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Benalla Nude art prize judge announced

Well-known art historian and musem curator Daniel Thomas has been chosen to judge Benalla Nude 2014 Art Prize.

January 24, 2014 4:23am

A well-known art historian and art museum curator has been chosen to judge the inaugural Benalla Nude 2014 Art Prize.

Daniel Thomas has had appointments at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and the Art Gallery of South Australia.

He was also a member of the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council, and a board member of the National Portrait Gallery.

He will be judging the $50000 art prize to find the best work of the naked human figure in oil, acrylic, watercolour or mixed media.

‘‘It’s the only time there has been a prize offered in Australia for the category of the nude, so that is significant,’’ Mr Thomas said.

‘‘It will be an additional drawcard for drivers down the Hume Fwy who might be tempted to pause and support the economy.’’

‘‘The (prize) money will certainly attract some interesting artists.’’

Mr Thomas lives in Tasmania, and recently wrote for the contemporary section of the National Gallery’s exhibition Australia, shown at the Royal Academy in London in September.

The Benalla Nude 2014 Art Prize is non-acquisitional and the $50000 prizemoney has been donated by Friends of the Benalla Gallery, an organisation run by local volunteers who reflect the strong local involvement in producing and promoting high quality art. Inquiries have already been received from across Australia.

Australian artist Ivan Durrant, who proposed the idea initially, said nudes always sparked attention.

‘‘There seems to be a force that drives us with enthusiasm to wonder and gaze at the marvel and beauty of the naked human — it’s locked in our DNA,’’ Mr Durrant said.

The prize is on an equal footing with other major art prizes in Australia and the winner will be announced on April 10. The winning entry and other shortlisted works will be exhibited from April 11 until June 27 at Benalla Art Gallery.

Postal entries with CDs or DVDs will be accepted until 5pm Friday, February 21.

Finalists will be notified by Benalla Art Gallery when to deliver their works for hanging and judging.

The award will be presented to the work judged as the best work of the naked human figure in oil, acrylic, watercolour or mixed media. The work must be by an artist who is an Australian citizen or who has been an Australian resident in the 12 months preceding the closing date for entries.

Entry forms for Benalla Nude can be obtained from the Benalla Art Gallery website at www.benallaartgallery.com or council’s website at www.benalla.vic.gov.au and also at Benalla Art Gallery in Bridge St West, Benalla, or by phoning 57602619.

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