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Portia Geach Memorial Award 2022 winner announced

Portia Geach Memorial Award 2022 winner announced

Lynn Savery announced as the recipient of Australia’s most recognised portrait prize for women


LYNN SAVERY Kindred Spirits (Eloise da Silva) oil on linen 210 x 180 cm

Lynn Savery has been announced as the winner of the 2022 Portia Geach Memorial Award, the pre-eminent portraiture prize for women in Australia.

She will receive a $30,000 prize for her portrait entitled Kindred spirits, with her work to be displayed at the S.H. Ervin Gallery, The Rocks.

On her portrait of Eloise da Silva, Savery writes: ‘Beauty has long been dismissed by the contemporary art world as superficial but as the late American painter Agnes Martin explains beauty is the mystery of life and this portrait of Eloise da Silva celebrates it. Eloise is a member of a family that has long been at the cutting edge of the Melbourne and Australian fashion industry. She and I share a love of fashion—of fabrics and designs. It is love of the beauty of the fleeting—of colour, line, texture, and light. We also share a deep appreciation for the natural world and this work expresses concern for the ecological crisis facing the planet.

First awarded in 1965, the Portia Geach Memorial Award was established by Florence Kate Geach in memory of her sister, artist Portia Geach. Perpetual is trustee of the Award and as per the direction of the will, it is presented annually to an Australian female artist for the best portrait painted from life of a man or woman distinguished in art, letters or the sciences.

The judging panel included Anita Belgiorno-Nettis, Trustee of Art Gallery of New South Wales, Natalie Wilson, Curator of Australian and Pacific Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Jane Watters, Director, S.H Ervin Gallery. The panel commented: “The judges were pleased to observe diverse approaches to portrait painting from classical, formal compositions to contemporary inventive depictions in order to capture their subject. In the final judging the high standard of the finalists was evident, and they would like to acknowledge the artists for their efforts.

The judging panel selected 58 works from 336 entries received from female artists across Australia.  On Lynn Savery’s portrait, they said: “This year’s winner Kindred spirits, a portrait of Eloise da Silva, demonstrates skills and expertise in painterly techniques and ambition. The judges were reminded of the German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich whose allegorical landscapes also featured contemplative figures alone amongst darkened skies and leafless trees.

The judges also highly commended Jenny Rogerson for her painting Tangled – self portrait.