Art alumnus takes out national award

Queensland College of Art alumnus Madeleine Kelly has won the $25,000 Sunshine Coast Art Prize for her stunning abstract work, Allowable Forms and Unconscious Facts.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson with award-winning QCA alumnus Madeleine Kelly and Sunshine Coast Art Prize judge, Dr Campbell Gray.

The national contemporary acquisitive award is presented by the Sunshine Coast Council, and is open to any Australian artist working in a 2D medium.

“This is a national award and there were a great mix of artists in the finals, so it’s a real honour,” Dr Kelly said.

“As a mid-career artist, winning a prize like this really boosts your confidence and confirms that you are on the right path.”

Madeleine has a Bachelor of Fine Art and a PhD from the Queensland College of Art and is a lecturer in Visual Art at The University of Sydney.

“My time at the QCA was so fantastic. It was a really good community and you were given the time and space to play and experiment.”

After graduating from her undergraduate degree, Madeleine wowed the art world – winning the prestigious Churchie National Emerging Art Prizeand an Australia Council Paris studio residency.

Madeleine now balances a thriving art practice with lecturing duties – and is enjoying nurturing the next generation of emerging artists while pushing the boundaries with her own work.

“I feel creative when I’m teaching and I’m constantly inspired by my students,” she said.

“And when I’m in the studio, the world just slips away.”

Queensland College of Art Director Professor Derrick Cherrie(left) said Madeleine was one of many promising artists to emerge from the QCA’s Fine Art program.

“We are delighted to see Madeleine’s work selected for this national prize,” he said.

“Her stunning piece that combines figurative and abstract imagery received the recognition it deserved.

“The Sunshine Coast Art Award provides an opportunity for talented artists to have their work exhibited alongside their peers from across the country, as well as opportunities for international exposure.

“The fact that our graduates are consistently represented at this award reflects the calibre of students studying at the QCA.”

Dr Campbell Gray judged the competition, and said Madeleine’s work demonstrated a high level of craftsmanship and complexity.

“The foundations of this work are based in the artist’s visual and theoretical awareness of art history together with extensive personal capacity in the craft of painting,” Dr Gray said.

“The work is deeply psychological — ironic and paradoxical.”

Out of 325 entries, forty finalists were selected for exhibition at the Caloundra Regional Gallery and Madeleine’s winning work will be added to the Sunshine Coast Art Collection.

The exhibition will be on display at Caloundra Regional Gallery until October 14.