The prestigious Bvlgari Art Award 2013, has been won by Melbourne based artist Jon Cattapan. It consists of a $50,000 painting acquisition for the Art Gallery of NSW and a residency in Italy valued at $30,000. The total award of $80,000 is one of the most valuable art awards in Australia. The award-winner has been selected by the Art Gallery of NSW Trustees and the head curator of Australian art.
Considered one of Australia’s finest contemporary painters, Cattapan’s winning painting Imagine A Raft, is a tryptych painted over a five year period.
Jon loves to overlay specific images with abstract patterns and offer an opportunity for viewers to think about the broader issues in our society that we value and discard. Its all about how our belongings shape our own particular destiny. These questions are a part of the artist’s thinking and aesthetic.
Since the 1980’s Jon Cattapan has exhibited widely both in Australia and internationally. His work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, The National Gallery of Victoria, The Queensland Art Gallery, The Art Gallery of South Australia and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Australia, along with many others.
Ancestrally Jon Cattapan is drawn back to Castelfranco, that small historic walled town in the beautiful Veneto region of northern Italy. It is sited nearby the Villa Cornaro and Villa Barbaro at Maser, Treviso, which was the preferred setting for ‘classical’ villas of Venetian nobleman, especially those designed by Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508 – 1580). Castelfranco is where one of the Renaissance’s most mysterious and elusive painters Giorgione was also born and although he died very young, and painted very few works, the influence of Giorgione would be ongoing. Giorgione focused on the sensuous surface of things, on color and texture. In his time to an unprecedented extent mood became his primary subject with atmosphere composing of light and shadow softening and unifying the landscape and figures in it.
Interestingly Cattapan and Giorgione seem to have many of these characteristics in common, both feature that elusive poetic quality in their work, although each to their own age.
Julie Ann Morrison, managing director of Bulgari Australia and UK, said ‘We are delighted that the Art Gallery New South Wales has selected Jon Cattapan as the recipient of the Bulgari Art Award 2013′ she said…
…’Jon’s work acquired for the state collection is highly distinctive in the context of Australian painting, combining a contemporary sensibility with a mythical and vivid depiction of the “city” as cast out from the landscape. Throughout his extensive career, Jon has challenged the conceptual boundaries of Australian art, bringing new questions and allusive associations to realisation with particular force, expressed with the tradition and timeless skill of a fine painter.’
Wayne Tunnicliffe, head curator of Australian art, said: ‘The Gallery has looked to acquire a major painting by Jon Cattapan for several years now and we are thrilled that the Bulgari Art Award will enable us to have Imagine a Raft for our permanent collection. It is a tough but also lyrical painting, which finds a form of beauty in an unlikely subject matter. This winning painting veers between abstraction and representation and is a superb addition to our contemporary Australian collection.’
The award will be officially presented to Jon Cattapan this Saturday, 13 April, at a gala dinner at the Art Gallery of NSW
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle 2013