Halinka Orszulok wins the 2018 Glover Prize

NSW artist Halinka Orszulok has won the 2018 Glover Prize, receiving $50,000 and a bronze maquette of colonial artist and award namesake, John Glover.

Orszulok’s winning painting, Ponies, depicts Launceston’s Cataract Gorge at night, juxtaposing the shadowy natural landscape with children’s play equipment shrouded in artificial light, casting long shadows. The judges described the work as a ‘psychological landscape’ rather than a literal interpretation of the Gorge.

Orszulok described the Gorge as ‘an intersection of nature, culture, and history. A natural playground, it echoes romantic ideas about the role of nature and the sublime; and represents a counterpoint to the ills of modern society. It could be said that the complexities of our human-centric and historically entrenched relationship to the natural world are in some way expressed here, and mirror tensions found in the greater landscape of Tasmania.’

The artist continues, ‘I was interested in visiting and painting the location as it fulfils some important criteria for me. It is a landscape with strong, moody, artificial-light which causes the world to fall into stark contrast, and contains complex, interwoven layers of signification. I found the pretty plastic ponies riding through the verdant Tasmanian forest a particularly evocative image – an introduced species evoking the invasion of this island. They are also symbols with a strong pull on the subconscious. There is a dream-like quality to the image. I have dreamt of riding horses through both familiar and unexpected environments. To me, the ponies represent power, freedom, and escape. The image represents a moment in an open-ended story where the viewer must arrive at their own meaning’.

The Glover Prize is awarded to the best contemporary landscape painting of Tasmania completed in the previous 12 months by an artist from anywhere in the world. This year’s judges were Tony Stephens, ArtBank Director; Natalia Ottolenghi Bradshaw, arts curator, adviser, and advocate; Dr Jane Deeth, Director, New Audiences for Art.

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