• 3 April, 2020

Artist serves food for thought with his winning ‘lamb’scape

When imagining a landscape, a giant lamb chop with peas, mashed potatoes and gravy is not something that is likely to come to mind. 

This is exactly why Robert O’Connor had art critics and social media talking and tweeting last month after winning the 2020 Glover Prize, Australia’s most prestigious landscape art prize. His oil on canvass artwork titled “Somewhere on the midlands” some felt did not qualify as a landscape. Here is what the artist and the judges said:

From the artist

Things were going pretty good. Then Europeans arrive, erect fences and place foreign livestock on the land, now we’re cooked. I can hardly see the landscape with all of this stuff in the way.

Robert O’Connor with his controversial award winning landscape. (Image: Art Almanac) 

From the Judges:

“A period when social and political issues of the time were addressed by artist though the use of witty humour and wry commentary, while never letting go of their deep sense of social responsibility. Here Robert has placed a handsome rack of lamb with mash and peas, (and let’s not forget the gravy) and made it centre stage of a landscape painting of an area fondly know as ‘the midlands’. O’Connor has made what can only be described as an ironical bucolic landscape imbued with a darkly comical commentary on the impact of European settlement on this landscape. It is not a didactic moralising painting pointing at people, rather an image of an important topical discussion being had all over the country.”

Judge for yourself.

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