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Mid West Art Prize 2015:

Open to artists throughout Western Australia working in any medium, the fourth annual Mid-West Art Prize Exhibition opened at the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery on Saturday 28th February 2015.

Launched in 2011, the Mid West Art Prize has rapidly become the flagship exhibition in the schedule of events staged at the Gallery. This is despite the fact that an Art Prize was not held in 2014 due to a need to conduct significant repairs to the Gallery building fabric and equipment.

After thirty years of servicing the artistic needs of the Mid-West community, the gallery was in need of a serious upgrade and due to the generosity and foresight of the City of Greater Geraldton, this upgrade took place over the first half of 2014. Works completed include the replacement of the aged climate control system, removal of asbestos, re-configuration of exhibition spaces, creation of store facilities, installation of a new display system and a thorough clean up and repair of the interior and exterior. Repairs and upgrades completed will ensure that this wonderful facility will continue to meet the cultural needs and expectations of the Mid West and West Australian community for the next thirty years and beyond.

Exhibition funding from the City of Greater Geraldton and the Art Gallery of WA, along with our other greatly appreciated sponsors will allow the Geraldton Regional Art Gallery to re-launch the Mid West Art prize in 2015 with a total prize pool of $45 000 in non-acquisitive awards.

Judges Comments:

The judges were impressed with the overall quality of submissions to this year’s Prize and the task of selecting a winner and runner up was not easy.

That said, after deliberating we were unanimous in selecting Paul Kaptein’s remarkable portrait of a FIFO miner ‘Everything is Nothing’ as the winner of this year’s Mid-West Art Prize. Technically impressive the bust of this stoic miner is presented with conceptual rigour as an embodiment of his profession. The open cut mine is excavated from his flesh, which is drilled and marked with the sites where he may have worked.  He is a man shaped and constructed from his own labours; his eyes are closed as he contemplates his existence.

There were many other impressive works that vied for our attention but we finally agreed that the large abstract work ‘On my Radar’ by Penny Coss was an ambitious work that succeeded in establishing a dynamic visual presence.  The strong colour and controlled use of stained paint generates a powerful image that echoes her concerns for the health of waterways on our planet.

In a competition with many strong works the judges awarded special commendations to Mark Tweedie and Mel Dare.

$20,000 City of Greater Geraldton Overall Award for Excellence

Paul Kaptein – ‘Everything is Nothing’

$5,000 Minerals & Metals Group Overall Highly Commended Award

Penny Coss – ‘On My Radar’

Mid-West Artist Prize Judges Comments:

There is a deep vein of creative practice that runs through this region, not only in the visual arts but in music and literature as well.  Certainly the strong works submitted by locally based artists this year reinforce that wellspring of creativity.

Following our consideration of all the submitted works in this category the judges unanimously awarded the Mid-West Artist Prize to Karl Monaghan for his sophisticated and technically proficient print ‘Heads Up’.  The subtle use of colour and imagery create a delightful interplay of ideas that evoke a film noir scenario played out within an abandoned abattoir. The highly commended prize for a Mid-West Artist was awarded to Vicki Hardy’s ‘Consequences’ an intricate chain of interlocking ceramic elements that together form a fragile web or net.

Judges’ special commendations in this section go to Kelli Dawson and Helen Clarke

$5,000 Mid West Award

Karl Monaghan – ‘Heads Up’

$5,000 Mid West Highly Commended Award

Vicki Hardy – ‘Consequences’

Aboriginal Mid-West Prize

Frank Walsh Snr’s wonderful ‘Wandarrie Country Rock Art’ was the unanimous choice of the judges in this category. His bold and vibrant painting, bursting with energy and painted with vigor and confidence, has all the qualities of a winning work.  Although this section was not well subscribed his work is a worthy winner.

$5,000 Rio Tinto Mid West Aboriginal Award

Frank Walsh Snr – ‘Wandarrie Country Rock Art’

Youth Award

 There is every reason to be confident that the future of the visual arts in this state is secure based on the work of the artists who submitted work in this category.

 The very accomplished painting by Kieran Ingram titled ‘Old Lies’ is not only a brilliant display of painting but the density of the ideas resonate long after contact with the work.  In a year when we will see many works on an ANZAC theme this chillingly beautiful painting of a gas mask will remain in the forefront of our minds as a deterrent to war.

 Our special commendation in this section goes to William Upchurch for his cleverly constructed portrait of a young man burning with an interior fire of loss and frustration.  A straightforward double exposure its poetic resonance makes it a compelling work.

$5,000 96.5WAFM Youth Award

Kieran Ingram – ‘The Old Lie’

The judges would like to commend all the entrants and in particular the more than sixty artists whose works were hung in the exhibition and the many others who submitted works.  Making art and offering it for review is a fraught experience and we would like to thank them for sharing their skill, their experience and their insight. Congratulations to James Davies and his professional team who worked so hard on the artists’ behalf and sincere thanks to all the sponsors for their contribution to the success of this project.

$1,500 Peoples Choice Award

Joshua Cocking - 'I believe the Southern Poets Dream will not be Realised'.

Sponsored by Ian Blayney MLA.

Purchased for the City Collection

Kelly Dawson – ‘Book of Anonymous Memories’

Olga Cironis – ‘Take All That Belongs To You’

Susanna Castleden in collaboration with Bruce Slatter, Bevan Honey & Nicole Slatter – ‘Outcrop

Kieran Ingram – ‘The Old Lie’ and  ’Drift’

Elisa Markes-Young – ‘The Original Place #13′ and ‘The Original Place – Jarzebina’

 Geoff Overheu – ‘Minus/0′

Penny Coss – ‘On My Radar’


Ted Snell

Winthrop Professor Ted Snell AM CitWA
Cultural Precinct
University of Western Australia

Ted Snell AM, Cit WA was born in 1949, at Geraldton, Western Australia. He is currently Winthrop Professor and Director of the Cultural Precinct at the University of Western Australia. Over the past two decades he has contributed to the national arts agenda through his role as Chair of the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council, Chair of the Australian Council of University Art and Design Schools, Chair of Artbank and Chair of the Asialink Visual Arts Advisory Committee. He has published several books and has curated numerous exhibitions, many of which document the visual culture of Western Australia.  


 Paola Anselmi

Independent Curator and Arts Writer

Paola is a Perth-based freelance curator, arts writer and public art coordinator.  

She contributes regularly to Australian arts publications widely on Western Australian artists and contemporary art practice,  exhibitions catalogues and artist publications. 

Paola has held curatorial and research roles at the City of Perth, Art Gallery of WA, Royal Perth Hospital Art Collection, City of Fremantle Art Collection, Centre for Contemporary Art Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy and has also undertaken numerous public and private collection development projects.

 Allison Archer

Gallery Manager

Turner Galleries, Perth WA.

Allison Archer has worked in the visual arts in Western Australia since the early 1990s.  She holds a Masters in Fine Art from the University of Western Australia and is currently the curator and gallery manager of Turner Galleries in Perth.  Allison has also been a peer assessor for the Department of Culture and the Arts for the past ten years.  She has previously worked with several public collections, including Edith Cowan University, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Royal Perth Hospital, along with working as an Education Officer and Curatorial Research Assistant at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

Selection Panel

Paola Anselmi – Independent Curator and Arts Writer,

Allison Archer – Gallery Manager, Turner Galleries, Perth WA.

James Davies – Director Geraldton Regional Art Gallery.

The Geraldton Regional Art Gallery acknowledges the Generous support from the following sponsors;