Artist David Fairbairn won this prestigious award for 2012 with a masterly layered portrait of deep thought growing out of the act of simultaneously viewing and understanding. Such is the confidence and vitality of his line that the viewer comes away energised.
Next door to the winning work is an elegant study in levitation by Ben Smith that similarly engages the viewer in thought. The seeming effortless simplicity of this fine work is as diverting as any possible UFO undercurrent.
Michael Muir has found his own style; a richness that rewards us with magic, sunlight and colour, which belies the serious thought and draughtsmanship beneath.
There were many other standout works in this exciting exhibition which shared the Mosman Gallery space with the new Neil Balnaves Gift Bequest Collection.
The inspired collector Neil Balnaves has demonstrated great wisdom in gifting a comprehensive collection. Here, for all , is a lesson on how to collect. Do it with your heart! A gentle oasis of romantic works of an earlier time engages young and old. It is to be hoped that other Mosman benefactors will now come forward to submit works of this genre and period to the Director of the Gallery. If they are accepted they could be added to this splendid collection of Sydney Harbour paintings.
Perhaps if the Mosman Gallery cleverly provides a blank space near the collection with a sign in a suitable gilt plaster frame saying “Your gift painting here!” the cue will be provided for this happy eventuality.
The Mosman Art Prize, which was judged by Anne Flanagan, Deputy Director of the AGNSW, is on view from 21st July till 26th August. The must visit Balnaves Collection is an ongoing exhibition.