The Macquarie Group Collection has been supporting emerging Australian artists for over 30 years by acquiring and displaying their works in Macquarie offices around the world. Part of the Macquarie Group Foundation, the Collection features art in all media, around the theme The Land and its Psyche, reflecting the diversity of the Australian landscape as seen through the eyes of its artists.
Now comprising more than 850 works selected by a volunteer committee of Macquarie Group staff and a curatorial expert, the Collection is on display in around 40 Macquarie offices worldwide.
To celebrate 30 years of Macquarie’s art collection, Macquarie Group Collection Director Helen Burton and Deputy Director and Director of Collections of AGNSW Maud Page, discuss the evolution of Australian art and the modern day gallery experience.
Visual artist Emily Imeson was awarded the 2019 Macquarie Group Emerging Artist Prize for her painting Alive in the dead of night, 2019 (pictured).
Guest judge Nike Savvas shares, “From an outstanding field of nominees, Emily’s work was selected as the recipient of the Macquarie Group Emerging Artist Prize as it represents a distinct style and skilfully encapsulates the theme of the Macquarie Group Collection, The Land and its Psyche.”
Three other awards are also given as part of the Macquarie Group Emerging Artist Prize.
Nyinta Donald was awarded the Highly Commended Award for her animation Iti Jesunya Bethlehemala Ngaringu (Baby Jesus was Born in Bethlehem), 2018.
Luke Aleksandrow received the Nick Waterlow OAM Highly Commended Award for his work To Adelaide, 2018.
Each year, visitors of the public exhibition are invited to vote for the People’s Choice Award. The 2019 award was given to Julia Sirianni for her work The Cliffs, 2019.
The exceptional quality of the finalists’ works reflects the significant depth of talent to be found among Australia’s next generation of promising visual artists. Congratulations to the 2019 finalists:
The Macquarie Group Collection has been supporting emerging Australian artists for more than thirty years. The Collection’s acquisitive Emerging Artist Prize and exhibition is held in Sydney each year, offering support to a new generation of Australian visual artists. Artists are invited to enter an original work/s that reflect the Macquarie Group Collection theme, The Land and Its Psyche.
The winner receives $A15,000 with their work joining the Macquarie Group Collection. Two Highly Commended recipients each receive $A2,000 and People’s Choice Winner receives $A1,000. International Art Services generously provide sponsored art transport.
I act as the tongue of you, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 152 x 220cm © the artist
This painting is based on the Shoalhaven River at the Boyd family property, Bundanon, and is an exploration of Arthur Boyd’s relationship to that bushland made famous through his work.
The artist explains that it “operates on a number of levels: factually it is a recording of a part of the Shoalhaven at Bundanon which was often painted by Arthur Boyd and explores the aura that sits around this space. It is then reinvested with my own projections that draw on a colonial mythology of the landscape as strange and malevolent.”
Fiona Lowry was born in Sydney in 1974 where she continues to live and work having gained a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) from Sydney College of the Arts. In 2008 she won the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, Australia’s richest art prize, and in 2014 the Archibald Prize.
“Commander Skyring” Gang Gang Cockatoo, 2012, C type photograph on archival fibre, 112 x 90cm © the artist
In 2012 Sydney–based photographer Leila Jeffreys presented a series of 25 ‘portrait’ photographs of Australian birds, which included ‘Neville’ Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo and ‘Commander Skyring’ Gang Gang Cockatoo. Unusually, the birds are presented not as decorative features of the natural world in a landscape setting, but as character-filled individuals.
The result of research across Australia and in other parts of the world, including working with scientists on studies of endangered birds on Christmas Island, these are empathic portraits of creatures whose survival, like that of so many others, is currently under threat.
Winkipop, 2011, acrylic oil enamel on linen, 120 x 200cm © the artist
This painting physically draws the viewer in and captures the quintessentially Australian experience of driving along winding country roads towards the coast but not quite being able to see the ocean. Suddenly you come over a hill and there it is, you can see and even smell it.
The painting cleverly replicates that feeling of elation and excitement, using the foreground image of the white lines on the road to pull the viewer into the picture space. The place it depicts is Winkipop, a popular Victorian surf beach, but it could one of many similar vistas in Australia.
Mackinnon is a young Melbourne painter who studied and lived in London, where he worked as a studio assistant to well-known expatriate Australian artist Tim Maguire (whose early work is also represented in the Macquarie Group Collection).
Own Backyard, 2015, oil on linen, 137 x 122cm © the artist
Michael Muir’s work explores the simplification and interpretation of outdoor, mostly urban environments. With an emphasis on colour and natural light, the painted works explore a fusion between representation and abstraction, often taking an emotive approach that’s steeped in nostalgia and childhood memories – either borrowed or his own.
According to the artist, “The use of palette knives to apply the paint is done with a deliberate subtlety, from afar the work looks flat and painted with brush, on closer inspection texture is revealed. This discord is deliberate in terms of the construction of the painting using hard edges of interlocking colours to flatten the picture plane. Using tonal variations of colours and in some cases reduced chroma, I try to create depth. The flattened shapes create an ambiguous image where a narrative is unfolding.”
A Sydney-based artist, Muir won the Mosman Art Prize in 2014 and his paintings have been included in numerous major art awards such as the Wynne, Sulman and NSW Parliament Plein Air prizes.
Sanctuary, 2014, oil on linen, 115 x 150cm © the artist
In 2013 Kate McKay was awarded a first class honours in her Bachelor of Fine Art from Queensland College of Art in Brisbane. In 2014 her work was curated into a couple of group exhibitions in Queensland, and in 2015 she won the Macquarie Group Emerging Artist Award with this painting, Sanctuary.
The painting depicts a photorealistic but ambiguous landscape, rendered in monotone colours. The artist’s interest is not so much in specific landscapes, but in the way that the character of a landscape imbues itself in our psyche and can be a catalyst for a memory, emotion and sensorial response to place.
In her own words: “It’s really interesting to see while I have painted these places, people could put them anywhere in the world. I just want to create a world where everyone relates differently.”
The Macquarie Group Foundation in partnership with the Australia Council for the Arts awarded the inaugural Macquarie Group First Nations Emerging Curator Award to Freja Carmichael in September 2017.