Lowry first saw architect Penelope Seidler about six years ago at a gallery opening. “I was really struck by her beauty and her presence and asked someone who she was. I decided then that I would like to paint her,” says Lowry.
“It is important to me when I am making a work that I take the subject to a place that has memory and history attached to it because I am interested in exploring the subject’s interaction with that landscape.
“We went to Penelope’s iconic house in Killara, which she designed with her late husband Harry Seidler in the 1960s. It’s an incredible space architecturally but it is also loaded with history and memories of life very well lived. We spent some time in the bush at the back of the property looking at the waterfall.”
“At one point, Penelope looked back at the house towering over us and reflected that it had been some time since she had seen it from this angle. It was that reflection that I wanted to explore with this portrait.”
Born in Sydney in 1974, Lowry makes her paintings using an airbrush and a limited palette of soft, pastel colours. She won the 2008 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. This is her third time in the Archibald Prize. Last year she was highly commended and was a finalist in both the Wynne and Sulman prizes. This year she is also a Sulman finalist.
“On behalf of ANZ, I congratulate Fiona Lowry as a worthy winner of the 2014 Archibald Prize,’ said David Gonski, Chairman, ANZ. “Fiona’s work along with all this year’s finalists show the rich diversity of Australia’s artistic talent and I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to view the works as they make their way around regional Australia.”
The 93rd year of the Archibald Prize, this year there were 884 Archibald, 669 Wynne and 534 Sulman entries. The Archibald and Wynne Prizes were judged by the Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The judge for the Sulman Prize was Jenny Watson.
The 2014 winners are:
- Archibald Prize – Fiona Lowry for her portrait of Penelope Seidler
- Wynne Prize – Michael Johnson for his work Oceania high low
- Sulman Prize – Andrew Sullivan for his work T-rex (tyrant lizard king)
- Watercolour Prize – John Webb for his work Near Mildura
- Pring Prize for watercolour – GW Bot for her work Glyphs – three trees (homage to Rembrandt)
The exhibition of winners and finalists opens to the public on Saturday 19 July and runs to Sunday 28 September 2014. The People’s Choice and Young Archie winners will be announced on Thursday 11 September. For more information, visit: www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au for details.
Image: Penelope Seidler and Fiona Lowry in front of the Archibald winning portrait