Long-time Merewether artist John Earle, Carrington resident Gillian Adamson and Merewether-based Nick Fintan are among the 30 finalists for the 2021 Kilgour Art Prize.
Newcastle Art Gallery received 476 entries from artists across every state and territory in Australia, the highest number everl in the 16-year history of one of $50,000 prize.
The panel of judges for this year's prize are Newcastle Art Gallery director Lauretta Morton, Campbelltown Arts Centre head of curatorial Adam Porter and the head teacher of Fine Art at Newcastle Art School, David Trout.
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The Kilgour Prize awards $50,000 for the most outstanding work entered into the annual competition, which is administered by Newcastle Art Gallery and funded by a bequest from artist Jack Noel Kilgour. An additional $5000 is awarded to the painting voted most popular by the general public.
The prize is non-acquisitive.
"The Kilgour Prize encourages Australian artists to pursue and push the boundaries of portraiture and figurative painting," Ms Morton said.
"This year's selected artists present diverse interpretations of the brief, resulting in a very dynamic exhibition with works focusing on everything from experiences in lockdown through to scenes of everyday life.
The exhibition opens on August 13 and runs through October 31 at Newcastle Art Gallery.
The finalists are Lisa Adams, Gillian Adamson, Matteo Bernasconi, Jackson Booth, Catherine Boreham, Julie-Ann Brown, Simon Brown, Daniel Butterworth, Emily Jayne Carroll, John Dahlsen, Archer Davies, Rachelle Dusting, John Earle, David Fairbairn, Nick Fintan, Christine Fontana, Miriam Fraser, Michael Lindeman, Nunzio Miano, Robert O'Connor, Nathan Paddison, Lori Pensini, Alice Pulvers, James R Randall, Zeljka Reljan-Music, Grace Kemarre Robinya, Paul Ryan, Jason Tolmie, Mick Turner and Mark Tweedie.
Jack Noel Kilgour (1900-1987) was an Australian artist well-known for his academic approach to landscape and portrait painting. In 1987 Kilgour bequeathed funds for the creation of a major figurative and portrait art competition to be run in perpetuity. ]
Newcastle artist and art teacher Michael Bell won the Kilgour in 2020. Sydney artist Blak Douglas won the prize in 2019. Natasha Walsh won the prize in 2018. Cameron Stead won the prize in 2017 and Newcastle artist Peter Gardiner won the prize in 2016.
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