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The People's Choice: Benalla Nude

Melbourne artist Charlie Tong won the Benalla Nude people's choice award with his oil-on-canvas Nude #2.

LIBBY PRICE July 16, 2014 3:55am

Winner of People's Choice 2014 Nude#2 by Dandenong artist Charlie Tong


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The people have voted and the winner of the inaugural Benalla Nude People’s Choice is the contemporary oil on canvas painting titled simply Nude #2 by Melbourne artist Charlie Tong.

Mr Tong is an amateur artist who began painting eight years ago when he moved from China to Dandenong. He has won several smaller awards for his more traditional work and this is his first ‘contemporary’ portrait.

‘‘It took two months to paint as I didn’t like my first attempts so I just kept painting over them until I was happy. It has given the work depth and a sense of being free,’’ Mr Tong said.

‘‘I use very big brush strokes and made a large brush by joining two. I painted this just for this exhibition.’’

The portrait is of a model from his nude painting class in Dandenong.

The quietly spoken artist was delighted to meet the so-called ‘enfant terrible’ of Australian painters, outspoken Benalla artist Ivan Durrant, who greatly admired the work.

Benalla Art Gallery’s acting artistic director Shanley Cleeland said Mr Tong was an important emerging artist who was very much one to watch on the Australian art scene.

‘‘This work Nude #2 is a highly accomplished painting of a female figure depicted from behind,’’ Ms Cleeland said.

‘‘The artist has used broad brushstrokes, fluid movement and layers of colour to create texture, depth and perspective.

‘‘The use of colour blending with a broad brush alludes to a real sense of form and proportion, both on the figure and in the background of the work.

‘‘There is a sense of mystery about the woman — her face is hidden from view. The audience is left to wonder what expression might she be holding on her face? What mood is she in?

‘‘This work is a wonderful example of an artist’s understanding of the nude female form.’’

Other popular works included Peter Smeeth’s Wash After Work (second place), Andrew Bonneau’s Dancer (third), and Lily Mae Martin’s Thirty Three Weeks and Matt R Martin’s Wilted Rose (equal fourth place).

The gallery counted thousands of votes to decide the People’s Choice from the 32 works in the exhibition which ended last Sunday.

Benalla Rural City Council will reserve about $20000 from the exhibition for prize money for the next Benalla Nude competition.

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