Scholarship Painting exemplars – 2020

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Outstanding Scholarship

Panel 1 (JPG, 512KB)

Panel 2 (JPG, 367KB)

Panel 3 (JPG, 436KB)
Entire portfolio (JPG, 1.2MB)
Sample workbook pages

Sample page 1 (JPG, 1.8MB)

Sample page 2 (JPG, 1.8MB)

Sample page 3 (JPG, 1.6MB)

Sample page 4 (JPG, 1.7MB)

Sample page 5 (JPG, 1.6MB)

Sample page 6 (JPG, 2.4MB)

Sample page 7 (JPG, 1.9MB)

Sample page 8 (JPG, 1.4MB)

Click links to see larger images

This Outstanding Scholarship submission is about identity and emotional inheritance. The candidate states in the workbook that the enquiry “traces my preoccupation with identity and psychological struggles” ... “between inherited characteristics and my ideal authentic self”. This project is located within the practice of studio painting, which established a robust platform for exploration; the workbook clearly framed the starting point through documentation of a ‘full’ studio, sources, free association word and texture maps, quotes from philosopher Marcus Aurelius, and resource material gathered from the book, “Self-Knowledge” (School of Life, Alain de Botton, 2017). 

The candidate was highly experimental with a vast range of media that they used to create specific associations and refer to art historical, personal and psychological contexts. The links made through media usage were conceptually active; for example, an ultrasound scan was described through a paint sweep across a selected background surface. Experimental gestures were introduced that explored painterly conventions to create sophisticated figure / ground relationships and compositions (combinations of gesso, acrylic, and oil discovered interesting cross-media results). Highly detailed brush techniques / strokes also emphasised representation of the human form. This was further reinforced by the juxtaposition of classical sculptures of the ideal male form (figure struggles) situating the paintings within a scientific / mathematical / technological world. In referencing Greek mythology and style, the candidate found appropriate techniques, such as line and graphic, spatial delineation, and scale, to keep the paintings fresh and alive, adding vitality to compositions. 

All of the imagery used was generated by the candidate, even when it referred to an existent art work. The candidate restaged Greek wrestling, providing conceptual material and imagery for the paintings. They also set up approximations of potential compositions, using photographic staging and improvisation to develop complex scenarios that contained different scale representations, overlays, and pictorial devices. Other figurative elements that signalled birth, the parental relationship, and forms of identity were created within the visual vocabulary and incorporated into the works to inform the underlying narrative. These included barcodes, birth bands, fingerprints, ultrasounds, and text (painted to reference handwritten and typewriter aesthetics).

The workbook outlined the making-thinking process the candidate followed to produce the psychological aspects they wanted. A high level of analysis and ‘reading’ of their own mark-making and compositions helped refine solutions. This submission is a very calculated and precise body of paintings fuelled by an excellent understanding of the medium's potential to extract, explore, and abstract the topic of emotional inheritance.


Panel 1 (JPG, 642KB)

Panel 2 (JPG, 639KB)

Panel 3 (JPG, 558KB)
Entire portfolio (JPG, 1.7MB)
Sample workbook pages

Sample page 1 (JPG, 2MB)

Sample page 2 (JPG, 2.2MB)

Sample page 3 (JPG, 1.8MB)

Sample page 4 (JPG, 1.7MB)

Sample page 5 (JPG, 2MB)

Sample page 6 (JPG, 1.6MB)

Sample page 7 (JPG, 1.5MB)


Click links to see larger images

This Painting Scholarship submission presents a strong engagement with the central proposition of abstraction through a focused investigation into aligned concepts and painting conventions. The folio is full of experimentation, which operated as the primary mode of making. The tone of this submission is playful, inquisitive, excited, and open-minded. An enthusiasm for media, materials, and processes is apparent in how the portfolio and workbook were handled, revealing the confidence and maturity of understanding that emerged as the enquiry deepened.

From the outset, the candidate revealed their interests through drawings and colour sketches on the portfolio, and declaring their desire to study further in architecture. This led the candidate to think about why they are attracted to architectural elements (form and structure). While on one level a simple question, as a topic, it provided an expansive realm of possibilities for an investigation into abstraction: construction and deconstruction, space and composition, gesture and aesthetics. Maintaining an experimental edge throughout was achieved by an extensive range of media applications, including gauze, coloured gel, ink, pen, acrylic paint, different papers and card, and attention to geometric forms, angles, tone, texture, shadow and light.

The large amount of work produced created a buoyant and reflexive body of practice. Multiple production sequences and experimentation helped develop fluent media handling, complex mixed-media compositions, knowledge about layering systems, colour, materiality, perspective, and movement. The candidate was willing to make in ways that did not necessitate predetermined outcomes, by working with discoveries made in process (and thinking of them as subject matter, concept, or context). This approach provided a successful avenue of material thinking that matched the territory signalled in the workbook.

The workbook effectively documented the reflective approach, clearly identifying points of departure, remark, and insights. The candidate was self-aware, consistently asking themselves questions concerning art-making and their understanding of it, constantly shifting and changing. Therefore, they were always alert and present to emergent ideas and thinking. The range of artistic reference that assembled around the work as it gathered momentum was a useful guide and reference point for this insight within their art work. A critical success in the portfolio / workbook combined was how the learning unfolded through the actual making, and was then applied to the next phase of painting through thoughtful analysis of technical approach, composition, and material thinking.

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