After Cameron Stead’s controversial painting, Between you and me 2017, won the Kilgour last year and the young artist took home to $50,000 prize, it’s impossible to predict what judges may choose as the winner this year.
The winner will be announced on Friday, August 3, at Newcastle Art Gallery, at a gala exhibit opening that begins at 5.30pm.
Newcastle artist Peter Lankas, 61, has a work in the final selection for the first time. The work, Winter Swim, features his wife, Susan Porteous, in stride near Merewether Baths.
“Art keeps you young, it keeps you playful,” says Lankas, who also teaches at Newcastle Art School.
The other Newcastle artists in the finals include James Drinkwater, Rachel Milne, Cliff Hosking and Geoffrey Breen.
Drinkwater is a fast rising star in the artworld. He was most recently a finalist in the 2018 Wynne Prize.
Fellow Newcastle artist Rachel Milne was also a finalist in the 2018 Wynne Prize, as were Kilgour finalists Craig Handley and Fiona Lowry.
Also among the finalists is Loribelle Spirovski, from Sydney. Spirovski’s work, Splendour in the Grass, won the 2016 People’s Choice (by popular vote) in the Kilgour. She was a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 2018 and 2017.
Other finalists of the note include Jordan Richardson, a young painter from the Central Coast. He was also a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 2018 and 2017,for portraits of David Wenham and John Bell.
Kilgour finalist Natasha Walsh was also a 2018 Archibald Prize finalist.
This year’s Kilgour judges are Newcastle Art Gallery director Lauretta Morton, Newcastle Art School at Hunter TAFE head teacher Matthew Tome and National Art School Gallery curator and manager Judith Blackall.
Morton says the judging of almost 400 entries was “robust” as always, with considerable differing opinions in the primary stage.
Of the 31 works selected as finalists, 22 of the works came from NSW-based artists.
The works in the Kilgour are judged “blind” – with judges not informed of the name of the artist.
The Kilgour finalists are Geoffrey Breen, Filippa Buttitta, Rachel Coad, James Drinkwater, Sarah Gosling, Jeannine Grey, David Griggs, Craig Handley, Jacqueline Hennessy, Cliff Hosking, Peter Lankas, Fiona Lowry, Marie Mansfield, Steve May, Fiona McMonagle, Rachel Milne, Elliott Nimmo, Alice Palmer, Amanda Penrose Hart, Lori Pensini, Rodney Pople, Glen Preece, Jordan Richardson, Michael Simms, Anthony Slater, Peter Smeeth, Loribelle Spirovski, Susan Sutton, Mark Tweedie, Natasha Walsh and Anthony Williams.
Also hanging in conjunction with the Kilgour is an exhibit, Critics’ Choice, with works from the gallery’s collection selected by art critics Jill Stowell and John Barnes, who both do reviews for the Herald.