Danelle Bergstrom has been selected as a finalist for this years prestigious Portia Geach Memorial Award. Her gorgeous painting depicts choreography and dance duo Graeme Murphy AO and Janet Vernon AM .
Say the Artist: Back to back the dancers sit. Touching, communing. Such is the life and work partnership between the multiple international award winning duo, choreographer Graeme Murphy AO and his wife, dancer and creative associate Janet Vernon AM.
Every portrait is a collaboration between artist and sitter. With Graeme and Janet, I felt truly comfortable working in their presence. They were so supportive, encouraging and understanding of what was required and of the challenges facing me. I was captivated by their life stories and their 31 years at the helm of Sydney Dance Company, creating more than 50 works, and by what they have worked on since.
It would have been logical to portray dancers in motion – graceful agile bodies in action, engaged in their craft. In trying to distill their art to its essence, it became clear that their connection is as much intellectual as it is physical. A dual portrait painted in close perspective, to reveal the collaboration of body and spirit, a representation of memories made together expressed through Janet’s sinuous neck and Graeme’s mindful pose.
Two lifetimes of motion, energy, power condensed into a stationary image, expressing the strength and elegance of two bodies and two minds together.
The Portia Geach Memorial Award is a celebration of female Australian artists. It’s Australia’s most distinguished portrait prize for female artists and has greatly contributed to the development of female artists in this country.
It was established by Florence Kate Geach in 1961 in memory of her sister, Portia Geach and is awarded each year to the best portrait painted from life of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters or the Sciences.
The finalists work will be on display at the S.H Ervin Gallery from 4 October – 17 November, the winner will be announced at the opening next Thursday 4 October. This exhibition will be running concurrently with Danelle’s major solo exhibition of her beautiful landscape paintings at Arthouse Gallery. 9 October – 26 October 2013.