Michael Zavros, seen here in front of one of his paintings, will judge the Northern Rivers Portrait Prize.
Michael Zavros, seen here in front of one of his paintings, will judge the Northern Rivers Portrait Prize.

Zavros to judge Portrait Prize

New Lismore Regional Gallery director Brett Adlington has chosen 36-year-old artist Michael Zavros to judge the winning portraiture in the Northern Rivers Portrait Prize.

“He’s a well known Australian artist,” Brett said. “And portraiture is part of his art practice. He’s been a finalist in quite a few Archibalds.”

Entries for the 2010 Northern Rivers Portrait Prize close on February 26.

So, it’s time to get that brush wet, wine poured, and start creating your portrait of a person from the Northern Rivers who is of value to the community.

And there’s not only the kudos of participating in this reinvention of a very popular art prize that’s up for grabs, but there’s some serious money as well with an acquisitive first prize of $7500 sponsored by The Northern Rivers Echo and Walters Solicitors.

There are three awards overall – The $7500 overall winner, the $1000 Andrew and Jeni Binns Emerging Artist Award, and the $500 Lismore Regional Gallery People’s Choice Award.

Zavros will judge the winning entry after a pre-selection process to determine the finalists.

“The pre-selection process will identify artworks of the highest quality and will present a cross-section of the community,” Brett Adlington said. “We want to show the diversity of this community. Ultimately we’re looking for artworks that capture the person represented. A good portrait tells us the story of that person.”

Michael Zavros agrees.

“It’s good to come to artwork cold,” Michael said. “We don’t need to know anything about the subject or the artist. The art of portraiture is in how much the artwork can convey the subject’s story.”

Michael is interested in the development of portraiture as an artform; where it’s headed.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what the Northern Rivers Portrait Prize offers. I guess I’m interested in what portraiture should be in 2010.”

So, how does Michael approach portraiture in his own art practice?

“I first and foremost try to make an artwork,” he said.

Commenting on his art practice and referring to his self-portrait, Ars Longa Vita Brevis, which was a controversial finalist in last year’s Archibald Prize, Michael said, “All the objects in the painting I possess, so I count myself a consumer. I am not immune to the lure of beautiful things: I covet these objects. The collective shape of the objects is intended to suggest a skull (my own) and in that sense I am confronting my own mortality, questioning what might be my legacy.

“Will it be the things I left behind or that which I create? Or are they in fact the same thing? While it is a self-portrait I see it is an extension of my larger practice, which explores a kind of contemporary attitude of disaffection, or ennui. I know I will die but will I leave a good looking corpse?”

You can download an entry form from the Lismore Regional Gallery website at www.lismoregallery.org. Or phone the gallery on 6622 2209.

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