Kendal Gear wins People's Choice Award in 2018 Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize

Perth artist Kendal Gear has been announced as the winner of the People’s Choice Award in the 2018 Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize at Lismore Regional Gallery.

Gear's self-portrait was voted by Gallery visitors as the favourite in a tightly contested list. On being named winner, Gear said, “It was great to be part of the exhibition and it’s so exciting and encouraging to receive this award, and prize money of $1,000. It’s come at a really good time for me.”

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Director of Lismore Regional Gallery, Brett Adlington congratulated the winner, saying:
 
“For us, the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize is a chance to support a broad range of artists, emerging and established; local and national. We also see this award as a chance for the community to engage with a whole range of artistic styles, and the People’s Choice Award is a chance to acknowledge this. Kendal's work is exquisite in its detail and craftsmanship - and obviously resonated with our audiences.”
 
Acknowledging their support of the People’s Choice Award, Brad Gosling of Chandlers Betta Home Living, Lismore said:

“This portrait prize is a great way to celebrate the art of portraiture, and like The Archibald Prize, we know that many visitors like to have their say about who they think the winner should be. It’s for this reason we were happy to support the People’s Choice Award in the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize, and would like to congratulate the winner, Kendal Gear, on being voted favourite by visitors to the gallery.”
 
Brett Adlington also thanked the prize sponsors, Hurford Hardwood and Chandlers Betta Home Living, Lismore. “To have the support of local business really means so much for us, and helps us support artists in the early stages of their careers.”

Director of the Art Gallery of NSW, Dr Michael Brand, previously named Nicole Kelly as the Winner of the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize with her work, Jumaadi + Clouds + Rain, which now enters Lismore Regional Gallery's permanent collection.

The Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize will next be held towards the end of 2020.

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