Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Australia’s oldest art prize exhibition will be calling the New England Regional Art Gallery (NERAM) home from February 9 to April 7, showcasing some of the country’s best landscape painting and figure sculpture.

The $50,000 Wynne Prize is an open competition judged by the trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and awarded annually to the best landscape painting of Australian scenery or figure sculpture, alongside the Archibald and Sulman Prizes.

Established following a bequest by Richard Wynne who died in 1895, the prize was first awarded in 1897 to mark the official opening of the Art Gallery at its present site. 

In 2023, following its presentation at the Art Gallery in Sydney, the Wynne Prize 2023 exhibition went on tour for the first time since it began over 125 years ago.

The tour will include four venues in regional NSW: Bank Art Museum Moree, Mudgee Arts Precinct, New England Regional Art Museum in Armidale, and Wagga Wagga Art Gallery. The inaugural Wynne Prize tour will give regional audiences the chance to see the best of Australian contemporary landscape painting and sculpture closer to their homes.

Nine-time finalist – and winner of the Wynne Prize in 2002 – Walcha-based artist Angus Nivison said he was looking forward to the “highly regarded” Wynne Prize 2023 coming to the New England.

Angus’ involvement with the Wynne Prize has been a long one – from about 1996, so spanning the centuries.

“I started entering the Wynne for a number of reasons,” he said. “Firstly, in my earlier career, I was primarily a landscape painter, and secondly it was open to anyone to enter. The only stipulation was that you had to be an Australian resident; you didn’t have to be a professional artist.

“I have been fortunate to have been a finalist on nine occasions, one of which in 2002 became that year’s winner. The title of the work was Remembering Rain measuring 6.4 meters long.”

Angus said it was a great initiative by the Art Gallery of NSW to tour the Wynne Prize 2023 to regional galleries and see the most important landscape prize in Australia travelling through the landscapes that helped inspire the artworks in the first place.

“It is always important when exhibitions from major galleries such as the AGNSW tour the regions, as these shows can bring fresh ideas, visions and inspiration to the interior, a welcome thing indeed,” said Angus.

“Visitors to the Wynne Prize 2023 at NERAM can expect to be immersed in what constitutes landscape NOW! You will find works that ‘will knock your socks off’. 

“Works that range from representational to the abstract, from entertaining to the spiritual, and much in between. If you want to see what concerns the landscape artists of Australia today, this is the show for you.”

NERAM director Rachael Parsons said: “We’re delighted to host the Wynne Prize 2023 at NERAM as part of its inaugural tour. 

“Australia’s oldest art prize brings a fresh perspective with its dual focus on landscape painting and sculpture, showcasing the diversity of Australian artists. Prepare to be impressed by the outstanding works on display.” 

The Wynne Prize regional tours are proudly supported by the NSW Government through the Create NSW Blockbusters Funding initiative.

The Wynne Prize 2023 is an Art Gallery of New South Wales touring exhibition. Find out more about each of this year’s Wynne Prize finalists here: artgallery.nsw.gov.au/prizes/wynne/2023

Image: LOCAL WINNER: Walcha based artist Angus Nivison has been a nine-time finalist in the
Wynne Prize and won the coveted landscape prize in 2002.

Like what you’re reading? Support The New England Times by making a small donation today and help us keep delivering local news paywall-free. Donate now.