Tim Storrier’s work The Histrionic Wayfarer (After Bosch) was chosen from 41 finalists to win the $75,000 prize, an increase of $25,000 from last year. Though there is no face to identify the pith-helmeted figure, Storrier says his winning work is a self-portrait. He wears glasses and carries an over-stuffed backpack, which includes Storrier’s dog and muse Smudge. If you look closely, a drawing of Storrier’s face can be seen on a piece of paper being blown away by the wind in the background of the painting.
He was inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s The Wayfarer, painted in 1510 and currently housed in a Rotterdam museum.
“It was never designed initially as a self-portrait,” Storrier told ABC.net. “It started out as being a reverential work to a painting by Bosch called The Wayfarer, which is essentially about a pilgrim making a decision between good and evil. Now this is not as clear as that, but it’s a starting point.”
The artist thanked Smudge, who was present at today’s ceremony at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, in his acceptance speech.
“I suppose you can say I have won with a portrait of a dog,” he said.
Storrier was an Archibald finalist last year with a similar faceless self-portrait. This year’s runner-up was After Jack by Jenny Sages. The finalists will go on public display at the gallery from Saturday.
The Packers Prize
Melbourne artist Raelene Sharp has won the Packing Room Prize for her portrait of much-loved Australian actor John Wood. The winner is picked by Art Gallery of New South Wales staff who receive and hang the entries for the annual Archibald portrait prize. Sharp’s work, titled A Strength Of Character, focuses on Wood’s well-known face.
“I did a few studies of him to find the right look in order to represent his personality,” she said.
“We have now become quite good friends,” she added.
Wood, whose acting career has spanned over 40 years, won a Gold Logie in 2006 after being nominated 10 times in a row. He is perhaps best known for his roles on Blue Heelers and Rafferty’s Rules.
“I think it’s wonderful that a relatively unknown painter, painting a portrait of a has-been, has managed to win such a prestigious prize,” Wood said.
Sharp takes home $1,500 in cash and prizes. This is the gallery’s head storeman Steve Peters’ 29th Archibald, and the 21st Packing Room Prize. But the portrait he and the workers pick as the best has never gone on to win the Archibald, which is judged by the gallery board of trustees. “Maybe they (the trustees) haven’t ever picked the right one,” Peters said.
This year there are 41 finalists competing for the Archibald, announced at the end of the month.
“I’ve entered a few times, but never been hung before, so it’s fantastic,” Sharp said.
Other famous faces in the running for the $75,000 prize include portraits of producer Emile Sherman and Melbourne priest Father Bob Maguire, which is also the first stencil work to make the cut. Last year’s Packing Room Prize winner Vincent Fantauzzo is in the running with a portrait of up-and-coming Melbourne singer Kimbra.