Graduate Fiona Lowry wins prestigious Moran Prize

March, 2008
Winning painting by Fiona Lowry

University of Sydney graduate Fiona Lowry was announced winner of the richest portrait prize in the world earlier this week. Lowry says the Moran Prize, worth $100,000, is the first major art competition she has entered.

Lowry’s self-portrait What I Assume You Shall Assume shows the artist standing naked in the Belanglo State Forest. The malevolent quality of the Australian bush is a recurring theme in Lowry’s paintings and this painting explores the paranoia within a landscape infamous for the backpacker murders. As Melody Willis describes in her introductory essay to Lowry’s 2006 exhibition, “Whispered rustlings from the trees coalesce into painted scenes … In a soft but persistent manner, Fiona Lowry dares us to engage in the physical encounters being played out in her forest landscapes, hinting at events that might be traumatic, revelatory or fatal.”

Lowry completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts with Honours in 1998 at Sydney College of the Arts. Fiona Lowry is represented by Gallery Barry Keldoulis.

The judges included Doug Hall, former director of the Queensland Art Gallery, and Sydney artist Ben Quilty. The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize was established by the Moran family in 1988 to celebrate Australia's Bicentenary and is awarded annually. For further information please visit the official Moran Prizes website.

The exhibition is on in the Galleries of the Mitchell Wing at the State Library of NSW from 10 March – 4 May 2008.

Left: Fiona Lowry, what I assume you shall assume acrylic on canvas.