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Tracey Maree Smith Finalist in the 2016 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of NSW

Tracey Maree Smith Finalist in the 2016 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of NSW

One day late last month at 6:20 am I texted CHG represented artist Tracey Maree Smith. I didn’t expect a reply till mid-morning after her children were at school. Not so! Tracey was up and about, preparing for meditation. Oh how I admire the early risers in this world!

Tracey’s text back informed me that she had been selected as a finalist in the 2016 Wynne Prize, Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW).

Tracey’s news was unexpected, but not such a surprise! For she is an artist who is committed to her art- prioritising time to develop, refine, and evolve her art amongst a commitment to personal development. Furthermore she has her ear to the ground regarding the industry, art events, observing and sometimes monitoring other artist’s careers. All this combined with an active family schedule! How does she do it? Put simply she makes time to make it all fit and to keep her life a balanced one.


Tracey Maree Smith Artist and Mark Widdup
Tracey Maree Smith and CHG Director Mark Widdup

I remember talking to Tracey about art prizes at a gallery meeting and acknowledging the Wynne Prize as an important one to pursue. True to her ‘can do’ approach she also considered this a valuable step in building her professional profile. However I was unaware she was diligently working on it in the background, a painting titled ‘First Creek, Redhead Beach’ as her entrant for the 2016 Wynne Prize.

Tracey Maree Smith Art
‘First Creek, Redhead Beach’ by Tracey Maree Smith

The old adage being… If an artist is selected as a finalist in either the Archibald, Wynne or Sulman Prizes, one’s PR and goodwill is assured for the balance of the year! What I believe, is the confidence it engenders in an artist by their acknowledgement as an artist, their style, technique and composition by an art academic body as the AGNSW judges adds to the endorsement of them as an ‘artist’. Be it a kind of validation, a confirmation of ‘self-belief’ as to the profession they chose or outright encouragement. Being selected must be a humbling experience!

Tracey Maree Smith Art
‘In an Unguarded Moment’ by Tracey Maree Smith

It also affects a strata of those involved with the arts as follows;

The media; plays its part by confirmation of the winners, highlighting controversies, building the profile of artists involved, interviews and insights of the finalists.

The AGNSW; the esteemed yearly announcement of the prize winners moves mountains with the hype, dialogue, and buoying of community spirit of the arts. After all, arguably it is the art flagship event for the visual arts in Australia. Steeped in tradition and history it commands attention as it continually develops and extends our countries art focus.

Art dealers and Galleries; representing the finalists glow in the glory and success of their stable containing an artist who has become a finalist. Buyers confidence is aroused, removing the ‘who and the why’ questions in the mind of the art buyer.

For the savvy art buyer; it directs them to an artist in order to review their work career and style. The question on their mind… Is it one worth including in my collection or not?

For a short period all the prize finalists become known to a huge cross section of viewers and the general public, stimulating discussion, and desire to purchase or the wish to own. There is never an end to the conversation these 3 art prizes and exhibitions offer when they go public.

If you haven’t seen the finalists for the 2016 Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes as yet you can find them here.

I hope you enjoy them!

Yours in art,
Mark Widdup
CHG Director

PS I will write a further bog detailing the the prize winners after I view the exhibition at the announcement and opening at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on Friday July 15.

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