Winner of the bluethumb Art Prize

The inaugural bluethumb Art Prize was awarded last night at No Vacancy Gallery, and what a fantastic turnout – it was great to see so many faces among the crowd who we have previously only known from profile pictures, as well as meet a fair few bluethumb patrons and plenty who simply appreciate a great exhibition (although who knows, they all might have just been there for our enormous cheese platter)!

IMG_4717Doors opened at 6pm…

IMG_6297…and No Vacancy quickly filled up. Can you spot 2015 Wynn Prize and Portia Geach Winner Natasha Bieniek? 

Of course, the judges could only select 25 works for the exhibition out of the 100 pieces shortlisted. However, we’re so grateful to the massively creative and passionate pool of 1140 entrants into this year’s prize – we hope you’ll all re-enter next time!

IMG_4691bluethumb’s writer Matilda and curator Janni hanging out near the cheese platter

Red wine and catalogue in hand, art lovers perused all the finalists

Speaking of thanks, the exhibition couldn’t have been achieved without the fantastic team at No Vacancy, who got the space looking incredible, and our amazing panel of judges – we didn’t envy their job!

IMG_4693Finalist Donovan Christie with his painting, It’s Showtime! Can you guess where he travelled from?

Suicide Girl Puffin by finalist Maz Dixon‘s Where Once Was Ur

But now for the winner… This year, first place went to Kirsten Sivyer, for her work Home Away from Home! The huge check was awarded by bluethumb’s co-founder Edward Hartley. Kirsten says her work considers “the relationship of modern first world life to the natural environment; a common need to control and protect ourselves from nature which for some, perhaps belies a deeper desire to surrender and belong.”

main_mondrian-meets-smart-at-the-airport-kirsten-sivyer-bluethumb-art (2)Winning entry for 2017, Home Away from Home by Kirsten Sivyer

The feelings she aims to depict in her work are reinforced by the judges comments. Our in-house curator and art prize judge Janni Fewster says of the piece that “it feels like home. It glows, it’s warm and safe, inviting, as a home should be. Kirsten has done an excellent job at capturing that enticing feeling in this work.”

Winner Kirsten Sivyer was over the moon to receive the $10,000 prize from bluethumb’s co-founder Edward Hartley

IMG_4848Finalist Kim Leutwyler with bluethumb’s PR manager Freddy in front of her work, Sirius Cove Reserve

Another judge, Penny Griggs, General Manager of South Australian Living Artists Festival, felt that one of the work’s best elements is its  “beautiful use of light. The mood and glow created in this painting stand out for me. I just kept being drawn back to it.”

IMG_4813Finalist Ben Matei and friends copying Morgan Bain‘s pose in his outstanding portrait

IMG_4672Art lovers admiring finalist paintings by Katerina Apale and Roddy Kerr

Runner-up for the prize was Jimmy Donegan, for his work The Pukara Rock Hole. The Pukara Rock Hole lies in sandy country, and the stories attached to the site are plentiful, linking to great travellers from the Dreamtime – this work is one example of the meaning and story held by Jimmy’s paintings. Penny Griggs commented that these stories and their interpretation within The Pukara Rock Hole intrigued her, and felt that “the colour palette and execution make this work stand out.” 

main_the-pukara-rock-hole-jimmy-donegan-bluethumb-artThe Pukara Rock Hole by Jimmy Donegan. This replacement work of the same name is at the exhibition, as the winning work sold some time ago

Kirsten is awarded $10,000 for her prize winning entry, and Jimmy will take home $1,000 for the runner-up position – a huge congratulations to them both!

The exhibition runs until the 29th of January at No Vacancy Gallery in QV, Melbourne, so if you have time, make sure you head down and see all of our fabulous works for yourself!

Find out more about the bluethumb Art Prize Exhibition

Explore and buy the finalists’ artworks

From Canvas to Screen: 5 Easy-to-Watch Films About Art