• Robert Buratti

Glover Art Prize organisers defend artist against claims she broke entry rule

The organisers of Tasmania's prestigious Glover Art Prize have defended the winner of the Hanger's Choice Award against accusations she broke a key entry rule.

Artist Cynthia Orr's acrylic and pen artwork Our House won the 2022 Hanger's Choice Award, worth $500.

The overall winner of the $50,000 art prize, Wanderings of the Past and Now by Victorian artist Jennifer Riddle, was announced last Friday.

But since then, the Glover Prize's social media page has erupted over whether Ms Orr's Hanger's Choice winner was indeed based on a Tasmanian landscape — a key entry requirement.

Some have argued it instead depicts Ms Orr's hometown of Albany in Western Australia.

Comments on social media said the painting looked like the town of Albany.(ABC News: Ellie Honeybone)

One commenter, Judy Lawrence, wrote, "This looks suspiciously like a painting of Albany, in Western Australia, where Cynthia lives.

"The town hall and streetlight, down to Middleton Beach, and the Islands in the sound, even the Telstra building and even the roundabout placement," she said.

"The park next to the town hall and the library building. The Pine trees at Middleton Beach, Mts Adelaide and Melville. I lived there for 25 years. I'd be interested to know where in Tassie it's supposed to be."

Susan Margaret Morice wrote, "Tasmanian landscape … I think not!".

Ms Orr has been contacted for comment, but on her Facebook page on Friday she said that the painting depicted memories of when she travelled around Tasmania with her family, many years ago.

"I recall the first thing I thought when I visited the place was 'Wow, this looks so much like our home!' [Albany WA]," she said.

"With the amazing country side, scenic oceans, mountain sides and especially Hobart's steep streets and historic houses. Even the weather was familiar. There was such a connection to my own environment, like the two places were one. I fell in love."

A spokeswoman for the Glover Art Prize, curator Megan Dick, said Cynthia's work was a recollection of her memories of Tasmania.

"As she also has not been able to visit recently, she googled pictures of Tasmania for her work and has gone by these images to confirm the painting," she said.

"'Place' can be portrayed by structures or ideas, realistic interpretations or abstractions. 'Landscape' can be a seascape, a psychoscape, an aerial view or a narrative, a story told.

"Cynthia has taken inspiration for what she remembers feeling about Tasmania."

Another Glover finalist criticised

Another finalist entry, Suzanne Roberts' A chilly Late Afternoon at Bellerive Beach, has also raised eyebrows.

While it does not breach any prize rules, it holds a particular likeness to a photograph taken by Hobart woman Nathalia Secco whilst walking her dog one morning last August.

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