The Weekend Bulletin

Moran Arts Foundation has announced the 30 finalists in the 2022 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, Australia’s richest portrait prize.  Artists from around the country are represented in the prestigious group and they have portrayed musicians, performers, scientists and artists among others in their works.

The finalists are in the running for a $150,000 first prize to be announced on November 30.

 The 2022 Prize is judged by Gerard Vaughan, Australian art historian and museum administrator, Lucy Culliton, one of Australia’s foremost contemporary artists and Peter Moran, Moran Arts Foundation.  Peter’s parents Doug and Greta Moran AO established the Moran Arts Foundation in 1988 to fulfill their dream of helping Australian artists along the path to excellence.

Judge Gerard Vaughan said: “The finalists in the 2022 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize represent a deeply interesting cross-section of Australian artistic talent, and each is to be warmly congratulated. Needless to say, judging so many entries of high quality, equally fascinating for the subjects each artist has chosen to portray, has been challenging, and delivering this final shortlist has necessitated leaving out many, many works which the judges admired.

“What is presented here, for all viewers to contemplate and respond to, demonstrates the many facets of contemporary portraiture in Australia, a genre which remains as popular and talked about as ever. The artists’ different approaches to offering us insights into their subjects demand attention. This encompasses many different styles of painting, some of which might collectively be described as realist - often with careful drawing and miraculously precise painting techniques, several consciously looking back at the art of the past, reprising recognisable art works in a consciously contemporary way - while others are powerfully expressive, painterly and even abstracting, where the fluidity of the paint itself tells its own story.”

He said each artist has successfully offered the viewer an insight into the personality and life experience of the sitter, and how they themselves see the sitter, referring to themes such as health and healthcare, particularly in a moment of pandemic, ageing, sometimes grief , but also the power of resilience, and happiness and the joy of life - how Australians choose to live.

“What is particularly impressive is the number of artists’ self portraits, or their portraits of artist friends, or artists working in their studios - a sure signal of their commitment to their own practice, and how they want to communicate it to others,” Mr Vaughan said.

All the finalists will appear in an online exhibition after the winner is announced at the end of the month.

The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize judges original artworks from Australian artists, capturing Australians from all walks of life, whether a public figure or someone from the artist’s circle of experience. Works are painted at least partly from life with the sitter known to the artist and aware of the artist’s intention to enter the Prize.

A full list of finalists is below and images of their entries can be found here


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