Polly Borland wins Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award 2017


Polly Borland, an Australian artist based in Los Angeles, has won the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award 2017.

The award is acquisitive and director of the Gold Coast City Gallery Tracy Cooper-Lavery says that she is very pleased to have Borland’s winning work, Two Heads A, 2016, join the collection.

“One of the things that is becoming really apparent with our collection of contemporary art is that photography is a really strong point. Mainly because of this award, but also because we are actively pursuing and purchasing contemporary photography,” Cooper-Lavery explains. “And Polly Borland is someone who has been on my radar for some time, so to have the work entered through the award, I am thrilled. I think her work is going to fit really well with the story that we are telling in Australian art through photography.”

Borland is known for her kinky, almost subversive, aesthetic and her doubled-portrait, Two Heads A, in which this sitter’s face is mashed by a nylon stocking, is no exception.

But Cooper-Lavery says that, so far, gallery visitors have responded very well to the winning work.And I think this is a bit of a testament to the Gold Coast audience,” she says. “The Gold Coast audience is now embracing art more and more.”

“The cliché is that the Gold Coast is just a cultural wasteland, but it really isn’t the case,” Cooper-Lavery adds. ”I was working here at the Gold Coast City Gallery in the 1990s, and I’ve been back for about 18 months. And in that space of time I really can see a difference in the audience and their understanding of contemporary art, and it’s just great. It’s good for the city, and for us as a gallery knowing that we can take more risks and start to really push our audience and their expectations of contemporary art. So photos like Borland’s are just seen as really great works and great for the collection!”

Borland’s photo was selected by Chris Saines, director of Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), from a field of 34 finalists. Darren Sylvester’s Broken Model and Danie Mellor’s The distance (envisioning Girrugarr) were also acquired.

Describing Borland’s winning photo in his announcement Saines said.It is a highly considered and resolved image made in response to a host of passing strange but essentially unanswerable questions – a portrait of doubt, perhaps; or a symbol of an inherent struggle in the sitter’s own sense of self?”

The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award 2017 Exhibition includes works by all of the finalists: Melissa Anderson, Dane Beesley, Scott Belzner, Fabrice Bigot, Polly Borland, Tammy Boyce, Aaron Bradbrook, Madeleine Burke, Anna Carey, David Chatfield, Dale Collier, Sean Coyle, Gerwyn Davies, Donna Davis, Shoufay Derz, Jeremy Drape, Merilyn Fairskye, Liss Fenwick, George Fetting, Ursula  Frederick and Katie Hayne, Natalie Grono, Nina Hanley, Lee Harrop, Petrina Hicks, Jon Lewis, Tim Levy, Abbey McCullock, Danie Mellor, Helen Okey, Camille Serisier, Darren Sylvester, Hiromi Tango, Linda Wachtel and Emma Wright.

The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award 2017 Exhibition
Gold Coast City Gallery
9 September – 22 October

News Words by Tracey Clement