Graeme Drendel has won the 2022 Doug Moran Portrait Prize


Congratulations to Graeme Drendel, who has won the 2022 Doug Moran Portrait Prize for his painting of fellow artist Lewis Miller, in Australia’s richest portrait prize.

Drendel, a Victorian-based artist, won the $150,000 award for a realist, close-up portrait honing in on Miller’s face, showing a stunning ambiguity of emotions.

While Drendel was a Doug Moran finalist in 2021 and 2017, and an Archibald finalist in 2018, this winning work is on theme for the artist: he’s known for his figurative work, often portraying subjects amid introspection

The 2022 Prize was judged by Gerard Vaughan AM, Australian art historian and museum administrator, contemporary artist Lucy Culliton, and Peter Moran of the Moran Arts Foundation.

Lucy Culliton said the winner was a unanimous decision: “I was drawn to Graeme Drendel’s painting of Lewis Miller in the first round of judging. The portrait has everything I was looking for. A freshness of paint. A likeness of the subject. The eyes meet the viewer.  The palette of colours used are subtle . . . Interestingly when we viewed the paintings in real life, although I knew the painting was small, I was surprised at how small the portrait was. A beautifully painted painting.”

In a nice coincidence, Miller’s own portrait of Drendel was also selected to be a prize finalist this year.

The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (DMNPP) judges original artworks from Australian artists, capturing Australians from all walks of life, whether a public figure or someone from the artist’s circle of experience.

There were 30 finalists in this year’s DMNPP, including Tony Albert & Vincent Namatjira, Owen John Biljabu, Steve Lopes, Kirsty Neilson and Naomi White.

The judges said of this group, “What is presented here, for all viewers to contemplate and respond to, demonstrates the many facets of contemporary portraiture in Australia, a genre which remains as popular and talked about as ever.”

All the finalists will appear in this online exhibition through the Moran Arts Foundation.

News Words by Art Guide Australia