We set off this morning to the Yarra Valley to visit the Tarrawarra Gallery to see an exhibition of the finalists for the Archibald Prize for 2012. (The Archibald Prize is awarded each year for outstanding portrait painting). It was a very cold morning – only about 5 degrees but the sunshine, all be it rather weak, was quite warm behind the windows of the car. The temperature around here had got down as low as 1 degree overnight and this was one of Melbourne’s coldest mornings for over a year.
As in previous years, we had to park in the car park at the bottom of the hill and walk up to the gallery. Jill was lucky enough to get a ride in one of the shuttles. The architecture of the gallery is quite stunning – l long low building with narrow windows that allow a glimpse across the rolling landscape. Each window presents a view that is like a work of art in itself.
There were some stunning paintings in the exhibition,although I didn’t think that they were as good as in the previous year. There were not as many well known people and a lot of self portraits. It was interesting this year that the winning painting was one which actually didn’t have a face. Quite strange for a portrait competition.
I rather liked the winner of the Packer’s Prize, an informal prize given by the staff who pack the paintings for their travel to various galleries around Australia. It was of John Wood, the actor.
Another favourite of mine was a painting of an Australian Special Services Soldier in Afghanistan. It was called Private X as soldiers in these roles are not allowed to be identified.