Patricia Piccinini awarded for her works

Patricia Piccinini is the successful recipient of the 2014 Melbourne Art Foundation Award for the Visual Arts, honoured alongside the winners of the Visionary Award, philanthropists Peter and Joan Clemenger, at a gala dinner hosted at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) last Friday night, 18 July.

piccinini_oughtredThe venerated Melbourne Art Foundation Artist Award recognises Piccinini’s hard-earned achievements as an Australian artist for a comprehensive body of work.  Previous recipients of the Artist Award include Fiona Hall (2011), John Mawurndjul (2009), Peter Booth (2007) and James Gleeson AO (2005).

An artist whose fame has withheld the test of time, Piccinini’s art practice since the early 1990s has explored the blurring of science and nature, bioengineering and human reproduction, questioning  and challenging audiences about what is termed ‘natural’ in an age of digital technology.

The Visionary Award presented to Peter Clemenger, Executive Chairman of prominent Australian creative agency Clemenger BBDO, and his wife Joan Clemenger was long due recognition for their commitment of supporting the growth of contemporary Australian art.  In particular, from 1991 – 2009 Peter and Joan enabled the National Gallery of Victoria to establish the Clemenger Contemporary Art Award, a triennial exhibition that celebrates distinguished contemporary artists.

Commenting on the Visionary Award, Anna Pappas, Chairman of the Board, Melbourne Art Foundation, said: “This Award honours two remarkable Australian benefactors of both the visual arts and performing arts. Peter and Joan Clemenger have shown tireless dedication and attentiveness in their support for Australian artists and artistic diversity, both nationally and beyond.”

The noteworthy Visionary Award has previously been awarded to Marc Beson AO & Eva Besen AO (2011), Ann Lewis AO (2009), Gordon Darling AC, CMG and Marilyn Darling AC (2007) and James Mollison AO (2005).

The award winners each received a sterling silver wall sculpture by Victorian artist Robert Bridgewater, titled Waking Child, 2007.   The work is organic in structure; comprised of sharp textural rays it is evocative of earthly creation.

Commenting on the success of the night Anna Pappas said: “Established in 2005, our biennial National Awards for the Visual Arts play a vital role in the advancement of Australia’s visual arts by recognising and promoting distinction and vision in this field. Patricia Piccinini was a unanimous decision by the judging panel this year.”


Melbourne Art Foundation

Image by photographer Alli Oughtred
Courtesy the photographer and the Melbourne Art Foundation