Robert O’Connor wins 2020 Glover Prize.

Hobart-based artist takes out $50,000 landscape prize

Words: Camilla Wagstaff and Donnalyn Xu

The Glover Prize has announced its 2020 winner as Robert O’Connor, with the Hobart-based artist awarded $50,000 for his work Somewhere on the midlands.

The winning piece was selected by 2020 Glover Prize judges; QAGOMA director Chris Saines, MONA curator Jarrod Rawlins, and artist Fiona Lowry. It took the top spot out of this year’s 43 Glover Prize finalists. The artist is represented in Hobart by Bett Gallery.

O’Connor’s paintings are known to question ideas of authorship and originality in art with direct references to image reproduction. Somewhere on the midlands explores European settlement in Tasmania.

“Armed with the postmodern trends of appropriation, pastiche and ironic estrangement, the work questions ideas of originality and authorship while remaining engaged with painting traditions,” O’Connor says of the winning work. “Much as a magpie collects shinny things or a catfish eats shit, I collect images. Well, perhaps I don’t collect them as much as they are thrown at me, along with opinions, every day and mostly unsolicited. What I do is organise images in a way that I think makes sense, which in reality results in a mess of borrowed imagery that makes no immediate sense whatsoever.”

The judges also awarded two finalist pieces with Highly Commended Awards: Ileigh Hellier for her entry Without the other, and Laura Patterson for her entry 2020 Pteridomania.

Established in 2004, The Glover Prize is one of Australia’s most prestigious landscape art prizes, awarded to the best contemporary landscape painting of Tasmania completed in the last 12 months. The prize is open to artists from all over the world, and defines ‘landscape’ in the broadest sense, aiming to stimulate conversations about the different meanings and interpretations of landscapes, paintings, and Tasmania itself.

The Glover Prize award exhibition opens on Saturday 7 March 2020 and runs until Sunday 15 March at the Falls Park Pavilion in Evandale, TAS.

Image: Robert O’Connor with his winning work, Somewhere in the Midlands.

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