Up-and-coming Tasmanian artist Isabelle Chouniard has received a huge boost to her career, taking out the $20,000 Henry Jones Art Prize for 2021.
Chouniard’s By the river, 2021, oil painting beat a record field of 238 emerging Tasmanian artists to win the coveted award, created and funded by Hobart’s The Henry Jones Art Hotel and first awarded in 2018.
Open to Tasmanian residents over 18 who are in the early stages of pursuing a career as an artist, the Henry Jones Art Prize showcases exciting new work across painting, drawing, printmaking, photography and mixed media. The prize was last awarded in 2019.
Kate Jackson, art curator at The Henry Jones Art Hotel, said with so many quality entries the judging process was dynamic and challenging, but Isabelle’s made a deserving winner.
“Isabelle Chouniard’s By the river, 2021, chosen as the winner of this year’s Henry Jones Art Prize is an intriguing work that eloquently intersects the disciplines of both landscape and portraiture painting, invoking a resonance within the viewer of serenity amidst wonder,” says Jackson.
A recipient of the Julian Ashton School’s Theo Proctor Scholarship, Chouniard graduated into the role of teaching at the highly regarded Australian fine arts school in Sydney and has since practised in Paris at Studio Escalier. A recent resident of Tasmania, Chouniard relocated to Hobart two years ago and has been accepted as a finalist into several prizes across the nation, most recently the 2021 Kennedy Prize in Adelaide, South Australia.
After years of dedication, this is the first time the artist has been awarded a major prize, which will likely have a remarkable impact on furthering her reputation as an accomplished and well-practised artist noteworthy of collection.
Jackson said COVID lockdowns may have played a part in the record field with artists able to dedicate more time to their craft.
“Like many sectors, art and artists have been hit hard by the pandemic, so it’s wonderful to be able to offer not only a prize for one young artist to kickstart their career, but also a platform for all finalists to showcase and sell their work to the public,” Jackson said.
The prize is an extension of the dedication of The Henry Jones Art Hotel, Australia’s first art hotel, which displays more than 400 art works by emerging and contemporary artists throughout the hotel at any one time, and also includes early landscape paintings by colonial artist John Glover in the in-house Landscape Restaurant and Grill.
Kate Jackson says she has been overwhelmed by the breadth of media used and quantity of entries received.
“As both an industry and cultural treasure of Tasmania, art honours the life we live collectively and this is apparent in the popular subject matter explored by this year’s emerging artists such as landscape, urban Hobart scenes, family portraiture, immigration and social observation or experience.”
Of the 238 entrants, 57 finalists have been selected as part of an exhibition open to the public until 5 December. Visitors to the exhibition will be able to purchase artworks and place a vote for the people’s choice, says Jackson.
“Liam Baker Ross was awarded the Packing Room Prize for his work Late for dinner, 2021, and will receive a $750 voucher from Just Frames,” says Jackson. “This work was selected by the Henry Jones Art Prize hanging team for its unique and distinctive style and the artists ability to visually articulate the beauty of life not going to plan.”
The People’s Choice prize of $1000 from Artery will be announced on the 7th December via the Henry Jones website and social media sites.
The Henry Jones Art Prize exhibition is open to the public in the Henry Jones Packing Room and Atrium until 5 December 2021.
About the Henry Jones Art Hotel
The Henry Jones Art Hotel is an art gallery disguised as a hotel. A fusion of history and modernity, art and design, indulgence and discovery. Australia’s first dedicated art hotel, the Henry Jones Art Hotel merges one of Tasmania’s most significant industrial heritage sites – H. Jones and Co. Pty. Ltd. IXL – with sleek design and contemporary Tasmanian artwork to create a sophisticated and deeply engaging accommodation experience on Hobart’s waterfront.
In November 2021 The Henry Jones Art Hotel was announced as winner of the Cultural Tourism category in the Tasmanian Tourism Awards.