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Chroma annually joins materials manufacturing companies, galleries and benefactors in awarding prizes to graduates of the National Art School, in the historic goal complex at Darlinghurst, NSW. The Chroma painting prize is awarded to the best undergraduate student from the painting studio. A new prize was initiated this year to the student whose work best displays innovation and technical development in an oil paint medium. Tony Amaral won the Chroma Painting prize and Ross Pullar, the Chroma Archival Oils prize.
Tony Amaral hails from East Timor. He has been in Australia for 3 & 1/2 years and is supported by a local family, the Dunlops, who recognized his talent on a trip to east Timor and encouraged him to develop his abilities by studying in Sydney. The sense of tragedy that the East Timorese people have undergone in their struggle for independence is evident every where in Tony’s work. However it also contains its fair share of humour, towards modern art and current consumer culture.
Tony’s work presents a pared back vision that delivers impact through its economy of means and repetition. The works consist of installation and 3D wall pieces of paper casts, canvas, paper bags and white paint in a controlled material oeuvre. Tony cast skull replicas from paper mache waste paper that he personally sourced. His methods and choices to use recycled paper, present the ubiquitous plain primed canvas and low grade paper bags are delightfully resourceful reminders of how creativity can triumph in restrained circumstances, undermining imperatives to consume.
Ross Pullar is captivated by colour. While landscape is a relatively new subject matter for Ross, it is one that he has approached with few preconceptions that conveys the joy of experience. Ross’s search for dynamic balance in colour and form makes investigative approach to image making clear. It is one that borrows many influences from contemporary Australian landscape painters whilst remaining fresh and unique. Tensions between abstract and representational forms deliver vitality to the work. Ross has employed conventional materials with a clear understanding of the contemporary landscape genre that honours the experimental.
Both men have applied to do an Honours year at the NAS in 2011. Ross is pictured here with his wife Judy who is most supportive of his creative direction. With a hint of synchronicity, both are mature age men bringing a wealth of lived experience to new artistic careers.