A Tasmanian artist and university lecturer has taken out the ‘world’s richest landscape art prize’, in its second iteration.
Neil Haddon’s depiction of prolific author H.G Wells earned him first place in the 2018 Hadley’s Art Prize, along with a $100 000 pay cheque.
The winning piece, The Visit is a textural painting on contrasting surfaces, portraying a fictional scene of the British writer cycling through a Tasmanian landscape.
“The artist’s distinctive, refined technique indicates a point of resolution in his practice that is well worthy of the prize.”
Mr Haddon said the piece alludes to Wells’ science fiction novel, The War of the Worlds, and references colonial artist, John Glover and French artist Paul Gaugin.
“Wells was a keen cyclist,” he said.
“As he rode, he planned The War of the Worlds, imagining the extermination of the human race by aliens.
“Wells also alludes to the attempted genocide of Aboriginal Tasmanians in the opening paragraphs of this book.”
“There is no doubt that his painting, The Visit, is a complex and accomplished painting that raises many questions about landscape, custodianship and contact history.”
Entries to the Prize almost doubled since its debut last year, with the 32 finalists selected from a pool of 640 entrants.
More than half of the 2018 finalists were women, and one third were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists.
Three national art specialists made up this year’s judging panel; Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Exhibitions and Collections at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Clothilde Bullen, Principal Curator of Art at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Jane Stewart and leading Australian artist, Michael Zavros.
Mr Zavros said the Hadley’s Art Prize demonstrated that the history of Australian art continued to be deeply connected to landscape painting.
“Our relationship to land has always been complicated, at times even fraught, and as such, the landscape as concept, as the subject of our art, remains constantly relevant,” Mr Zavros said.
Judge Jane Stewart said despite long deliberations, Haddon’s winning piece was unanimously chosen.
“There is no doubt that his painting, The Visit, is a complex and accomplished painting that raises many questions about landscape, custodianship and contact history”
Judge Clothilde Bullen agreed, “The artist’s distinctive, refined technique indicates a point of resolution in his practice that is well worthy of the prize,” she said.
Artists Jacobus Capone, Tjukupati James, Daisy Japulija and Betty Kuntiwa Pumani recieved highly commended awards for their entries.