Tim Storrier wins Archibald Packing Room prize
A painting of Sir Les Patterson by previous Archibald Prize winner Tim Storrier wins the Packing Room Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW.PT1M59S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3boto 620 349 July 10, 2014
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Winning the Packing Room Prize has always been the kiss of death for artists competing for the more prestigious and valuable Archibald Prize.
But that 23-year hoodoo may be broken after the Art Gallery of NSW’s head storeman, Steve Peters, awarded the $1500 prize to Tim Storrier on Thursday for his portrait of Barry Humphries’ alter ego, Sir Les Patterson, in a stained suit and wielding a cigarette and glass of alcohol.
Winners all: Tim Storrier and Steve Peters with the Les Patterson portrait. Photo: Getty Images/Cole Bennetts
Mr Peters said Storrier, who won the 2012 Archibald Prize with a faceless self-portrait, had captured a photographic likeness of Humphries’ vulgar comic creation.
“It looks like Sir Les Patterson and that’s part of the criteria for us,” he said. “The actual subject has to look like the portrait. A lot of them don’t.”
The Packing Room Prize is judged by the gallery staff who receive the Archibald entries and hang them although Mr Peters wields dictatorial control over the modest prize.
2014 Archibald Prize finalists
Fiona Lowry, 'Penelope Seidler'. Photo: Supplied
Never afraid to voice an opinion about the portraits entered in the Archibald Prize, Mr Peters said the standard of entries had improved this year.
“You get the so-so’s every year,” he said. “Absolutely hopeless and the shockers. But this year is quite good.”
In its 23-year history, the winner of the Packing Room Prize has never won the Archibald, which is judged by the 11 trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW.
Tim Storrier's portrait of Sir Les Patterson has won the Packing Room Prize. Photo: Supplied
But the president of the gallery’s board of trustees, Guido Belgiorno-Nettis, described Storrier’s portrait as “brilliant” and “funny”.
“As soon as it came in the room we thought this has got to be hung,” Mr Belgiorno-Nettis said.
He added: “I loved the Sir Les because it just says so much about our culture … and it’s so well-executed.”
A portrait of Adam Goodes by Alan Jones, another finalist in the Archibald Prize. Photo: Getty Images/Cole Bennetts
Brandishing a copy of Sir Les’ 1985 book The Traveller’s Tool, Storrier read out a statement from Sir Les, which typified his politically incorrect brand of humour.
"Thanks to that clever bastard Tim Storrier and his brushwork, generations of young Australian art lovers, in particular nubile members of the opposite sex community will look up to what I have to offer, and with any luck, like the eyes of the Mona Lisa, it will follow them all around the room. God bless Australia."
This year, the gallery’s trustees chose a higher-than-normal 54 finalists from 884 Archibald Prize entries. Other finalists include Alan Jones’ portrait of Adam Goodes, Sophie Hewson’s depiction of herself kissing Missy Higgins and Tim Maguire’s double portrait of Cate Blanchett.
Asked to nominate his favourite entries, Mr Belgiorno-Nettis said: “There are lots but if I were to say that I’d be giving away a potential winner, wouldn’t I?”
But he said another portrait of Humphries, Well dressed for a Sydney audience, by Rodney Pople “resonated a lot” with him.
He also praised Fiona Lowry’s portrait of Penelope Seidler: “I also liked the very intense portrait of Penelope Seidler, who I know very well. That steeliness in her is there.”
The winner of the $75,000 Archibald Prize, as well as the winners of the Wynne and Sulman Prizes, will be announced next Friday.