© 2019 by Henry Thornton. 

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2018 Archibald Prize

May 13, 2018

2'018 Archibald Prize

The Archibald Prize is one of the nation’s most popular and oldest art awards but most people don’t take it too seriously as an art event.

 

It is more like a yearly prestige event – a who’s who on our country’s radar. It is usually accompanied by a little outrage, a lot of gossip and on occasion tears and laughter.

 

This year is different. Usually the Archibald is as much about those who have agreed to sit for the artist as it is the artist themselves. This year it is much more about the artist. So many self-portraits! As one headline of a mainstream media outlet put it, this year’s Archibald is the year of the selfie.

 

So have our creatives given up on our politicians, scientists, cultural, sports and media figures or have they, like so many other in our culture, just succumb to the narcissistic nature our times?

Image: 'Self-portrait, after George Lambert'  by 2018 Archibald prize winner Yvette Coppersmith. Courtesy of the artist and AGNSW.

 

Find the full ‘who’s who in the 2018 Archibald zoo’ here.

 

This year the Wynne and Sulman finalists ran rings around their portraiture peers.

Full view of Wynne finalists here.

 

2018 Wynne Prize winner Yukultji Napangati's untitled landscape is exquisite in its textural and spatial storytelling detail. The depiction is associated with Yunala, a rock hole and soakage water site among sandhills west of Kiwirrkura and an ancestral group of women who camped at this site. Interestingly, all the entries of the Wynne captured the transcendent quality of our outback regardless of technical approach.

Image: 'Untitled ' by 2018 Wynne prize winner Yukultji Napangati. Courtesy of the artist and AGNSW.  (*Note: enlarge the image to more fully appreciate the subtle complexity of this painting)

 

 Image: 'West of Wilcannia II'  by John R Walker. Courtesy of the artist and AGNSW

 

John R Walker's 'West of Wilcannia II' – a Wynne finalist – is one of the many landscape finalists in this year's Wynne to capture the glorious timelessness of Australian terrain.

 

And the modern primitivism of  Sulman finalist Jason Phu's 'On the bbq were a thousand thousand generic meat sausages that the hand of Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, calmly turned. She was unperturbed by the vicious spitting oil. Shaking her warm empty can she yelled out 'can someone get me a beer?' made me take a second look and half smile, half wince.

 

Image: 'On the bbq were a thousand thousand generic meat sausages that the hand of Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, calmly turned. She was unperturbed by the vicious spitting oil. Shaking her warm empty can she yelled out 'can someone get me a beer?'  by Jason Phu. Courtesy of the artist and AGNSW.

 

Many of the Sulman finalists included a little provocation in their offerings which made them a lively collection. Full view of Sulman finalists here.

 

In summation, Mother Nature was the subject of all the best portraits but wasn’t a contender for the Archibald; the Wynne exhibited the greatest artistry; and the Sulman possessed a few well received heartbeats.

 

2018 Archibald Prize

Wynne and Sulman Prizes

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Until 9 September

 

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