Charlie Tong’s sensual and impressionistic depiction of a female nude, Nude #2, has taken out the People’s Choice for the inaugural Benalla Nude art prize.
Thousands cast their vote in person or on social media to decide the People’s Choice from the 32 works in the exhibition which will end on Sunday 13 July.
Mr Tong, an engineer who began painting just eight years ago when he moved to Australia from China, said it was an honour to be awarded the People’s Choice.
Other popular works included Peter Smeeth’s Wash After Work (2nd), Andrew Bonneau’s Dancer (3rd), Lily Mae Martin’s Thirty Three Weeks and Matt R Martin’s Wilted Rose (equal 4th).
Shanley Cleeland, Acting Artistic Director at the Benalla Art Gallery said that Charlie Tong was an important emerging artist who was very much one to watch on the Australian arts scene.
“This work Nude #2, oil on canvas, is a highly accomplished painting of a female figure depicted from behind,” Ms Cleeland said. “The artist has used broad brushstrokes, fluid movement and layers of colour to create texture, depth and perspective.
“The use of colour blending with a broad brush alludes to a real sense of form and proportion, both on the figure and in the background of the work.
“There is a sense of mystery about the woman – her face is hidden from view. The audience is left to wonder – what expression might she be holding on her face? What mood is she in?
“This work is a wonderful example of an artists understanding of the nude female form.”
Good progress has already been made towards a subsequent Benalla Nude art prize, with Benalla Rural Council deciding last week to reserve $20,000 of the revenue from the 2014 exhibition for the prize money for the next time the competition is run.
Image right: Artist Charlie Tong (left) with Ivan Durrant (right)