Canberra artist Emma Beer a finalist in the prestigious Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize | The Canberra Times

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Canberra artist Emma Beer describes her choice as a finalist in the prestigious Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize at the Bendigo Art Gallery as a kind of homecoming. The 33-year-old was born in Echuca, Victoria, just an hour’s drive north-east of Bendigo, and it was within the walls of the now 134-year-old Bendigo Art Gallery that she was inspired to pursue the visual arts as a career. “When I was a kid, the Bendigo Art Gallery was the closest art gallery where I lived, so during the school holidays I would always make an effort to visit the collection,” she said. “And when I was in high school, I went there and made my work experience for a few weeks. It’s a little cool to be listed as a finalist, because the collection and the award was one of my first interactions with art and museums and the way on which these collections are built. It was something I looked up to, and it’s nice to get to this point. “These things are like gold or dreams, and I did not think I would arrive here so soon.” And Of course, the Bendigo Art Gallery had a sophisticated work experience program. Young Emma did not pick up coffee during her time; she helped hang out an exhibition by photographer Tracey Moffatt. “It was really amazing, and I had a lot of practical experience. It was my first introduction to how an art gallery worked. When I left high school, I came to ANU to study, and when I left art school, I worked at CMAG and NGA as an installer. So that was definitely the basis for what was to come. The Bendigo Art Gallery’s annual Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize is held every two years and attracts some of Australia’s most talented artists. This year, Emma is one of 34 finalists in the $ 50,000 Acquired Art Prize, the shortlist comes from more than 350 entries. November 19. Her work, Peachtime, 2021, is a beautiful piece of acrylic on canvas, part of her efforts to create a larger exhibition of her work at the Drill Hall Gallery next year. She is exploring new ways of painting. “I more or less trying to paint paintings the other way around, “she said.” Traditionally you paint from dark to light, and I reverse these processes so I use the background of the painting to generate the light. I just undermine traditional techniques and turn them upside down. And I also just experiment with color and different color ratios and their impact on the composition. Emma has been a technical officer in the painting workshop at the ANU School of Art since 2008. She and partner Kirsten Farrell have two children aged 13 and 16. Lockdown has been both a challenge and a chance to focus more on painting. “It’s pretty challenging, especially to support students learning to paint online. It’s one of the more difficult parts,” she said. “I personally really enjoy the lockdown because it gives me a little more flexibility in terms of my painting lessons. Because I work full time, it can be challenging to have an active painting practice along with full time work. “So it has given me a little more time to reflect on painting, which has been good.” Winning Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize for Emma would be “the biggest thing.” “It’s one of the biggest painting awards in the country, so it would be great,” she said. “I want to be included as a finalist, which I already have won. Many of the artists on the list for the award have a much higher profile and are more senior, so I feel I have won to be included on that list. “Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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