The Archibald Prize - OK what's that?
I've known about it for years being an art student way, way back - but only taken a mild interest. The Archibald Prize is an Art Competition for Australian portrait artists. I need to tell you that the information that I'm about to relate to you is from research from only yesterday and today. As I said before, I had only a minor knowledge of the competition and the history behind it.
|Tarrawarra is an art gallery and also a vineyard.|
This year the finalist were all on view at the Tarrawarra Gallery near Healesville in the Yarra Valley, a little less than 60 kms from Melbourne. The Yarra Valley is nestled among rolling hills and mountain ranges. Its a very traditional wine growing district, much the same as Chablis in France and Napa Valley in California. The terrain is similar. I use to cycling many kilometres (miles) of training when I was in my teens and early 20s in the area.
|Archibald and Henry Lawson who wrote for the Bulletin.|
The competition was established in 1921 from a bequest by Jules Francois Archibald. In actual fact, Archibald's real name was John Feltham Archibald and he was born in Geelong West, Victoria. During his 20s, he had become a devout Francophile and changed his christian names and later on his marriage certificate, his birthplace was documented as France. Archibald had a passion for journalism and after writing for several regional Victorian newspapers he established with a partner the "Bulletin Magazine". Some very great Australian writers, artists and poets contributed to the Bulletin over the years including Henry Lawson and Banjo Patterson.
|The first Archibald Prize winner by W,B. McInnes.|
|Writer, poet, story teller Banjo Patterson by John Longstaff.|
|William Dobell's 1948 winning portrait.|
|And in more recent times, Brett Whiteley's self portrait.|
Since 1921, some of those artists include William Dargie, William Dobell, Clifton Pugh, Brett Whiteley and W.B. Mc Innes but these are only the ones that I'm familiar with.
This year's finalists - I have to admit, I don't know much about, but one of the subjects, and also one of the finalists I do know a little of. He was part of my 60s - 70s period. He was an artist with the OZ magazine published by a group of Australians in the UK, probably not unlike Archibald with the Bulletin in many ways.
Martin Sharp illustrated for the OZ, and also designed posters for concerts by Dylan and Hendrix. He did LP covers for Cream. One of the portraits in this Archibald was by him and of him.
The Winning Portrait
What I did find quietly strange was that this year's winning portrait was of a person without a face, slightly Dali in fact. Judge for yourself!
|The winner of the 2012 Archibald Prize was by Tim Storrier - a self portrait.|
|But this was my favorite. Martin Sharp by Garry Shead was part of my 60/70s era.|
|Jenny Sages: Self Portrait a grieving widow - After Jack|
|Luke Cornish portrait of Father Bob, a colorful Melbourne priest. Why has the artist then painted him in black and white?|
Cornish said about his subject, "What I like about Bob is that there is no bullshit - what you see is what you get".
|Marcus Callum - Self Portrait.|
To me, it echos a painting in the style of the past masters, almost centuries ago.
|Jun Chen - John Yu with artist|
The subject, John Yu is the recipient of an MOA and a COA and Australian of the Year not that I was aware of these awards but both the artist and the subject, both Chinese have contributed to Australia.
|Angus McDonald's portrait of Tim Maguire.|
The artist described his subject as having a huge personality and said he wanted to paint him as looking at the viewers. You certainly get that impression when looking at this painting at the gallery.
|Michael Peck - Self Portrait in the image of my son.|
"The warm orange glow is the color by which I remember my childhood in the outer suburbs of Melbourne".
When viewing this portrait, Sue said the same thing - our summers were long and hot.
Well it's time to change this. Isn't that right Sue?