Although claiming our attention gently, the winning entry is a lovely work by the early career Thea Perkins and its acquisition as part of the Prize will be an important addition to the Alice Springs Collection. KIERAN FINNANE reviews the exhibition, after a privileged visit to the gallery in this time of coronavirus shutdown.
The 40th Alice Prize is "one of the widest-ranging, most comprehensive and exhaustive examples of Australian contemporary art that you will ever see", its "width and depth" summed up in the winning work chosen by judge, Brian Ritchie (yes, the Violent Femmes punk rocker). KIERAN FINNANE reports.
An invisible catastrophe haunts the winning work in the 38th Alice Prize, which opened on Friday night at the Araluen Arts Centre. In Fallout #56 – Maralinga, photographs by Catherine Rogers from New South Wales, sharply raises questions of legacy and responsibility, concerns echoed in works by a number of other artists in the exhibition. KIERAN FINNANE reviews. Pictured: Ruth Elvin, president of the Alice Springs Art Foundation with Alice Prize judge, Dr Michael Brand, director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Unpackers, community volunteers all, have chosen their winning work from a field of 65 for this year's Alice Prize, a national prize for contemporary art. History by Faridah Cameron from Tasmania, is their pick, a "jaw-dropping" acrylic painting, especially when viewed up close, they say. The official winner will be announced at the opening this Friday (May 9).
UPDATE, May 19, 2012: Alice Prize: a journey through art of 'the time we are in'
Go to FULL STORY for Kieran Finnane's walk through the art with the Alice Prize judge.
The Pintupi artist Yukultji Napangarti – one of the so called Lost Tribe of nine people whose first contact with the outside world was in 1984 – has won the Alice Prize with a hypnotic untitled work that "elevates paint on a surface to something sublime".
So said judge of the prize, Nick Mitzevitch, Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia.
"To me that's what great painting is all about," he said.
This is the 37th Alice Prize, one of Australia's oldest contemporary art prizes, open to artists from around the country. Presented by the Alice Springs Art Foundation it opened tonight at Araluen and will be on display till June 10.
Mr Mitzevitch regarded Napangarti's painting as "by far the most sophisticated and superior work in the exhibition", and this despite the standard of the prize, and painting in particular, being "generally high".
He said the work "sums up what landscape painting is really about in the 21st century", even though it draws on thousands of years of Indigenous tradition.
Yukultji Napangarti and her family occupy a special place in Australian history, being the last known nomadic people to 'come in' from the desert, making contact with other Pintupi people in the tiny settlement of Kiwirrkurra in Western Australia in 1984. Her three brothers have also gained recognition as artists.
KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured, top: Yukultji Napangarti. Photo courtesy Papunya Tula Artists. At right: The winning work (detail). The artist's statement says the lines represent the sandhills surrounding the waterhole and soakage site known as Yunala, as well as the tubers of the silky pear vine, also known as yunala.
In a first for the Alice Prize, the unpackers, in the tradition of Sydney's Archibald, will get to choose their favourite work. The unpackers, members of the Alice Springs Art Foundation which runs the now biennial prize, are in many cases artists themselves, so their choice should be interesting.
In another first, a work of live performance art has been selected among the finalists. The artist, Janet Meaney, will perform ahead of the opening for the judge, Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, Nick Mitzevich, and again on opening night, while a video and other elements will be on display in the month-long exhibition.
Painting and photography continue to dominate the entries but work in other media includes four video works. The 65 finalists – 20 of them from the Northern Territory – were chosen from among 382 entries by preselection judges Daniel Mudie Cunningham, senior curator with Artbank, and Helen Maxwell, curator and art consultant.
As always the viewing public will be able to vote for the People's Choice, a prize worth $1000, named in honour of a past member of the foundation, Tammy Kingsley. A bequest of over $300,000 from Ms Kingsley's father allowed the purse to be increased in 2001 from $5000 to $15,000. Traditionally the prize has included a residency for the winning artist but it won't this year, although the purse has increased to $25,000.
The Alice Prize – the 37th this year – is one of Australia's oldest contemporary art prizes. It opens at Araluen on Friday, May 11.
Pictured: Alice Prize unpackers (from left) Steve Anderson, Mardijah Simpson and Julie Taylor, the coordinator of this year's prize, will get pick their own winner.