Peggy Zephyr STILL finalist shines a beacon on female artists

Peggy Zephyr in her happy place in her art studio in Korora Bay.

STILL National Still Life Award, the biennial art prize to be exhibited in Yarrila Gallery Coffs Harbour later this year, has announced its finalists for 2023.

Korora Bay artist Peggy Zephyr is amongst them.

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“To be a finalist in this year’s National STILL award is particularly exciting for me, with the opening of Yarrila Place Gallery and my coinciding solo exhibition Please Walk On The Grass all in the same space, there is plenty to celebrate,” Peggy told News Of The Area.

“I’m absolutely elated that this particular work has been selected as a finalist.

“In what would have been Margaret Olley’s 100th year I wanted to celebrate her incredible legacy and shine a beacon for female artists who have been inspired by not only her work and support of other artists, but above all her commitment to a life dedicated to the importance of art,” said Peggy.

Peggy’s Still Life In Green 1947-After Olley pays tribute to Margaret Olley’s painting of the same name depicting a plate, fruit, and eggs arranged on green fabric.

“Conceptual and interactive, my artwork invites you to engage and become a part of the work.

“Using International Morse Code, the viewer is invited to unlock the painting’s message prompting reflection on the artwork’s existence if left undeciphered.

“Its essence remains dormant until interpreted, existing solely as an abstract work,” she said.

This is an acrylic on canvas, with the work meticulously painted by hand using hard-edge painting techniques, and explores Josef Albers colour theory experiments.

Peggy was a finalist in STILL 2021 and went on to win the People’s Choice award with her painting BOOM!

That painting was also acquired by the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery for its collection and hangs outside the City of Coffs Harbour Mayor’s office.

For STILL 2023 sixty-three artists were selected by an independent panel following an expression of interest that attracted a record 1,143 entries from across Australia, competing for an impressive prize pool of $35,000.

“We had a sensational response to STILL this year,” said Chris Chapman, director of city planning and communities at City of Coffs Harbour.

“To receive upwards of 1,100 entries is a testament to the prestige in which this exhibition is held by artists all around the country.

“The winner of STILL in 2021, Blak Douglas, went on to win the Archibald Prize.

“I can’t wait to see these works on display and see what some of these artists might go on to achieve,” he said.

The STILL exhibition will open later in the year, with the winner judged by special guest Max Delany, artistic director and chief executive at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.


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