A whimsical double self-portrait by Newcastle artist Michael Bell has won the 2020 Kilgour Prize.
Michael’s work Starting The after party (Two self-portraits) 2020 was chosen as overall winner of the prestigious art prize from a pool of 350 entries and 30 finalists from across Australia.
The announcement was made by Newcastle Councillor Carol Duncan in a special live-streamed event at Newcastle Art Gallery on Friday.
The work which also netted Michael an attractive $50,000 purse depicts the artist standing in front of another self-portrait The after party, which was a 2019 Kilgour Prize finalist.
This year’s prize was judged by Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton and invited judges Rachel Arndt – Gallery Programs and Touring Exhibitions Manager, Museums and Galleries of NSW, and Stephen Gilchrist – Curator and Lecturer Art History, The University of Sydney.
The judges were impressed by the composition of the winning painting and details of the studio throughout – the bottle of linseed oil, the motivational quotes stuck up on the wall, the tip of the dog’s nose on the canvas to the right – a nod to some of the artist’s most well-known dog beach works.
Newcastle Art Gallery Director Lauretta Morton said it was a wonderful acknowledgement of a much-loved and highly respected local artist.
“Michael Bell’s career spans over 30 years. A teacher at the Newcastle Art School, Bell has been included as a finalist in exhibitions such as The Archibald Prize, The Sulman Prize and the KILGOUR PRIZE. Bell has also designed for iconic Australian brands such as Triple J and surf label Mambo Australia,” she said.
Kilgour Prize 2020 Finalists
Elizabeth Austin, Michael Bell, Andrew Bennett, Daniel Butterworth, Lileana Colarelli, Tony Costa, Greg Creek, Dagmar Cyrulla, Tracy Dods, Esther Erlich, Peter Gardiner, Craig Handley, Jacqueline Hennessy, Corinna Howell, Brittany Jones, Erik Krebs-Schade, Bronni Krieger, Kenneth Lambert, Kerry Mcinnis, Joshua Mcpherson, Anh Nguyen, Lori Pensini, Jordan Richardson, Melissa Ritchie, Ben Ryan, Lynn Savery, Wendy Sharpe, An Sheng, Oliver Shepherd, Kylie Melinda Smith
The 2020 Kilgour Prize exhibition showcases the 30 finalists and is on display at Newcastle Art Gallery from 1 August to 15 November.
Visitors to the exhibition can vote for the People’s Choice Award until 5pm Wednesday 21 October. The winner will be announced Monday 26 October.