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PhD student wins top prize for 'highly polished' work of art

Published 02 Dec 2019

Photographic artist and PhD candidate Micheila Petersfield was awarded the top 2019 Henry Jones Art Hotel Art Prize of $20,000. She is studying at the University of Tasmania's School of Creative Arts and Media.

Ms Petersfield was one of 67 finalists, chosen from over 120 submissions by Tasmanian emerging or early-career artists. This year's competition included photographic fine art.

The winning artwork Gesture is a photographic print and a prime example of Ms Petersfield's work, which explores how garments and adornment are used to mould, idealise and transform the female body.

The judges said:

"The composition and gestures used in the artwork make reference to the 16th Century Italian Mannerist, Carravaggio and his painting, Boy Bitten by a Lizard and have been successfully and boldly reconfigured into a 21st Century context.

"The elongated neck, the averted gaze and the use of muted colours create tension and the image appears to move between different states of being and subtly crosses over from high fashion to something more sinister but at the same time revealing a vulnerability.

"This is a deeply considered, highly polished artwork by an emerging artist clearly on the cusp of a very successful career."

Earlier this year, Ms Petersfield was awarded a residency in the Rosamond McCulloch Studio at Cité International des Arts in Paris. She will spend three months of 2020 in Paris, supported by the Marie Edwards Travelling Scholarship.

During the residency, she will visit many of France's fashion institutions and will study modes of femininity in French fashion design.

See the exhibition at the Henry Jones Hotel:

The exhibition of all finalists is on show daily from 10am–5pm until 8 December in the Packing Room, IXL Atrium, The Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart.

Photo credit: Rosie Hastie