Private Collection, winner of the 2021 Brunswick Street Gallery Fifty Squared Art Prize for my piece ‘Exhibit’.
Brunswick Street Gallery is pleased to announce the First Prize winner as Jarrad Martyn for his painting Exhibit.
Of this work, esteemed judge Kimberley Moulton said in a statement:
I was instantly taken by this painting by Jarrad Martyn titled ‘Exhibit’ both for its exquisite painterly qualities and captivating subject matter.
Drawn in by the plumes of white matter into what looks like a gallery space you could be in any museum or art gallery in the world, from the NGV to the Met there is no clue to the geography of place however the universal experience of a museum and also the increasing presence of deep cleaning and people in hazmat suits are unfortunately no longer a foreign occurrence. The use of oil paint and warm colour creates a soft glow that emanates from the work, perhaps its early morning or late in the evening. Although the presumed cleaning of the gallery is taking place COVID-19 is not necessarily the subject matter here, I read themes of issues that are pertinent to our world today, health of people, the deconstruction of colonial institutions and monuments, the feelings of isolation and contemplation in a world that has dramatically changed in a short period of time. The empty frame perhaps alluding to the removal of a work, we are left to wonder why. The monument behind the human figure on the mounted horse both looks to be cast with a shadow from the dull light of the room but potentially could also be seen as splashed with red paint. Is this a deep clean for the disease of racism in these spaces or the smoking white chemical symbolic of the whitewash of history that so often permeates the art and cultural histories of institutions? There is an emptiness or a feeling of aloneness here, the empty chairs, the missing work, the figure alone and looking downwards concentrating hard at the job at task, but pushing onwards – feelings of what we have felt much of in recent times. When reading this work it inspires many questions, conceptually it is dynamic and although we may not understand the narrative from the outset, it is relatable in many ways.
Congratulations Jarrad on your work which holds a great depth of ideas and beautifully realised in your chosen medium.
– Kimberley Moulton, Senior Curator South Eastern Aboriginal Collections, Museums Victoria, who judged the prize.