Countdown to Newcastle Art Gallery's Kilgour Art Prize

Delivery day: Peter Lankas delivers his entry, Winter Swim, to Newcastle Art Gallery exhibitions officer Lisa Kirkpatrick. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
Delivery day: Peter Lankas delivers his entry, Winter Swim, to Newcastle Art Gallery exhibitions officer Lisa Kirkpatrick. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

It’s nearly showtime for the 8th Kilgour Prize.

The $50,000 prize for figurative and portrait painting run by Newcastle Art Gallery will be announced on Friday, August 3, at the opening of the exhibition of the 31 finalists.

Newcastle artist Peter Lankas, 61, is among five Hunter Region artists in the finals. The other local finalists are Geoffrey Breen, James Drinkwater, Cliff Hosking and Rachel Milne. Finalist Jordan Richardson, who was also an Archibald Prize finalist this year, is from the Central Coast.

The prize, one of the richest in Australia, drew nearly 400 entries. The finalists range in age from 24 years old to 80, with 14 women and 17 men. There were entries from every state and territory, but all of the finalists are from the eastern states.

Lankas’s work, Winter Swim, is a painting of his wife, Susan Porteous, at Merewether Baths in the evening. Lankas swam there daily until this year, and now opts to do his winter swimming at Charlestown pool.

While the Kilgour attracts artists of national stature, it has previously been won by Newcastle artists Dallas Bray (twice) and Peter Gardiner. Last year’s winner, Cameron Stead, attended  Hunter School for the Performing Arts and studied at the University of Newcastle.

Newcastle Art Gallery director Lauretta Morton said the judging was “robust” to narrow the field to 31 finalists.

The judges for the prize are Morton, Matthew Tome, head teacher Newcastle Art School, Hunter TAFE, and Judith Blackall, curator and manager at the National Art School Gallery.

The prize is named for artist Jack Noel Kilgour, who bequeathed the funds for it.