Bluethumb Art Prize 2020: A Focus on Our Finalists

We have just over one week until our virtual awards ceremony for the Bluethumb Art Prize 2020, and it’s safe to say: this year’s prize is the best we’ve had yet. Between the star-studded, artist-led judging panel and more than 2,500 entries to choose from, we’ve been overwhelmed by the response and standard of work coming from Australia’s talented artists!

As we get closer to the virtual event of the year (for us, at least!), we’re taking a look at a few more of the 180 selected finalists and their incredible entries.

Erin Nicholls: A Finalist Fitting for 2020

The work of Erin Nicholls has continuously reflected a well-lived, insightful life. From learning the oil painting techniques of Old Masters in Florence, to travelling to the pockets of the earth, Erin’s experiences influence a body of work that resonates with anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, or appreciated that a time and place will never be repeated. As the Category Winner for Works on Paper in our Bluethumb Art Prize 2018, Erin is a hot favourite.

Erin quotes Blade Runner as a sonorous source to Self Portrait-19: “All those moments…lost in time, like tears in rain.”

“This drawing is based on a photo of me that was taken in 2019, in Tokyo,” Erin says on her entry, Self Portrait-19. “I decided to create a drawing of it because to me, it represents my life during the pandemic – enclosed in a protective bubble that is both a shield and a prison. So many moments have been lost this last year, birthdays, graduations, weddings… The rain on my umbrella washing away the life that could have been.”

Find more of Erin’s incredible drawings here.

Solomon Kammer: Art Reflecting Reality

Solomon Kammer with one of her portraits. Credit: Broadsheet Adelaide

Winner of the 2018 Bluethumb $3000 SALA Peoples Choice Artist Prize, and formerly known as Ellie, Solomon Kammer’s skill meets hard but vital emotions to be expressed. While she currently draws a focus on women’s health in her work, Solomon addresses the intricate nature of larger, systemic issues, through her brutal yet exquisite body of work. Feminism, gender equality, ableism and human rights are but a few of the themes she frequently explores.

Cede shows an insight into the journey of testing and diagnosing a little-researched illness.

Solomon Kammer’s entry, Cede, discusses the submission, hesitation, discomfort and fear that comes with pursuing a diagnosis. Her own story heavily informs this discourse, as she notes the unspoken and often underplayed effect little-known illnesses can have on mental health. With experience of symptoms, pains and sensations that presented themselves throughout years of a diagnostic process, Solomon depicts the traumatic and intrusive nature of this time.

See more of her work here.

Amanda Krantz: Organic Psychedelia, Perspective and Power

3-time Bluethumb Art Prize finalist Amanda Krantz’s evolution as an artist spans from the beginning of the online art world (and internet) in 2000. From hustling her artworks on eBay to residencies worldwide, her creative journey has in turn evolved drastically over the past twenty years. With each series informing and influencing the growth and depth of the next, we can always rely on Amanda to keep us intrigued into her forthcoming work.

Neglected Garden Diptych by Amanda Krantz.

“This piece is an evolution of my previous bonsai and garden works, where I explore what could happen if the once manicured were left for nature to take over,” Amanda adds on her entry Neglected Garden Diptych. “I find man-made structures that have been reclaimed by nature so comforting… a reminder of natures’ power and our relative insignificance.”

Leaf through more of Amanda’s organic psychedelia here.

Matthew Quick: A Finalist Telling the Tales of Our Times

Matthew Quick at work.

Since taking the plunge into a painting-focussed career path, Matthew Quick has been a finalist in more than seventy national awards. Being a finalist in this year’s Bluethumb Art Prize may be just one of the many accolades on his belt, but looking at the compelling narratives within his work, it’s easy to see why.

Bluethumb Art Prize Finalist

#truestory is a fun, lighter take on some harsher truths of modern social norms.

Matthew’s objective as an artist lies in telling a story in just one image. Beautifully thought-provoking, his work plays on myths and traditional tales, often juxtaposed with the surreal nature of our current reality. His entry to the prize, #truestory, depicts modern contrasts of two ideas of beauty standards onto a mirror-like surface.

Browse Matthew’s profile here for more award-worthy artworks.

Jamie Preisz: A Finalist Traversing Polarities

Winning the esteemed Archibald Packing Room Prize and being a finalist in multiple awards; completing national and international residencies and exhibiting in some of Sydney’s sharpest contemporary spaces are no easy feats, but this is the standard at which we find Jamie Preisz. A firmly collectable artist, Jamie consistently leaves room for unpacking and answering questions within his work.

Bluethumb Art Prize Finalist

Odysseus by Jamie Preisz.

Odysseus, Jamie’s entry to this year’s Bluethumb Art Prize, is part of a series that consciously returns to portraiture through a juxtaposition with ephemera and objects previously explored in his still-life works. In a polarity of inspiration between the techniques of the Old Masters and pursuing the contemporary, Jamie Preisz draws from both directions to bring forward new, challenging narratives.

Click here for more of Jamie’s work.

Ali Choudhry: Fashion Photography, Deviated

What makes us, us? From a unique inter-sectional identity, Ali Choudhry is fascinated by this question. Through minimal and simplistic composition, carefully selected colour use and a clean, controlled consideration of form, Ali’s work explores the individual facets of identity and how these are translated into the stories we tell. His photography has been shortlisted in the Incinerator Art Prize and the Bowness Prize, and never fails to pack a punch.

The series three bed, two bath, two and a half car garage. seeks to critique excess. Ali’s entry #B11 is part of a carousel of coloured frames of dolls’ clothing. In this series, Ali openly comments on the detrimental effect corporate culture has had on a global scale, and the immeasurable cost the fashion industry has had on the world.

Discover more of Ali Choudhry’s portfolio here.

Arthur Mavros: Old Myths, New Mediums

Arthur Mavros specialises in bringing together the majesty of landscapes and nature with that of the beauty and elegance of the female form. His most recent award wins include the ‘Nudes on Tap’ contest as part of the Sydney Head On Photo Festival.

Bluethumb Art Prize Finalist

Venus by Arthur Mavros.

“This image takes in my vision as to the birth of Venus,” Arthur explains on his entry, Venus. “I have always been inspired by the works of the masters of the Renaissance period. Seeded with the vision of Sandro Botticelli’s painting, this image was born.”

Discover more of Arthur’s photography here.

Bluethumb Art Prize 2020 People’s Choice Award: Your Votes Matter!

Want to do good and feel good? You can now vote for your five favourite artworks from our 180 finalists! Not only will you help the artists get one vote closer to winning our People’s Choice Award, you’ll also go in the running to win one of your favourite artworks valued up to $2,000. It’s a win-win! Click here to cast your vote.

Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the Ts & Cs. We can’t wait to see what you choose!

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