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Archibald Review

Art Gallery of NSW, Archibald,

Sulman and Wynne Prizes


The wet weather was over and despite a road closure at Menangle Bridge, due to flooding, most of the group managed to make it to Macarthur station in time to catch 7:48 train to the city. A few others joined us en route making a total of 15 eager art critics ready to examine the best portraits of 2015 and decide on a worthy winner for the inaugural Harry Swan Award.

Our guide, Patricia Elliot, met us at 9:30 and began our showing one half hour before the general public were admitted. This was most beneficial because the gallery quickly filled after opening time. Patricia spoke on each of the 47 entries individually and provided a good description of the various art techniques employed, ideas behind the portraits and even the occasional insight into the character of particular artists.

After a very enjoyable 2 hours, which seemed to pass so quickly, we all adjourned to the coffee shop for morning tea and voting on the esteemed Harry Swan Award. Not surprisingly, our choices did not agree with those of the Archibald judges. In first place was a portrait by Jiawei Shen titled ‘How to explain art with a white rabbit’ Runners up were: Carla Fletcher with a portrait of Jenny Kee, Angus McDonald with a portrait of the singer Abbe May and Jason Benjamin with a portrait of Paul Kelly titled ‘I sat by the river. I waited by the road’. A favourite amongst the ladies was a wedding portrait by Rodney Pople titled ‘Frannie and Brett’.

Following morning tea a number of the group returned to the gallery to view the Sulman and Wynne exhibitions while others left to pursue their own plans for the rest of the day. The Sulman exhibition contained some beautiful works by lesser and well known artists, including a popular scene by Max Mannix titled ‘Downtown Saturday morning’ This years Sulman winner by Jason Phu called ‘ I was at yum cha when in rolled the three severed heads of Bhudda’, in our humble opinion, was a very strange choice.

The Wynne exhibition was excellent with too many fine exhibits to mention here. However, the winning entry was a magnificent miniature oil painting by Natasha Bienniek called ‘Biophillia’

A great day was had by all who attended and hopefully we can make this an annual HPPC event. As usual, many thanks must go to Steve White for organising another brilliant Heritage outing.

Sam and Vickie Humphries

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