collection Gallery (usually dedicated to exhibiting the permanent collection) was made available for the exhibition.

According to Brett Adlington, Director Lismore Regional Gallery, “The winner will receive $10,000 and the work will become part of Lismore Regional Gallery’s art collection. The prize money has been provided by local business, Hurford Hardwood. The Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize is one of our most popular exhibitions and we are very grateful to Hurfords for their generosity and support which makes the exhibition possible.”

“Hurfords are proud to have been involved in the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize since 2012. It is magnificent to see the growth of its popularity now attracting entries from every state & territory  across Australia as well as plenty of local entries. We look forward to a very diverse & stimulating exhibition." say sponsors, Gaela and Andrew Hurford.

Todd Fuller ,  Billy's Swan   2017, video still, chalk and charcoal animation and video, 5:37 mins, courtesy the artist and MAY SPACE, Sydney

Todd Fuller, Billy's Swan  2017, video still, chalk and charcoal animation and video, 5:37 mins, courtesy the artist and MAY SPACE, Sydney

Adlington says, “Lismore Regional Gallery has also provided a $1000 People’s Choice Award which will be awarded to the artist with the highest number of public votes”. Prizes are controversial by nature, after all.  

2018 Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize finalists
Abbey McCulloch, Amanda Bromfield, Amanda Penrose Hart, Andre Bowen, Anne-Marie Zanetti, Ashley Frost, Caroline Zilinsky, Chelsea Gustafsson, Chris Hazell, Clara Adolphs, Clare Thackway, Corinna Berndt, David Wells, Dr Darien Midwinter, Fleur Diamond, Geoff Harvey, Georgi Milln, Guy Morgan, Hilary Herrmann and James Guppy, Ian Roberts, Ildiko Hammond, Jacklyn Wagner, James Bowles-Leeson, James J De Weaver, Jane Theau, Jenny Johns, John Smith and Nikky-Morgan Smith, Karen Preston, Kendal Gear, Kenneth Craig Lambert, KHR Stewart, Kylie Foley, Lisa Axiotis, Liz Stute, Lucas Wright, Lucila Zentner, Lynden Stone, Marc Stapelberg, Marian Drew, Martin Claydon, Martin Edge, Matilda Michell, Matthew O'Brien, Maya Veit, Meg K Nielsen, Michael Simms, Nic Mason, Nicholas Ferguson, Nicole Kelly, Nicole Monks, Raimond de Weerdt, Raj Panda, Rene Bolten, Rikki Fisher, Robert Malherbe, Ryan Mugan, Sachin Moncrieff, Samuel Condon, Stephen Nothling, Steven Giese, Symone Male, Thomas Readett, Todd Fuller, Tony Kearney, Tony Leitch, Trinity Leonard, Vanessa White, Virginia Hodgkinson, Zom Osborne
 
EXHIBITION OPENING AND WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT:
Saturday 28 July, 12:00 midday
Official opening and winner announcement by Dr Michael Brand, Director, Art Gallery NSW

Abbey McCulloch: The Female Performance

An exhibition of new work by one of Australia's most collectable artists, Abbey McCulloch's Performance, opens today at Tweed Regional Gallery.

"The works in Performance are about the ways that we perform for others - and ourselves.  They are about our fictional selves revealing more about us and how our veneer can be more telling,” McCulloch explained. “I asked some friends to sit for me but I wasn't particularly interested in capturing their likeness, I just wanted to play around with capturing something in their expression that showed them being self-aware.  In each of these images I am trying to capture that strange moment where you realise that you are being watched by yourself.  The person that you are trying to be has been caught out by the person you are.  It's like an out-of-body thing."

Art Collector magazine named Abbey McCulloch as one of 'Australia's 50 most Collectable Artists' in 2009, 2010 and 2011. McCulloch's success is demonstrated by her selection as a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 2007, 2009 and 2013 for her portraits of actresses Nell, Toni Collette and Naomi Watts. Her works featured in a solo exhibition at Art Stage Singapore in 2014, and last year she was invited by iconic UK photographer Nick Knight to cover Paris Fashion Week, with her drawings featured on his fashion website SHOWstudio.

McCulloch is clearly one of Australia's most recognisable contemporary figurative painters. In her exhibition catalogue essay, Dr Laini Burton writes: "Like bursts from a camera shutter, the series of works on display in Performance capture not only the most consciously posed and poised bodies, but those moments in between … where gestures belie the vivacious, confident woman caught only a millisecond before.  Somehow, we all know one of these fabulous creatures.  She oozes with self-possession, acuity and style.  She has a kind of elan, or je ne sais quoi that can be neither bought or photoshopped …  In this moment, McCulloch's aim comes into sharp relief …  She asks simply, 'What do you want from her?'  And in asking this question, McCulloch characterises the expectations we place on others and ourselves in the performance of everyday life."

Performance will feature at Tweed Regional Gallery from 9 December 2016 - 26 February 2017.

Everyone is invited to join the artist at the official opening of Performance by Gold Coast City Gallery Director Tracy Cooper-Lavery at 6pm (for 6.30pm) DST on Saturday 10 December 2016.

At 2pm DST on Sunday 19 February 201, all are welcome to attend a Q&A session between the artist and Dr Laini Burton, Lecturer, Design, Head of Studio Art and Honours, Queensland College of Art, Gold Coast on topics including the artist's life, female representation, self and identity.

Abbey McCulloch is represented by This Is No Fantasy, Melbourne and Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane.

Images:
- Abbey McCulloch, Beyond, 2016, oil on canvas, 150x120cm
- Abbey McCulloch, Debut, 2016, oil on canvas, 55 x 45cm