From Carrie Miller…
While it’s not well known outside art world circles, the Mosman Art Prize’s history is a long and prestigious one. And for the 65 years it has been going, it’s generally reflected the more genteel aspects of the locality from which it gets its name. The first judge of the prize was Lloyd Rees and it’s subsequently been judged by some of the most celebrated artists of the old-school stripe, including Margaret Preston, Margaret Olley, John Olsen, and Tim Storrier. The winners have been more of a mixed bag. In fact, there was a time when this prize looked to be at risk of falling prey to what one commercial gallerist called ‘contemporary art fashion victims’.
This year’s winner poses no such threat. David Fairbairn – a perennial finalist in the Dobell Drawing Prize as well as the Archibald – scored the prize with a mixed media picture typical of a very competent practice rooted in the conventional tradition of portraiture both as a site of artistic inquiry as well as an investigation into the physicality and psychology of the subject. If you’re not a contemporary art fashion victim you will enjoy these portraits, chosen by the Deputy Director of AGNSW, Anne Flanagan.
Until August 26
Mosman Art Gallery, Mosman
Pic: Courtesy the artist & Mosman Art Gallery