It really is art prize season in Sydney. The easter show, the moran, the archibald, wynne and sulman prizes and now yours truly is off to the Gallipoli art prize. This is administered by the Gallipoli Club which is a funny old club down near circular quay. Their premises are a little tatty, and that is being polite. You have to climb two flights of stairs to see this show, which is hung in a function room with chairs strewn everywhere. Here's hoping the AMP come to their rescue and redevelop this building soon whereby the club will get three levels of floorspace plus a basement museum.
This is the sixth year the prize has been run. They are only doing it for about 10 years (it is acquisitive) and then they are done. This show got a nice little write up in the SMH, not hard to see why given SMH critic John McDonald is one of the judges. So what did we think of the judges efforts? Well things would've been a little different if I was Art Sheriff this year. I didn't care too much for Hadyn Wilson's prize winning 'Sacrifice'. He had a good story with it but in the absence of reading that, or being familiar with the Hyde Park memorial on which it was based, the work was pretty sparse. Given the paucity of attendance (I was the only one there at lunchtime, save for the little casino style cameras keeping an eye on proceedings) I was tempted to re-arrange the winner and highly commended stickers but was able to resist the urge. I think Ahmet Aksu's 'Anzac's Top Soldiers' would've been a beneficiary of my tomfoolery. This is either an amazing work recreating the naive style of a nine year old or it is actually by a nine year old. It is stretched really badly as well, the canvas has ripples and saggy bits everywhere. But that is the appeal of a competition open to anyone - you get some really random stuff. It was interesting to recognise some names, NAS lecturer Maryanne Wick has a nice entry and Fleur MacDonald (whose art blog is also a good read) has been hung for the 4th time. It's only on until 8 May but helpfully the club makes a pdf available (here) so check it out for yourself.
Points - 3 to Stephen Nothling, a nice work reminiscent of a wattle day badge on canvas that had strapping and eyelets down one side. Kind of reminded me of a hutchee type tent from my cadet days. 2 to Robert Hannaford's 'Life, Death and Mateship' which shows a digger getting it in the neck and 1 to Peter Smeeth for his 'Widows Legacy' - I liked this work much better than his Sulman Winner. Props to all involved and let's see if the team at Big Lamington can get something on show next year!