Newcastle artist Peter Gardiner wins Newcastle Art Gallery's $50,000 Kilgour Prize 2016

26 Aug 2016

Newcastle's own Peter Gardiner is the recipient of the 2016 Kilgour Prize, Newcastle Art Gallery’s prestigious annual award for figurative and portrait painting. The highly competitive award, and one of Australia's most lucrative, includes a $50,000 cash prize for the winning artist funded by the bequest of artist Jack Noel Kilgour.
Gardiner received the 2016 prize for his painting Origin - Landscape 2016. Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes made the announcement during the launch of the 2016 Kilgour Prize exhibition, which will be open to the public from 27 August to 13 November 2016.

Image above: Lauretta Morton, Manager Newcastle Art Gallery, Lord Mayor Cr Nuatali Nelmes and Kilgour Prize 2016 winner Peter Gardiner with his winning work, Origin - Landscape 2016.

"We are proud to have a national art prize of this stature housed at Newcastle Art Gallery, and I extend my congratulations to this year's winner and fellow Novocastrian Peter Gardiner," said the Lord Mayor.

Kilgour Prize entries were assessed and the winning portrait selected by two independent judges - Deborah Edwards, Curatorial Consultant, Art Gallery of New South Wales and Peter Sharp, Artist and Lecturer Drawing, University of New South Wales Art and Design, as well as Lauretta Morton, Manager of Newcastle Art Gallery.
This year the judges chose 35 finalists from an entry pool of 200 works of art, and then the final winner from the 35 shortlisted works.
"It was a difficult selection process for the judges, as it is every year," said Lauretta Morton. "There was great enthusiasm and debate in reviewing and discussing all the works shortlisted, which range from the highly idiosyncratic to the masterfully academic. This diverse selection demonstrates what contemporary figurative and portraiture painting can be."
"In our discussions, we found Peter Gardiner's winning work to be triumphant, a painter's painting, with a shifting, complex imagery that references Western art history and the nuances of European painting tradition, particularly the work of Gustave Courbet, and also Australian colonial painting," Morton continued. "It is a painting as much about light as it is about certain kinds of terrain, and the metaphorical landscape. Peter puts a very sophisticated technical handling to the service of a painterly result which is unsettling and unexpected."
Gardiner's work has been highly recognised in Australia. He received the Caleen Art Prize in 2011, the Muswellbrook Art Prize in 2009 and the Maitland Art Prize in 2003, and he has been a finalist in previous years for the Kilgour Prize, the Wynne Prize, the Dobell Prize and the Mosman Prize.
"Like a lot of my paintings, this one grew organically from an idea I had about a figure in the Australian bush, which I see as a fairly dark and hostile environment, and how it contrasts with the innocence and openness of the figure," said Gardiner of his winning painting.
"This is such a special prize for me because Newcastle Art Gallery was one of the first public institutions that collected my work and showed an interest in me. The Kilgour Prize is only going to get better and better over the years and it's great to be a part of the Gallery's history."
"As an artist, you are always charging away on your paintings preparing for an exhibition once a year or once every two years. You just push your work out there and see how people react to it. Winning an art prize is incredible for an artist; it's an endorsement of what you do."
People's Choice Award
In addition to the prize awarded by the judging panel, the Kilgour Prize competition also includes a People’s Choice Award of $5,000 chosen by visitors to the Gallery and readers of the Newcastle Herald.  
Visit the Gallery or view the finalists' entries online to choose your favourite entry! People's Choice Award voting will be open at the Gallery and online at until Wednesday 19 October 2016 and the winner will be announced Saturday 22 October 2016.
The 2016 Kilgour Prize exhibition is on at Newcastle Art Gallery from 27 August to 13 November 2016. Entry is free and photography is permitted.
"We invite the community to visit the Gallery to see the exhibition and actively participate by voting for their favourite work in addition to engaging with the dynamic range of public programs for all ages," said Liz Burcham, Cultural Director for City Of Newcastle.
Kilgour Prize 2016 Exhibition
Related public programs

School Holiday workshops:
Mesmerising Paper Play 
Monday 26 - Friday 30 September 2016

Session times: 10.30am – 11.30pm, 12.00pm – 1.00pm, 2.00pm – 3.00pm
Cost: $10 per child, includes all materials. Bookings and payment required call 4974 5100
In this one hour workshop children will get to experiment with paper folding techniques, then glue, cut and collage their own unique works of art. It is sure to amaze and amuse!

Street Art Portraits
Monday 3 – Friday 7 October 2016

Session times: 10.30am – 11.30pm 12.00pm – 1.00pm2.00pm – 3.00pm
Cost: $10 per child, includes all materials. Bookings and payment required call 4974 5100
Discover the wonderful world of portraiture! In this one hour workshop children will learn how to sketch and stencil their own unique street art portraits onto canvas.
Note: On Wednesday 5 October, bookings are only available for the 2pm class

Art Fix Friday
Friday 30 September 2016, 5pm - 9pm

Free event. No bookings required. Refreshments available for purchase.
We are firing up Friday nights and staying open after hours on the last Friday of every month. Swing by to unwind, enjoy a drink at our pop-up cash bar and take in the latest Kilgour Prize 2016 exhibition.

Art Cart Free Children's Art Activity
Available every Saturday and Sunday, 10.30am - 12:30pm
Free event. No need to book, just drop in! Join us every Saturday and Sunday morning for art and craft activities in the gallery, taking inspiration from works of art on display in our current exhibitions. 
Drop-In Free Guided Tour
Available every Saturday and Sunday, 11am - 12noon
No bookings required - drop in, meet at the Gallery Shop and join a Gallery guide for a free tour of current exhibitions.

For details regarding all exhibitions and events programming visit