Artist Pat Brassington has won the Bowness photography prize with a stark black and white shot, against a field of high-quality images.
One of Australia’s most celebrated artists, Pat Brassington, has won one of Australia’s most prestigious photography competitions, the Bowness Photography Prize, worth $25,000. Victoria’s Minister for the Arts, The Hon Heidi Victoria MP, announced Brassington as the winner at the Monash Gallery of Art in south-east Melbourne.
The judges said Pat Brassington‘s winning photograph ‘Shadow boxer 2013’ from the series ‘Quill’ was “a visually striking, strange and contradictory picture”. They commented, "Typical of the artist’s work, the monochromatic image brings together a series of fragments which create a strange and ambiguous world. The parts of the image – two heart-shaped, cactus-like mitts being worn into a space of strange darkness – are drawn from Brassington’s vast archive of images and are deeply personal."
The picture offers a contradiction between the soft photographic tones, the intimacy of the forms and the spikiness of the cactus.
Brassington has said of the ‘Quill’ series, “With these works I had in mind creating a series of tough and uncompromising images that could still be considered beautiful.” One of Australia’s most widely acclaimed and exhibited artists, Brassington said of her work, “I aim to pitch my images just off the verge of normality, into those dense patches where the commonplace goes awry.”
The judges said the winning picture presented "an encounter with the uniquely arresting visual world of one of Australia’s most important artists". Judge and MGA Director Shaune Lakin said, “'Shadow boxer' presents a strange self-portrait of one of our greatest contemporary artists. It’s a real privilege to award the $25,000 prize to Pat Brassington for this wonderful picture, as it gives us a chance to acknowledge an artist who has made a huge contribution to photo-media practice in Australia. Across four decades, Brassington has produced images which have never failed to take us by surprise, and her work has had a tremendous influence on many artists now working in Australia.”
The Bowness Prize judges were Judy Annear (Senior Curator of Photography, Art Gallery of NSW) and Shaune Lakin (Gallery Director, Monash Gallery of Art). Montalto Honourable Mention awards were given to Cherine Fahd, Kelvin Skewes and Wayne Quilliam.
The winning image for this year's Bowness Prize by Pat Brassington was described by judges as "visually striking, strange and contradictory".
Prize-winner Pat Brassington between the Victorian Minister of the Arts, Heidi Victoria (left), and one of the prize sponsors, William Bowness.