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Congratulations to Linda Marrinon who has been awarded the second annual $50,000 Don Macfarlane Prize. The Melbourne-based artist, who first came to prominence with her paintings in the 1980s, is now best known for figurative terracotta sculptures.

Unlike many prizes, there is no application process for the Don Macfarlane Prize. An advisory committee of industry professionals selects both the shortlist and the winner. This year the committee included: Melissa Macfarlane; Helen Macfarlane; Eddie Butler Bowdon, program manager, art and heritage collection, City of Melbourne; Max Delany, artistic director and CEO of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art; Rebecca Coates, director, Shepparton Art Gallery; Jessica Bridgfoot, a curator at Bendigo Art Gallery; art historian and writer Chris McAuliffe; and Mona’s senior curator Nicole Durling.

“We are thrilled to make this award to Linda Marrinon,” said the advisory committee in a joint statement. “For more than three decades, Linda has worked with diligence and determination in pursuit of her vision. She’s not afraid to change direction, relearn her craft, and put years into developing her practice. The force of her work is testament to her steadfast and honest commitment to making art. This award recognises her incredible contribution to Australian art.”

Linda Marrinon said when accepting the prize, “This is an amazing opportunity, and I plan to use it to explore some of the technical issues I have in enlarging my sculptures – which I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. That’s a real thrill for me, which will show in the work in years to come. It will let me do things I wasn’t able to do before.”

Marrinon’s work is held in numerous public collections including Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia, Monash University Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Gallery of Australia.

In 2016 she was honoured with a major survey exhibition at Monash University Museum of Art. She received the Anne and Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship in 2001.

The first Don Macfarlane Prize was awarded in 2017 to Pat Brassington.

The prize, which is an initiative of the Macfarlane Fund, is awarded to an senior Australian artist “in recognition of their unwavering, agenda-setting arts practice and contribution to Australian art.” The Macfarlane Fund was established to honour the life of businessman and art patron Donald Macfarlane.

“This is the prize that most represents his ethos,” said Don’s daughter Melissa Macfarlane. “It’s for artists who have taken risks, made breakthroughs and inspired other artists, and also maintained a commitment to mentoring others. He would be especially thrilled to know we have established the Macfarlane Fund in his name, to support and help artists of this calibre, and at a senior level.”

The Macfarlane Fund also offers financial support to midcareer artists through the Macfarlane Commissions, three biennial exhibitions featuring new commissions by contemporary artists developed in collaboration with the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA).

The artists invited for the inaugural Macfarlane Commissions at ACCA are Sol Calero, Consuelo Cavaniglia, Matthew Griffin, and collaborative duo Nat Randall and Anna Breckon. Their work will be showcased in All The World’s a Stage, at ACCA, December 2018 to March 2019.

Art Guide Australia