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February 25, 2021

$10,000 portrait prize announced in Lismore

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The winning portrait, blue mountains noah, by Paul Ryan. (supplied)
The winning portrait, blue mountains noah, by Paul Ryan. (supplied)

A portrait of Australian actor Noah Taylor has won the $10,000 Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize.

Titled  ‘blue mountains noah’, the portrait was painted by Wollongong artist Paul Ryan.

The Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize is a biennial exhibition and continuation of the Northern Rivers Portrait Prize.

Winners were announced at the Lismore City Art Gallery on Saturday by former Archibald-winning artist Fiona Lowry.

The winning painting is from an ongoing series of the London-based Australian actor, executed over found paintings.

In the winning work, Ryan positions Taylor over a combined landscape of the Blue Mountains, almost imagining the actor in a filmic scene.

Ryan has long been interested in the idea of Australian colonialism, the landscape, and the ongoing ramifications of white settlement.

He has been a finalist in the Wynne, Sulman and Archibald Prizes at the Art Gallery of NSW numerous times since 1989. The winning work will now enter the permanent collection of Lismore Regional Gallery.

Gallery Director, Brett Adlington said, ‘Fiona Lowry agonised over the decision, as this year there are many, many incredibly powerful works. Ultimately, with this selection, the many layers of meaning in the painting will enable it to be placed in a large range of exhibition contexts. It is a painting of great power and complexity.’

Lowry also named Lismore artist Bryce Anderson as the winner of the ‘Northern Rivers subject’ category, with his painting Bathed in Doubt (Self Portrait). This $1,000 non-acquisitive award was sponsored by Walters Solicitors.

In making her selections, Lowry said, ‘I was mindful of selecting a work that would have longevity in the Lismore Regional Gallery permanent collection. This work can be read on many levels, and says many things about the subject, the landscape, and portraiture in general.’

The winner of the People’s Choice Award, sponsored by the Far North Coast Law Society will be announced on Friday November 27 .

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  1. Tut tut Mr Coyne – it is THE LISMORE REGIONAL GALLERY – not the Lismore City Art Gallery as you wrote at the head of the article. It is the premier REGIONAL facility (albeit still struggling to achieve new & appropriate premises – perhaps you should research that long & fraught history of misadventure – it’s eye opening). It has an amazing collection dating from 1953, by a donation by a local family. It has hosted all the important shows, exhibition space permitting, and given huge support to local Northern Rivers artists. Just because Tweed managed to swing the funding into it’s new facility doesn’t mean the history of presenting new, national & international artworks, and supporting visual arts practice generally, is located there. Lismore has always been the regional capital and has acquitted it’s ambassadorial duties with grace & aplomb. However – an old bank (in rare Sesessionist architectural style) is limiting in the extreme. Come on Darren – have a chat with Brett Adlington (Director LRG) about this – there’s a super article in it!


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