Put your shoes on Lucy
The 2010 Fletcher Jones Art Prize exhibition is now on. The winner is a strange depiction of - I think - a bag lady lying on top of her possessions, barely painted in parts with a rather frugal use of paint. There's a nice touch in the corner with those shoes! There were at least six very good paintings, in my opinion, and probably about ten, that were rather ordinary. I particularly liked the following: Katherine Hattam Snakes and Ladders, Grant Hill Calistamon Court, Jason Moad, Museum 111 (Phar Lap), Tony Lloyd On a Dark Night you can see forever, Victoria Reicheit Panic, the latter being a pile of books stacked diagonally.
The spiel from the Gallery is as follows:
An exhibition of selected entries submitted from around Australia for this $30,000 acquisitive painting award. Fletcher Jones has generously sponsored the event that assists with the development of the Gallery's contemporary collection.
The 2010 Fletcher Jones art prize was awarded to Tim McMonagle for his work, The happy song (2009). McMonagle's work was inspired by the languid demeanour of a homeless woman observed by the artist while on a residency in New York in the late-1980s, McMonagle's painting depicts a dishevelled, barefoot figure reclining on a vast and bulbous mound representing her worldly possessions. Discarded high heel shoes and a plastic drinking cup are positioned in the foreground: symbols of the consumer culture from which she is seemingly displaced.
Reminiscent of the social satire of 18th and early-19th century British artists such as William Hogarth, Thomas Rowlandson and James Gillray, McMonagle's ‘dream-like' composition offers a contemporary parallel to the social commentaries of these earlier artists.
Using the square format that has become a signature of the artist's practice, the work is rendered in a severe mono-tonal palette, the sepia tint emphasising McMonagle's strong drafting skills. Thick impastoed paint, juxtaposed with light, almost scumbled passages test the possibilities of the oil medium.