The 2008 Metro 5 Art Prize winner, Fergus Binns with his painting.
The 2008 Metro 5 Art Prize winner, Fergus Binns with his painting. Justin McManus

Garage art a winner

A PAINTING that is taking the Australian art world by storm was painted in a garage in Lismore.

Former Kadina High student Fergus Binns was awarded the $40,000 Metro 5 Judges Award for young artists in Melbourne on Tuesday for his work Mount Kosciusko With Receding Snow Dome.

The oil painting depicts a futuristic vision of Australia's highest mountain under a shrinking protective snow dome.

But the 28-year-old artist was lucky to receive the award as he was late for the ceremony. Mr Binns thought the award was being announced later in the day, but after a few hurried phone calls and a quick cab ride, he arrived just in the nick of time.

"The receding snow dome encasing the mountain suggests a future where the highest peak in Australia has become a controlled product environment which here consists of snow machines, people and snow dome animals," Mr Binns said.

The work takes inspiration from Austrian painter Eugene von Guerard's 1863 painting North-East View From the Northern Top of Mount Kosciusko and warns against excessive consumerism through its snow dome image.

Mr Binns returned to his parent's family home in Lismore to paint the work in the garage.

"I thought if I won it is a big sum of money and I'd be able to put money towards materials and support the practice," Mr Binns said.

"It is wonderful to get this recognition of my work."

Mr Binns' mother Jeni said she was so proud of her son.

"It is all very exciting as we had no idea he had entered the competition," Mrs Binns said.

"I got a phone call from Fergus yesterday afternoon telling me he had won $40,000. He needs to put more into his materials into making his art work, so I think that's where some of the money will be going."


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