The ‘2020 Bowness Photography Prize’

The ‘2020 Bowness Photography Prize’ exhibition welcomes us back to the Monash Gallery of Art (MGA) in Melbourne after recent lockdowns halted the opening of the show. In the midst of the wild ride that is 2020, MGA who are also recognised as ‘Australia’s home of photography’, is celebrating not one but two major milestones. For three decades MGA has inspired local, national and international audiences to explore the wonders of photography through its rich and growing collection of photographic works, exhibitions and awards, showcasing the extraordinary vision and unique storytelling ways of photographers from Australia and abroad.

And since 2005, with support from the MGA Foundation, MGA have been profiling the work of talented emerging and established photo media artists in the annual ‘William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize’, now in its 15th round. Until 7 February the ‘Bowness Photography Prize’ exhibition of 60 shortlisted artists and their artworks are on view in MGA’s galleries and online where you can view images of the works in large- format and read the artists statements. An online portal has been set up to cast your vote in the Smith & Singer People’s Choice Award.

Honey Long and Prue Stent, Mineral growth, 2019, from the series Touching pool, pigment ink-jet print, 72 x 108cm. Courtesy the artists, ARC ONE Gallery Melbourne and Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne

The 2020 finalist artists include
Klari Agar, Belinda Allen, Sam Amar, Riste Andrievski, Emma Armstrong‐Porter, Zoe Arnott, Robert Ashton, Narelle Autio, Reza Bagheri, Kate Baker, Charlie Barker, Chris Barry, Chris Bekos, Madeline Bishop, Tom Blachford, Paul Blackmore, Chris Bond and Drew Pettifer, Jesse Boyd‐Reid, Jane Brown, Karen Burgess, Jane Burton, Danica Chappell, Ali Choudhry, Peta Clancy, Michael Cook, Nici Cumpston, Matteo Dal Vera and Michael Weatherill, Tamara Dean, Karla Dickens, Stephen Dupont, Louise Faulkner, Jacqueline Felstead, Anne Ferran, Ash Garwood, Amos Gebhardt, Tom Goldner, John Gollings, Philip Gostelow, Helen Grace, Lee Grant, Janina Green, Helen Grogan, Ponch Hawkes, Leila Jeffreys, Shea Kirk, Shivanjani Lal, Kelvin Lau, Honey Long and Prue Stent, Fiona MacDonald, Alister McKeich, Izabela Pluta, Greg Semu, Damien Shen, Slippage, Valerie Sparks, Cyrus Tang, Christian Thompson, Louise Whelan, Amanda Williams and Anne Zahalka.

Amos Gerbhart, Family portrait, 2020, from the series Small acts of resistance, pigment ink-jet prints, 99 x 270cm. Courtesy the artist, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne and Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne

Works featured on A Rich Life: Honey Long and Prue Stent express a desire to ‘blur seemingly disparate fields (body, object, landscape) into shifting states of matter in relationship to each other; enhancing feelings of both connection and tension’ with Mineral growth (2019), a work shot at the site of an abandoned salt stockpile at the edge of Lake Hart on Kokatha country in South Australia.

From Amos Gebhardt we see Family portrait (2020), a triptych featuring ‘subjects who defy normative notions of kinship and identity as a mode of survival within Australia,’ challenging conventional views of what family looks like, staged in hyper-real settings surrounded by objects and botanicals, which reflect on personal and cultural ties.

Capturing the devastation of the recent bush fires on the NSW South Coast, Stephen Dupont presents a ghostly image of the remains of an old caravan desecrated by the raging fires, which tore through a remote property owned by his friend, who told him ‘the fire came through like a tornado, so hot it melted his brass taps.’

Stephen Dupont, The caravan, 2020, from the series Are we dead yet?, pigment ink-jet print, 80 x 100cm. Courtesy the artist and Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne

The judges; artist Fiona Hall, National Gallery of Australia’s (NGA) Senior Curator of Photography Shaune Lakin and Director of Monash Gallery of Art, Anouska Phizacklea will be announcing the winners of the 2020 ‘William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize’ in January 2021. Visit the MGA website for more information and to see what’s coming up.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of the prize this year is that it has the incredible ability to bring the photographic community together and rally around the significant role photography and our artists play in society – something important for us to celebrate at such a challenging time for the creative sector,” shares MGA Director, Anouska Phizacklea.