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Pat Brassington awarded the inaugural Don Macfarlane Prize
Melissa Macfarlane (right) and Pat Brassington.

MELBOURNE.- The Don Macfarlane Prize is a new $50,000 award given annually to a senior Australian artist in recognition of their unwavering, agenda-setting arts practice, ongoing cultural contribution and leadership, and commitment to mentorship.

The first initiative of the newly formed Macfarlane Fund, the Prize was awarded to leading Australian photo-media artist Pat Brassington in recognition of her pioneering career at the forefront of photography in Australia, and announced at function to launch the Macfarlane Fund at 6.30pm Wednesday 26th July at the Kelvin Club, Melbourne.

Decided unanimously by an Advisory Committee that includes senior members of Australia’s visual arts community, the Macfarlane Prize recognizes Brassington’s groundbreaking, enduring career, which spans four-decades.

In awarding the prize, the Committee noted Pat’s 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. The Committee also noted the continuing vitality, daring and relevance of Brassington’s current work, which they felt merited wider public attention.

Pat Brassington is one of Australia’s most significant and influential artists, known for her interests in surrealism, feminism and psychoanalysis, and for creating ambiguous photomontages that play on narratives of sexuality, memory and identity. “I aim to pitch my images just off the verge of normality, into those dense patches where commonplace goes awry,” she says.

In 2016 she won the Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize, and a major survey exhibition, Pat Brassington: A Rebours, was held at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne in 2012 and toured Australia and New Zealand until 2016. Other selected solo exhibitions include Pat Brassington, Ten Cubed, Melbourne (2014); In Search of the Marvellous, CAST Gallery, Hobart (2013); a survey exhibition at the Lönnstrom Art Museum, Finland (2008); and Pat Brassington, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2007).

Brassington’s work has featured extensively in national and international group exhibitions, including NEW13, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane (2013); Parallel Collisions: 2012 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2012); and Feminism Never Happened, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2010). Her work is held in major state, university and national collections throughout Australia.

The Macfarlane Prize is the first initiative for the Macfarlane Fund, established to honor the life of respected Melbourne businessman Donald (Don) Macfarlane who, throughout his life, took immense pleasure in the arts.

The fund’s primary focus is to offer financial support across the career span of artists, and will also include the Macfarlane Commissions, a biennial series of exhibitions featuring new commissions by contemporary artists to be developed in collaboration with the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) specifically designed for mid-career artists.

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