Easy access to this year’s Archibald Prize for regions

This year’s Archibald Prize is currently touring regional galleries in New South Wales.  I recently went to see it in Newcastle Regional Gallery, where the locals have lost their fight against the Council’s plan to cut down historical Moreton Bay fig trees.  The argument was that the continual repair of pavements was too costly, and the roots were a danger.  While there is some sympathy in this argument, the loss of shade and coolness has changed the feel of the Gallery and the accompanying Library facility.  It’s a shame they couldn’t have kept one tree there, just as a reminder to the past.

Anyway, the Archibald paintings were a revelation this year.  There were several stand outs: I come from the “I know what I like” school of art criticism. 


(Photo – Art Gallery of NSW)

Benjamin Hedstrom’s painting of Boy and Bear’s band meeting, Annandale band meeting, was striking in its use of greens and yellows, portraying the relaxed atmosphere but formalised discussion that was taking place. 


(Photo – Art Gallery of NSW)

The faceless men, by Gary Smith and Frank Thirion, was also striking – with its twin blurred presentations of themselves and each other. 


 (photo – Art Gallery of NSW)

Jenny Sages’, After Jack, a self portrait of herself after the death of her husband was particularly moving and won the People’s Choice award.


 (photo Art Gallery of NSW)

But the winner of the 2012 Archibald Prize, The Histrionic Wayfarer (after Bosch) by Tim Storrier, was a deserving winner.  It’s a complex painting of a traveller carrying his baggage on his back – a man after my own heart with so much “just in case” stuff that he can barely move.  And although there’s no face on the head, Storrier has put a drawing of himself floating away in the breeze.  One foot in lace up shoes, the other in a boot, the explorer pushes forward.  The little dog, catching a ride on the back, is ever watchful.

Congratulations to the NSW Art Gallery for mounting the touring exhibition, which must be a sizable exercise each year.  The opportunity to see the paintings is not to be missed.


The Wayfarer, by Dutch artist, Heironymus Bosch, was painted in 1510 and is held in the  Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. 



List of The Archibald Prize Touring Exhibition 2012 locations.


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