Vlad Kolas from Clunes in front of his work Other Side of Midnight.
Vlad Kolas from Clunes in front of his work Other Side of Midnight. Doug Eaton

Portraits pack gallery

AN eager crowd packed in to see the winner of the Northern Rivers Portrait Prize announced at Lismore Regional Gallery on Saturday.

The judge, past Archibald Prize winner, Del Kathryn Barton, chose Other Side of Midnight from more than 50 works.

It was a self-portrait painted by Clunes-based artist, Vlad Kolas.

"It was the work I responded to immediately," Ms Barton said. "It was a work that has very strong graphic quality and integrity to the surface. I think it has a compelling psychological dimension also."

Mr Kolas was overwhelmed.

"I'm really happy Del Kathryn could see something worthwhile in my work," he said.

"It's a very honest painting for me. It represents everything I am as a painter without thinking too much about trying to conform to what people like."

Mr Kolas's art career has long been a struggle.

"I've got three boys and my mum has always been there to slip me a few hundred dollars for paint and to tell me to keep on going when I've given up," he said.

"I think an artist needs to work constantly and that's what this prize is going to allow me to do."

Mr Kolas was awarded $10,000 and Lismore Regional Gallery acquired his artwork.



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