The inaugural Rydal Art Prize, New Zealand’s newest art award with a specific focus on contribution to contemporary painting, has been awarded to Whitecliffe 2018 Master of Fine Arts graduate Christina Pataialii.
The bi-annual prize, announced by Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga, in partnership with Seeds Trust, awards an artist $20,000 for a work or body of work deemed to be outstanding in the field of painting over the prior two-year period.
Christina’s exhibition Solid Gold at Te Tuhi in 2018, was selected by the Rydal Art Prize judges who commented “Pataialii’s practice reflects recent New Zealand and wider international painting approaches while still retaining its own unique visual and cultural references. It seems to effortlessly jump between figuration and abstraction, and high art and popular culture. Her direct mark-making also calls attention to the immediacy of the moment spelt out by a Pasifika woman from the western suburbs of Tamaki Makaurau, Auckland.”
The body of work that made up Solid Gold came as a result of a connection with Te Tuhi where, after receiving the Iris Fisher Scholarship in 2017, Christina was invited by Curatorial Director Gabriela Salgado to return and develop a solo exhibition as a means of further extending the work and sharing it with a wider audience.
Solid Gold was developed in response to a specific space at Te Tuhi, the Iris Fisher Gallery, and the work as the judges commented, demonstrates Christina’s significant abilities. ‘’It is her ability as both a painter and an exhibition-maker that really stood out to the judges. The experiences she created in Solid Gold are ultimately exercises in creating space in which her painting can act, rather than just be.”