Tate Adams portrait wins Percival Portrait Award - Art Collector

Ted May, Tate Adams, 2010. Courtesy: the artist

14 September 2010 | Ted May's portrait of printmaker Tate Adams has won the $20,000 Xstrata Percival Portrait Award, announced last week at the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery in Townsville.

May was selected by judge Andrew Sayers, the former director of the National Portrait Gallery and now the director of the National Museum of Australia.

''When you judge a portrait prize you are looking for a picture that conveys a sense of a real person. Ted May's portrait of Tate Adams has loads of character, presence and a vivid colour combination,'' says Sayers. ''In all it's a portrait full of life.''

The Victorian-based May, who has previously lectured in drawing at RMIT, the VCA and the Monash University, says that more important than an exact physical resemblance in his portraits is his ability to ''instinctively follow his inner feelings and his knowledge of the subject ... I began by portraying Tate to a tee, I sat on it, that is, until it bothered me. I wanted something that was more personal: something that was of Tate, not a picture of Tate ... I had to add the Adams' smirk and penetrating eyes that are his two principal characteristics. So with a flattened head, a boxer's nose, high accentuated cheek bones, a screwed up mouth and eyes that seem to jump out, or don't belong, I'm proud to say ... Here is Tate, as I know him.''

The award exhibition will run until 28 November 2010 at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville.

Jane O'Sullivan

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