Friday, May 28, 2021

The Wynne Prize 2021 - Selected artists

The Wynne Prize is an annual award ($50,000) for Australian landscape painting or figure sculpture which dates back to 1898.

The prize will be awarded, in the terms of the bequest of the late Richard Wynne of Mount Wilson, to the best landscape painting of Australian scenery in oils or watercolours or to the best example of figure sculpture by Australian artists completed during the 12 months preceding the date fixed by the Trustees for sending in entries.

This year there are far more Aboriginal artists selected for this exhibition - which mean far more examples of the Aboriginal approach to recording the landscape and the stories associated with their homeland. I really enjoy the art so I'm really pleased to see this.

Some of the images of art included in the Wynne Exhibition

I'm also wondering if this is in any way connected with the fact that the Art Gallery of New South Wales website now opens to this statement.....

The Wynne Prize 2021

The Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales invited artists to submit works in competition for the Wynne Prize 2021. In summary, to enter:

  • the artwork must have been completed between 30 April 2020 and 30 April 2021
  • the artist must be resident in Australia in the year of eligible work.

Eligible artwork

  • the artwork must be either
    • landscape painting in oils
    • landscape painting in watercolour
    • a figure sculpture 
  • the actual artworks must NOT exceed the size limit of 90,000 square cm (eg 3 × 3 m, 1.5 × 6 m). 
  • Sculptures must NOT exceed 3 m in height, 2 square m in area or 1000kg in weight. 
  • It can be
    • a multi-panel work - as long as the overall dimensions do not exceed the size limit above and/or
    • a landscape painting in oil, watercolour, acrylic or mixed media. Seascapes and cityscapes are acceptable and/or
    • a figure sculpture in stone, metal, wood or mixed media. The work may be abstracted, but at the same time clearly derived from a figurative source, human or animal.
  • As always it MUST be the artist's original work and must NOT infringe the copyright, moral rights or other rights of any third party.

Plus various MUST dos and don'ts related to delivery, display and hanging.


Besides the main prize - Entries in the Wynne Prize competition are also eligible to be considered for:

  • The Roberts Family Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Prize – value $10,000 - Also known as the Roberts Family Prize), which may be awarded to an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander artist and was first was first awarded in 2018.
  • The Trustees’ Watercolour Prize – value $5000
  • John & Elizabeth Newnham Pring Memorial Prize – value $1000  - Commonly known as the Pring Prize, which may be awarded to the best watercolour by a woman artist and was established following a bequest by Bessie Pring – herself a watercolourist, who died in 1965 – in honour of her parents. It was first awarded in 1966. 

Every time I wrote about The Wynne Prize, I end up pondering on why there's nothing similar in the UK. 

  • Does it just need a Sponsor and a Gallery willing to hold and exhibition and organise the entry? 
  • Or is what's missing someone who has the gumption to make it happen - in a way which is beneficial to both the country and landscape artists?

You can also see past winners of the Wynne Prize all the way back to 1898 on the website.

It's an interesting way of tracking styles and fashions in Australian landscape art.

Recent past winners of the Wynne Prize


Selected Artists

The website displays their selected artwork and lists the selected artists - with a page for each artwork.

This year there were

  • 660 entries
  • 39 artworks were selected (i.e. 6%)

Among the 39 finalists, there are 20 works by Aboriginal artists – the most on record – and, for the first time, there are more works by women than men. Interestingly Aboriginal artists appear are more likely to get selected in multiple years and a number have won in previous years (see below). I find fascinating that 

  • the oldest art also sometimes looks like the most contemporary....
  • women aboriginal artists are particularly strong in art competitions

You can see the artwork of the 39 finalists on this page and read about who they are below

I started to look through the entries - and a number reminded me of all the climate challenges and natural disasters within the landscape that Australia has been suffering in recent times. It's certainly a theme which came through strongly in a number of artworks.

 The selected artists are: 

  • Julianne Ross Allcorn lives in Roseville, Sydney, NSW- Thesaurium insula (treasured island) - about climate change
  • Nicola Bartos - Into the glade - an imagined scene, drawn from memories and sensations inspired by various places
  • Leah Brady - Piltati tjukurpa - Piltati is the well-known tjukurpa of two snake brothers and their wives, who are sisters, who lived near Piltati, west of Amata. 

  • Leah Bullen - Arid garden, Wollongong - made after time spent at the Wollongong Botanic Garden
  • Nyunmiti Burton born in Alice Springs in 1964 - Ngayuku ngura (my country) - she uses the same title for different paintings
  • Kunmanara (Wawiriya) Burton (1925 - 2021) a senior woman from the Amata community who died earlier this year at Amata, Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, South Australia. - Ngayuku ngura (my country)
  • Katjarra Butler won the Wyndham Art Prize in 2016 - Korrmanguntja directly translates to ‘thunder is happening there’ or ‘a place of thunder’ - and is the place where she was born
  • Tom Carment born in Sydney in 1954; regular in Australian art competitions - Moonrise, Koroop - Koroop lies about 12 kilometres south of the Murray River in Victoria
  • Betty Chimney - Ngayuku ngura (my country) - about the country that is her home, Indulkana, in the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the remote north-west of South Australia.
I like working at the art centre and paint pictures of country, with the rock holes and the mountains that I know.”
  • Tracey Deep Sculptor, installation & fibre artist, floral sculptures, inspired by nature - Tree spirit - includes charred banksia and is inspired by the devastating 2020 bushfires
  • Jun Chen - Dried bush
  • Ashley Frost - very much a location driven artist with many of his landscape works developed by painting and drawing outdoors. Escarpment forest - about the native angophora trees on the Wodi Wodi walking track near Stanwell Park - on an escarpment containing the most extensive area of rainforest in the Sydney basin. The area acts as an important refuge for species that are affected by environmental disturbances such as development and bushfires
  • Yaritji Heffernan works with the APY Art Centre Collective - Kapi tjukula - The circles of this design represent rock holes, where water collects after the rains. Knowledge of rock hole sites is passed on from generation to generation and revered by all Pitjantjatjara Aṉangu (people).
  • Laura Jones b. Sydney 1982; works across painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture - Bushfire ephemerals – Wollangambe wilderness
  • Naomi Kantjuriny, Mona Mitakiki, Tjimpayi Presley paint kapi tjukurla (rock holes) that relate to the Kungkarangkalpa tjukurpa; they were taught to paint by senior artist Kunmanara Katie Kawiny who has since passed way - Seven Sisters - The Seven Sisters story is very important to Anangu culture, as a story about family and culture.
  • Sylvia Ken (past winner 2019) from Amata in the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in South Australia. Her family are traditional owners for significant sites where the Seven Sisters story takes place. - Seven Sisters This painting refers to this story, the landscape that the story takes place in, as well as the characters in the story. 

This is a video of Sylvia talking about her painting which won in 2019.

  • Tjungkara Ken born in Amata (SA) in 1969, she was one of the first young artists to begin working with Tjala Arts (in 1997). She is an important female figure in contemporary Indigenous art from the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands in South Australia - Seven Sisters
  • Bronte Leighton-Dore a Sydney based artist - A lightness of touch, a being with and feeling into space - from a painting trip to Mangrove Mountain on the NSW Central Coast.
  • Guy Maestri a regular exhibitor in the Wynne Prize who won the Archibald Prize in 2009 - The flood- memories of floods from childhood and more recent times
  • Noel McKenna - lives and works in Sydney - South Coast headland (2), Ottoman rose
  • Robert Malherbe a contemporary figurative painter, born in Mauritius who emigrated to Australia in 1971 - Govetts Leap
  • William Mackinnon - Adventure and folly (ii)
  • Noŋgirrŋa Marawili b. 1939, an Australian Yolngu painter and printmaker - Bol’ŋu
  • Barbara Mbitjana Moore an Anmatyerre woman who grew up in Ti-Tree in the Northern Territory, moving later to Amata  - Ngayuku ngura (my country)
  • Betty Muffler and Maringka Burton Betty, she is a survivor of the British atomic weapons testing program at Maralinga - Ngangkari ngura (healing country) - The two ladies painted both canvases at the same time. It’s kind of like tagging in and out and they move around each other.
Betty Muffler and Maringka Burton are a dynamic duo. Aunty and niece, they are also two prolific and respected senior Pitjantjatjara artists. Most importantly, they are both ngangkaris (traditional healers) who have spent their lives traversing Country, working together and separately, in their quest to support Anangu to better health. Their ngangkari and painting practices are intertwined and are equally informed by the other: at the heart of both are aspects of healing and care, knowledge and respect. Together, Muffler and Burton work to explore the unseen connections between Anangu and Country.
  • Peter Mungkuri renowned for his passionate leadership and support of culture and language maintenance on the APY Lands. - Ngayuku ngura (my country)
  • Dhambit Munuŋgurr she has a fascinating back story about her origins and how she recovered from a devastating accident which left her wheelchair bound to paint again - Wandawuy
  • Kenan Namunjdja comes from a family of celebrated painters and continues the tradition - Ngalyod (Rainbow Serpent)
  • Yukultji Napangati (past winner 2018) born in 1975, north of Kiwirrkurra near Wilkinkarra, a vast salt lake in Western Australia. She is a painter of the Papunya Tula group of artists - Untitled
  • Chris O’Doherty (aka Reg Mombassa) an Australian New Zealand-born artist and musician - Gum trunk with banksias - based on a drawing made while on a visit to an upland swamp in the Blue Mountains in NSW
  • Daniel Pata primarily a figurative landscape painter and member of the Australian Watercolour Insitute. He explore the extremes of landscape, ranging from coastal environments to arid regions of the outback. East MacDonnell Ranges - depicts a section of the East MacDonnell Ranges – a complex geological area in the Northern Territory, significant to Eastern Arrernte people.
  • Philjames a Sydney based contemporary artist working across the mediums of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture - Spun idol
  • Betty Kuntiwa Pumani, Marina Pumani Brown - mother (past winner 2017) and daughter. Betty is a respected senior artist and traditional custodian of the significant site of Antara, her mother’s country and passes down her knowledge to her daughter - Antara - a collaboration between mother and daughter retelling the story of Antara
  • Luke Sciberras - Hat Hill Road 
It has taken me this long to figure out that painting the landscape isn't just about applying techniques and devices to render an observed 'scene'. It is and must be a reflection of the Human Condition. Luke Sciberras
  • Tim Storrier AM - an Australian artist who won the 2017 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and the 2012 Archibald Prize with a 'faceless' self-portrait entitled The Histrionic Wayfarer, Past exhibitor in the Wynne - The night road - a study in ultramarine, cobalt and cerulean portraying the beauty of night
  • Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri had a nomadic childhood and is now one of central Australia's most well-known indigenous artists - Untitled
  • Graham Wilson - Dove Lake dawn
  • Yaritji Young a Pitjantjatjara woman from Pukatja, a community within the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands - Tjala tjukurpa (honey ant story)
  • Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu an Australian Yolngu painter and printmaker who lives and works in the community at Yirrkala, Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. - Garak – night sky

The exhibition and announcement of the prizewinner

Finalists will be:

  • judged by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales;
  • exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW from June 5 to September 26;
  • the winners will be announced at noon on June 6.  

My posts about The Wynne Prize on The Art of the Landscape

Wikipedia also has a partial list of past prizewinners

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