Gemma Smith signs on for The Gold Award 2018

Published on 09 March 2018

GEMMA SMITH, Double blind 2017 courtesy the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney.jpg

$50,000 Gold Award
18 August – 7 October 2018
A joint initiative of Rockhampton Art Gallery Philanthropy Board, Rockhampton Art Gallery and Rockhampton Regional Council

One of Australia’s most significant painting Awards, The Gold Award 2018, announces the inclusion of Sydney-born artist Gemma Smith. Grounded in explorations of colour, Smith’s practice investigates the many formal and perceptive possibilities offered by her highly chromatic, abstract compositions.  

Designed as an invitational? award to consider the best in contemporary painting while simultaneously building a substantive collection, the most outstanding work or works by an artist will be awarded the $50,000 cash prize.

One of the richest art prizes in Australia, The Gold Award has been made possible through a generous bequest to the then Rockhampton Art Gallery Trust from the Estate of Moya Gold (1928-2000), a philanthropist who understood the joys and opportunities the arts and education can bring to a community and society.

Rockhampton Art Gallery Director, Bianca Acimovic said Smith’s keen sense of spatial relationships and complex colour-play made her selection acceptance an occasion of great excitement.

"Her practice can be read in the form of both painting and sculpture, and as such, she is well positioned to push viewers’ understanding, and therefore acceptance of, contemporary painting,” said Mrs Acimovic.

“Rockhampton Art Gallery’s collection is built on the back of Australian Modernist painting, The Gold Award continues Rockhampton Art Gallery’s investigation and exploration of who represents contemporary Australian painting, and its place within broader contemporary Australian art practices,” said Mrs Acimovic.

“Gemma Smith’s virtuosity as a painter is in constant, remarkable development. Colour continues to be both subject and content in her luminous paintings; she interrogates its perception, plays with its chromatic rules, and wrestles with its capacity for both bossiness and ambivalence,” said Sarah Cottier of representing gallery, Sarah Cottier Gallery.   

“Smith keeps colour active, bringing a refined precision to her orchestrations as well as making concrete for the viewer the ability to be astonished by unexpected combinations.”

“Perceiving colour is like exercising a muscle that is enhanced by use. I feel that one can become attuned to perceiving colour in a more nuanced way,” said artist, Gemma Smith.

Invited artists are encouraged to submit more than one work as part of The Gold Award, to create a comprehensive and rich exhibition that offers a coherent vision of each artists practice.

The winning work (or works) will be acquired for Rockhampton Art Gallery’s collection.

Gemma Smith joins a celebrated line-up of Australian artists who over the years has included:

Michael Zavros (Qld)
Ben Quilty (NSW) (figurative)
Abbey McCULLOCH (Qld)
Karen Black (QLD)
Fiona Lowry (NSW)
John Young (VIC)

Image | GEMMA SMITH, Double blind 2017, acrylic on linen, 202.5 x 216cm (framed), courtesy the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney 

For further information please contact:
Bianca Acimovic
Gallery Director
T 07 4936 8173 |