THERE has been much public interest in the seventh annual Great Southern Portrait Prize exhibition which opened last month at Stockyard Gallery, Foster.
Speculation has been rife on who the winners would be, but all questions were answered last Sunday during the announcements, with around 80 people in attendance.
Prom Coast Council president, Kerry Spokes welcomed special guest Deputy Mayor Cr. Moyha Davies and thanked PCA and Stockyard Gallery volunteers and the generous sponsors and acknowledged the generous assistance of the South Gippsland Shire Council.
Now in its seventh year, the Great Southern Portrait Prize continues to wow the audience with the high calibre of entries, which this year number around 170, and consist of the work of artists and hobbyists – both young and old – featuring portrayals of Gippsland residents.
There is strong representation of work by younger artists, some of whom have been working in-school with artists Wally Birkenbiel, Di Farmer and Anda Banikos under the auspices of PCA, which has provided canvasses and tuition in portraiture.
The judging of entries in an exhibition of this type is especially difficult – where all mediums are accepted and given equal weight. No criteria are provided for the judges, who must make their own way to determining the winners.
Much discussion had taken place the night before at a Portraiture Forum held at Fish Creek. Organised by PCA, and MC’d by Deidre Granger, a panel consisting of judges Sheridan Jones, Tom Murray-White and Paul Compton along with artists/ local identities Sally Gibson, Trevor Smith and Wally Birkenbeil, discussed the many aspects of portraiture with a good number of interested art lovers who had come along, keen to gain an insight into this sometimes controversial subject.
They say ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ and the three judges who were carefully chosen to undertake the difficult task of judging the Portrait Prize – Sheridan Jones, Tom and Paul – were locked away for around two hours on Saturday until decisions could be reached on who would win the lucrative and prestigious prizes.
Amanda Thompson took out the first prize of $1000 in the Open section with a self portrait (linocut). Second prize of $500 was awarded to Andrew McPherson of Fish Creek for a 3D wood/pencil piece entitled ‘Portrait of Self or Someone Else.’
Hamish Kentwell received an Highly Commended (HC) for an acrylic painting entitled ‘John,’ and Susan Purdy’s HC was awarded for her photograph on rag paper entitled ‘Janet.’
Eleven-year-old Bonnie Mobourne won first place in the Junior section with an acrylic work ‘ Sapphira.’ Eight-year-old Niamh Martin received a HC for her acrylic painting ‘Grandpa,’ and six-year-old Tess Venables was awarded an HC for ‘My brother Kyle’
The work of the hangers and packers was recognised with a ‘Packing Room Prize.’ Tracy Roberts received this award for ‘Middle Aged White Chick’ in the Open section, and in the Junior section Kate Facey was the recipient for her pencil portrait of Maddie Barker entitled ‘Modsy May.’
The exhibition continues at Stockyard Gallery until Tuesday May 18 and is open daily from 10am to 4pm. While viewing the exhibition, cast your vote for the Popular Choice section. The winner will be announced at the conclusion of the exhibition.
For further information contact the gallery on 03 5682 1125.