Blake Prize painting by Leonard Brown ‘virtuoso, inspired’

Freud, Hockney, Hirst and so on

Blake Prize painting by Leonard Brown ‘virtuoso, inspired’

Postby rekha2010 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:24 am

AT first glance, the winning work in the 59th annual Blake Prize for religious and spiritual art seems unremarkable.

But true to its title, If you put your ear close, you'll hear it breathing, the painting reveals its hypnotic intensity on close inspection.

Queensland-based artist Leonard Brown says his kind of work is not done justice by the constant light-controlled conditions of a gallery. “Paintings in institutions have a tricky existence – they become a little one-dimensional,” he said.

“A painting like this needs changing natural light.”

The decision of the judges -- religious educator Andrew Bullen, artist Maria Fernanda Cardoso and art historian Sasha Grishin -- to award the $20,000 prize to Brown was unanimous and announced yesterday at the National Art School in Sydney,

They described the work as “a virtuoso . . . painting, a single inspired breath of creation.” “In a world of images that hold our attention for a nanosecond, Leonard Brown’s beautiful and deeply contemplative painting appears strangely out of place,” they said.

Brown emphatically denies the Zen influence some claim to see in the repetitive patterns in the painting. “My references are universal,” the artist said.

“As a Christian, my references are within that dimension where pure abstraction is a familiar, where the ideas of emptiness and the metaphoric going into the desert to find God are pursued.”
More than 1160 visual artworks were submitted this year, along with 760 poetic works vying for the $5000 Blake Poetry prize. The poetry prize was won by Buddhist Tasha Sudan for her poem Rahula, a rendition of the life of Buddha as seen through the eyes of his son.

Other visual art categories include the John Coburn Emerging Artist Award ($5000), won by Michelle Sakaris for her photographic print Font; and the Blake Prize for Human Justice ($5000), which went to Fiona White for her painting AGE 36.

White’s work documents the moment last year when an indigenous petrol-sniffer was tasered by police in Western Australia, causing third-degree burns to 20 per cent of his body.
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