Step aside Patricia Piccinini (of Skywhale fame) – another young Canberran artist is stepping up to the international plate.

Tim Phillips, a resident of Weetangera who last year graduated from the ANU School of Art, has recently been awarded the 2013 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship.

The Art Gallery of NSW oversees this prestigious scholarship, which is annually awarded to talented young Australian artists wishing to further their artistic education in Europe.

Phillips submitted a suite of ten still life oil paintings in his application for the scholarship. The works feature delicate glass jars, crumpled paper, portraiture, elongated rainbows and sticks arranged against muted backgrounds of pastel yellow, pink and cream. Euan Macleod, artist and judge for the award, commented it was Phillips’ art’s “beauty and subtle technique” that “gave him the edge” over other shortlisted artists.

“I was impressed at how he is working within the very traditional genre of still life but in a very personal way: finding a way to make it his own”.

“Tim’s current work demonstrates his conviction that the process of painting from the close observation and contemplation of simple things remains a compelling pursuit,” adds Ruth Waller, Phillips’ teacher and head of Painting at the School of Art.

The scholarship, valued at $25’000, subsidises a three month residency at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris and an additional three months in Europe. It will allow Phillips to work on his painting in an environment of highly regarded museums, galleries and some of the world’s best still-life works.

The Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship is designed to extend the same opportunities afforded to a young Brett Whiteley, whose career was dramatically set in motion upon winning the Italian Government travelling art scholarship.

Whiteley was only 20 when he won the grant. Come July next year, 22-year old Phillips will embark on a similar adventure of international travel and study. Macleod describes that “there’s no expectation on what happens next but I really believe that [Phillips’] work is really ready for that sort of challenge.”

The bursary is now in its fifteenth year. It was established by Whiteley’s mother in order to perpetuate the memory of her son and encourage excellence in painting.

A selection of finalists’ paintings is on display at the Brett Whiteley Studios until September.

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