Perpetual, as Trustee, of the Evelyn Chapman Trust together with the S.H. Ervin Gallery today announced artist Caroline Zilinsky as winner of the 2020 Evelyn Chapman Art Award. Zilinsky’s winning work, ‘Heiress to the Pied Piper’, is a portrait of philanthropist Joanne Cowan who has devoted her life to the field of addressing substance abuse. Her work with numerous charities, support groups and organisations has saved countless individuals and their families as they battled the horrors of addiction. It is an issue quite close to her heart; she wrestled with addiction herself, having followed the piper’s intoxicating tune to the depths of despair. Cowan was forced to pay the piper eventually, and it almost cost her soul. Here, she sits in her west elm chair with her dogs by her side. The painting was also one of 40 finalist works in the inaugural Darling Portrait Prize.
The Evelyn Chapman Art Award was established in the memory of Evelyn Chapman (1888 – 1961), an Australian painter and first female artist to depict the devastated battle fields, churches and towns of the western front after the First World War. A respected artist, Chapman exhibited at the Salon in France but was forced to retire as a painter following her marriage. However she continued to espouse art education and practice. Evelyn Chapman’s archive including artworks, photographs and correspondence between her and her daughter is held at the Art Gallery of NSW National Art Archive.
Award winner Caroline Zilinsky says, “It is the most profound honour to be the recipient of the Evelyn Chapman Art Award. With the spirit of Evelyn Chapman at the helm I hope to re-imagine Australia’s identity in the 21st century.”
As the winner of the award, Zilinsky plans to develop a series of work, following research at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and follow in the footsteps of artist Russell Drysdale’s 1944 exploration of the outback. Drysdale was commissioned by the Sydney Morning Herald to record the effect of the drought conditions in western New South Wales. The publication of his work led to widespread recognition of his skill as a draughtsman while the experience inspired a seminal series of paintings.
The judges, Ann Cape, Greg Hansell and Yvonne Langshaw commented, “Caroline Zilinsky is a worthy winner of the Evelyn Chapman Art Award as her unique and well executed work demonstrates a commitment to the practice of oil painting. The award celebrates the future of Australian painting as it offers contemporary painters working in oil and tempera a wonderful opportunity and unrivalled freedom to develop their artistic practice and education. The award is important because it encourages the development of painting techniques while helping to create a platform for contemporary artists to forge new paths and further the development of the medium in the future. The quality of the 2020 finalist works is testament to the importance of painting with young artists today.”
Caroline Zilinsky was selected from a finalist group of eight artists each of whom were able to submit up to three paintings and a proposal. The 2020 Evelyn Chapman Art Award finalists were Nicole Kelly (NSW), Naomi Lawler (NSW), Liam Nunan (NSW),
Erika Sorby (NSW), Michelle Teear (NSW), Clare Thackway (NSW), Lucy Turnbull (SA), Caroline Zilinsky (NSW).
Featured image : National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery