COMPETITION FINALIST: Byron Bay artist James Guppy with his artwork titled Broad Beans.
COMPETITION FINALIST: Byron Bay artist James Guppy with his artwork titled Broad Beans. Patrick Gorbunovs

Finalists vie for $10k prize in art comp

WITH just over a week until the opening of the Wilson Visual Arts Prize finalists' exhibition next Friday, anticipation is high.

In its second year, the Wilson has attracted entries from every state and terri- tory in the country and judges are united in hailing the quality of this year's work as outstanding.

It was a painstaking affair to cull 300 entries to the 88 finalists, on show from next Friday's opening, according to committee member Sarah McGory.

The overall winner will receive $10,000.

One of those finalists is Byron-based painter James Guppy.

His slightly mysterious and haunting take on high realism is highlighted by his entry Broad Beans.

Mr Guppy has been a Byron Shire local for 30 years since he emigrated from the UK to Main Arm in 1982.

His career began with 15 years in mural art, but he made the transition to an exhibiting artist more than 20 years ago and holds regular shows in Sydney and Brisbane. Broad Beans was part of a series painted over several years using his wife's hands.

"It's about the power of the domestic," he said.

"It was important that the hands be disembodied, but equally I wanted them to be so lifelike that they were almost in the room with you; almost emerging from the canvas.

"There's this strange otherworldly quality to it."

The veteran professional painter, who also holds regu- lar classes in his studio in the Byron Arts and Industrial Estate, said the Wilson Visual Art Prize was a vital addition to the arts scene on the Northern Rivers.

Opening night is next Friday at 6pm, at the Trinity Catholic College Lismore Sports Centre (parking cnr Dawson and Leycester Sts).



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