Philip Wolfhagen collects Lloyd Rees Art Prize

WINNER: Philip Wolfhagen is congratulated by Governor Kate Warner and Colville Gallery director Trudi Curtis. Picture: Amy Brown.
WINNER: Philip Wolfhagen is congratulated by Governor Kate Warner and Colville Gallery director Trudi Curtis. Picture: Amy Brown.

Ten years after he won the Wynne Prize, Longford artist Philip Wolfhagen has produced another stunning landscape to take out the $20,000 Lloyd Rees Arts Prize. 

Wolfhagen, whose painting Transitory Light was unveiled as the prize winner at Colville Gallery earlier this month, said it was always exciting to take out an award. 

“I don’t win prizes very often so I’m very chuffed and honoured to win the Lloyd Rees prize,” Wolfhagen said.

“I didn’t meet (Lloyd Rees) to say hello but he did do lectures at the University of Tasmania when I was there in the 1980s. 

‘He was already in his 90s and he was an amazing man who I thought was wonderful, and this is a prize in his honour and memory so I’m very pleased to have this award.”

Painted with oil and beeswax on linen, Transitory Light showcases a twilight scene of the view overlooking Norfolk Plains, just behind Wolfhagen’s Longford property.

Wolfhagen created the 57x46cm piece partially from memory and partially from photograph.

“It was a relatively small painting, it’s of late evening, sort of twilight, with foreground trees and scrub.

‘The Lloyd Rees Prize is supposed to be about light in the landscape so I chose the painting because I felt it represented something very particular about the skies in the autumn in the evening in Tasmania.

“Particularly Northern Tasmania, because we have bigger horizons up here compared to the South where people are often blocked in by Mount Wellington.” 

Having taken out the third major prize of his career, Wolfhagen has no intention of resting up, with plans to hold an exhibition of similarly-themed paintings at North Hobart’s Bett Gallery later on this year.

He has also started work on a series of long horizontal pieces inspired by the topography and atmosphere of Ben Lomond.

“I walk up there very regularly and I’ve always got a camera. 

“There’s not one particular photo that I paint from because I’m always looking for different elements, and often when you’re in the landscape what you’re seeing in one view in one photograph isn’t very interesting in itself.

“Painting is about synthesizing different ideas rather than just painting a photograph - if that was the case I wouldn’t bother, I’d just exhibit the photographs.

“So it’s about bringing different things out that aren’t actually there, or things that I feel about the place rather than what other people see.” 

JUDGE'S FAVOURITE: Philip Wolfhagen's piece Transitory Light. Picture: Supplied

JUDGE'S FAVOURITE: Philip Wolfhagen's piece Transitory Light. Picture: Supplied

In other results, Tasmanians Richard Crossland and Jerzy Michalski won high commendations for their respective works Richmond Hills from Dulcot - Evening and Passage

Hobart artist Barnaby Smith took out the watercolour award for a series of three paintings inspired by Mount Direction. 

Philip Wolfhagen will present a solo exhibition at Bett Gallery from October 13 to October 30.