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By Andrew Frost
One of the great wisdoms of the Australian art world is that any young artist worth their salt has to spend a few years overseas. They go away to get inspired, learn from the masters and bring that experience back home. Just look at young Brett Whiteley – he won a scholarship that took him to London in 1960 where he could bathe in the glow of Francis Bacon and sup from the cup of Swinging London. You know the rest of the story no doubt, how Brett came home and lived the good life – too good some might say – and then he died. And so we have the annual Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship [a bequest from Mrs. Beryl Whiteley, the artist’s late mother], a purse worth $25k and a three-month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris.
Young artists enter this prize and a selection of the finalists work is shown at the Whiteley Studio in Surry Hills. There you can see the work of 2012 winner Mitch Cairns and finalists Sam Condon, Kate Barker and the highly commended entry of Tom Polo, among others. The wisdom of this prize is fairly sound, although one might argue that staying t home and surfing the next often adds up to the same thing. Perhaps Cairns will return emboldened by what he has seen in Paris and, while sketching in his notebook on the sandy shores of Sydney harbour, sipping Mateus as his children play in the sunshine, think back to those heady months and work up a whole show inspired by what he had seen. It’s what Brett did. In the meantime we can enjoy the art for it’s own sake.
Until November 25
Brett Whiteley Studio, Surry Hills.
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