CAPTURED: Nimbin's Michael Balderstone in  Polite , by Marc Stapelberg, is one of the 69 finalists this year.
CAPTURED: Nimbin's Michael Balderstone in Polite , by Marc Stapelberg, is one of the 69 finalists this year.

NSW Art Gallery director to announce portrait prize winner

THE official opening of the and winner announcement of the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize will be held in Lismore on Saturday, July 28.

The winner will be announced by Dr Michael Brand, Director of the Art Gallery NSW, at 12noon that day.

69 portraits have been selected from 211 strong entries for the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize this year.

These 69 will be included in the exhibition of finalists starting on July 28.

Now in its 8th year, the prize was originally called The Northern Rivers Portrait Prize, and it was a painting and drawing prize open to artists whose artwork depicted a person from the Northern Rivers.

It has since expanded to include portraits of any subject in any medium and is open to artists Australia wide.

The finalist works reflect this expansion and include paintings, drawings, photographs, ceramics, and video portraits.

Subjects are equally diverse and include local identities such as, Michael Balderstone, Dailan Pugh OAM and Ric Richardson, celebrities like Reg Mombassa, and more personal portraits of artists' family members and quite a few self-portraits.

Lismore Regional Gallery curator Kezia Geddes said portraiture is Australia's favourite genre of art.

"Big art prizes like The Archibald, The Doug Moran and The Portia Geach Memorial are testament to our love of the portrait," she said.

"People are ultimately programmed to understand the human face and its many expressions.

"It is therefore not surprising that we are so readily enchanted by the ability of artists to render subtle nuances of a person and to capture something - whether this be a likeness or an aspect of someone's persona."


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