16 Oct 2020

Clayton Utz Art Award: Winner 2020

We extend our thanks to this year's Award judge – Dr Laini Burton, and to Brett Lethbridge and Lethbridge Gallery for their outstanding support in co-ordinating and managing the Clayton Utz Art Award.


Now in its 13th year, the Clayton Utz Art Award is an initiative to encourage, reward and promote artists who have a Queensland base or connection. The Award continues to attract a rich diversity of talent across a wide variety of art forms - and 2020 is no exception. 

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Hello again, we hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of the pieces that make up this year's art award.  I would like to once again thank our judge, Laini Burton and the Lethbridge Gallery for their expert management and coordination of this initiative.  We're very pleased that this year's judge is Professor Laini Burton, the Head of the PhD Program at QCA.  She joins a list of fantastic judges that we've had over the years who have all been significant members of the art community here in Queensland.

Before I announce the winner, Laini will share a little bit about her top five pieces and how she came to a decision on the overall winner.

The arts community in Queensland is growing and I always think of it, it sounds a little cheesy, but I think of it as a family because there are symbiotic relationships that are necessary in this space.  So we have QAGOMA of course and we've got Griffith University Art Museum, we have the ARIs we have commercial galleries, we have the artists themselves, we have academics in the field, writers and without one another the community does suffer.  So it is an ecology that has to thrive.  So these types of events, such as the Clayton Utz Prize, judging roles, people turning up to exhibitions, buying art, all of those are really important activities that we can all do to support one another and make sure the Queensland art community thrives.

It's always difficult to judge a prize, particularly one of this calibre.  There were some significant artists in this year's prize and some veteran artists actually.  We went through and had a pre-selection viewing which was incredibly fun and a privilege actually to get that time to spend with the works themselves and to see in detail the work that each artists has put into their pieces.  The top five: Henri van Noordenburg - exquisite detail and treatment of the medium itself.  I think Henry's quite interested in advancing the medium of photography so I think this work demonstrates that quite well; Lindy Sales work - a beautiful homage to the tradition of Australian landscape painting; Carolyn McKenzie-Craig's very intelligent resurrection of one material and its metamorphosis into another to produce her drawing and Gerwyn Davies - an exciting dip titch that talks about the tensions of Queensland versus other States and queer culture and it's exciting and colourful and a joyous work and of course Mitchell English whose surfy laissez faire approach is actually quite complex but also a joy to look at.

This recording is also going out to all of the finalists who are finding out the winner at exactly the same time as you, our valued clients.  So without further ado I am now delighted to announce the winner of the 2020 Clayton Utz Art Award, Henri Van Noordenburg with his piece, Hiding Place No. 2.

To win an award is very special.  It's the recognition that's important, it's the journey that's important but is also to be recognized among your peers into something that is something that's ongoing as well.  It gives you the drive to continue, to continue to make work and hopefully in the future I suppose be recognised by the bigger institutions too.  I hope when people view my arts that they start to think about their own stories, their own memories their family history.  Everyone is unique and everyone has an amazing story that makes them who they are now and so I hope that people reflect back on what their life is and what stories can they remember but also that aspect of when you sit around the table and you reminisce of the past or your mum may tell you a story and you remember, you may remember the story differently and it's like well where is that, there is the realness of that story, where have you fabricated it in your own mind.

Congratulations Henry and to all the finalists.