Maclaurin claims Maldon prize

Robert Maclaurin is pictured with his Maldon Landscape Prize winning work ‘Wild Winter Mountain, Leanganook’. Photo: Cailin Rose.

Maldon Artists Network (MANet) has partnered with EDGE Galleries in Maldon to present the 2023 Maldon Landscape Prize for painting, drawing, and mixed media. 

The theme for this year’s prize is ‘Essence of Place’ and a generous prize of $10,000 was up for grabs sponsored by the HMR Foundation.

The theme was inspired by the late landscape artist Philip Hunter. 

MANET thank Vera Moller, the late Philip Hunter’s widow and fellow artist, for giving them permission to publish images of Philip Hunter’s work in their promotion of this year’s prize to articulate the ‘Essence of Place.’

The Maldon Landscape Prize encourages artists to personally interpret the landscape. The theme ‘Essence of Place’ invited artists to bring their skills: everything they know, observe, and apprehend, to create work for consideration that may be formal, technically balanced, out of order, maverick, wildly inventive, traditionally understood, arresting, composed, sublime, joyous, anguished, abstract, or a combination of the above.

The judge for this year’s award was highly respected landscape painter Mary Tonkin.

Tonkin works en plein air, a process documented for the first time by the National Gallery of Victoria for their web series inspired by the exhibition She-Oak and Sunlight: Australian Impressionism, 2021. The stereotypical notion of the smock-wearing artist perched imperiously on a hilltop, or ponderously surveying a vista, is anathema to Tonkin’s robust practice.

From the 177 entries, three judges pre-selected 41 works to be judged by Tonkin. 

This year’s winner and commended award recipients were announced at the official launch and awards event at the gallery space at 35-37 Main Street, Maldon last Saturday evening.

This year’s major prize was won by local artist Robert Maclaurin for his oil painting ‘Wild Winter Mountain, Leanganook’.

Judge Mary Tonkin selected Maclaurin’s piece, “For it’s sensuality, the sweep of that central horizontal tree like a caress, for the feeling of lichen on boulders that touch and fold into and dance around one another. The dryness of this beautiful local country. And for the sense of disquiet it conveys, the foreboding sense that all is not well in our world.”

Special commended awards were also awarded to Mark Fuller for ‘Leanganook’, Mark Dober for ‘Forest Tangle, Mt Alexander’, and Chris Delpratt for ‘Enriched’.

Local art lovers can catch the Maldon Landscape Prize exhibition at EDGE Gallery from Wednesday – Sunday 11am-3pm until November 11. 

The finalists work will also feature in an online exhibition from November 19, 2023 to February 14, 2024 with community members invited to cast their vote in the ‘People’s Choice Award’ of $1000 which will be announced on February 14, 2024.

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