Tweed gallery hosts Portia Geach exhibition
February 9, 2012
The Portia Geach Memorial Award was established in 1965 by Florence Kate Geach in memory of her sister, artist Portia Geach, who spent much of her life campaigning for the rights of women in Australia and was determined to make a living from painting.
Geach was widely acclaimed as a leading artist and was a frequent commentator in the national media – making her an iconic figure in the Australian arts community.
This annual award for portraiture by contemporary Australian women artists celebrates the talent and creativity of female portrait painters and has been an important catalyst in developing the profile of Australia’s women artists. The award is administered by The Trust Company, one of Australia’s longest serving financial services companies with over 125 years’ of experience.
The Tweed River Art Gallery will host an exhibition of all 52 works by the Portia Geach Memorial Award 2011 finalists. S.H. Ervin Gallery organises the annual exhibition, and this event marks the first time the Award has been exhibited outside of Sydney.
In 2011 the $18,000 Portia Geach Memorial Award was awarded to Braidwood artist Kate Stevens for Indian Dream, her portrait of animator, video and street artist Willy Bernardoff. The report of the four Judges of the 2011 Award congratulated Stevens for her, “accomplished understanding of tonal painting and use of colour. The work looks beyond the veil of photography and transforms it through paint into a bold and audacious image”.
Discussing her portrait, Ms Stevens said: “This painting is about the dream of India – the romanticisation of the East; the epic road trip as a rite of passage; the idea of something surpassing the actual experience of it. It is about pin-ups and Bollywood soundtracks; about boys and bikes; about longing and wanderlust, and beauty and dust and distance.”
Susi Muddiman, Director of Tweed River Art Gallery said:, “It is gratifying to see that the Northern Rivers was well represented by three finalists Nitza Flantz, Mahala May Magins and Michelle Dawson, who received a Highly Commended for her moving portrait of well loved local artist Rene Bolten, titled Sparrow Man. The judges commended the work for its, ‘compelling and memorable imagery, strong composition and painterly application’.”
“The Gallery is incredibly pleased to announce that this lovely work has been acquired for our collection. It is hard to imagine a more suitable work for the Gallery’s collection; a wonderfully sensitive work by one of the hardest working artists in the Northern Rivers, depicting one of the most loved artists of the region,” Miss Muddiman said.
The exhibition of finalists showcases a wide variety of approaches to portraiture. Prominent Australians painted for the prize include Rebecca Gibney, Glen Boss, The Honourable Pru Goward MP and retired High Court Judge Michael Kirby AC CMG.
The Tweed River Art Gallery is very pleased to present a number of public programs in association with the presentation of The Portia Geach Memorial Award 2011. All are welcome to attend the official opening of the award by Jenny Sages, artist and winner of the Portia Geach Memorial Award in 1992 and 1994 on Friday 10 February 2012 at 6pm (for 6.30pm) (NSW). Entry is free to this event.
Members of the public are also welcome to attend a panel discussion with North Coast finalists of the Portia Geach Memorial Award 2011, Michelle Dawson, Nitza Flantz and Mahala May Magins on Sunday 11 March 2012 at 11am (NSW).
The exhibition is organised by S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney
The Portia Geach Memorial Award is administered by The Trust Company
PICTURES: Michelle Dawson’s Sparrow Man, 2011, oil on canvas; Kate Stevens, Indian Dreams 2011, oil on canvas.