The Don Macfarlane Prize, a new $50,000 award that will be given annually to senior Australian artists in recognition of their ongoing cultural contribution, leadership, and commitment to mentorship, has named photographer Pat Brassington as the prize’s first recipient.
A statement issued by the prize calls Brassington “one of Australia’s most significant and influential artists” and praises her “genre-defining contribution to the field of visual arts, her breathtaking conceptual work, and her commitment to the sector as a gallery administrator and mentor to many artists.”
Known for her interests in surrealism, feminism, and psychoanalysis, and for creating ambiguous photomontages that play on narratives of sexuality, memory and identity, Brassington was also recently named the winner of the 2016 Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize. She was the subject of a major survey, “Pat Brassington: A Rebours,” which started at the Australian Center for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, in 2012 and then toured Australia and New Zealand until 2016.
The Macfarlane Prize is the first initiative for the Macfarlane Fund, established to honor the life of Melbourne businessman Donald Macfarlane who was a respected arts patron. The fund offers financial support to artists in all stages of their careers and will also establish the Macfarlane Commissions, a new biennial series of exhibitions that will commission works by midcareer contemporary artists in collaboration with the Australian Center for Contemporary Art.