Davy Portrait Awards

Joe Dunne wins first prize in the inaugural Davy Portrait Awards for his ‘Portrait of Cara’

Davy, Ireland’s leading provider of stockbroking, wealth management and financial advisory services, have awarded Dublin-based artist Joe Dunne with first prize (£10,000) in the inaugural Davy Portrait Awards at a ceremony in Belfast. Dunne's captivating egg and oil tempera painting on canvas is of his daughter Cara, aged 15.

The awards, in association with Arts & Business, were open to artists working in traditional and non-'Figure C3.10'traditional media across Ireland. The judging panel comprised Royal Hibernian Academy president Stephen McKenna, Royal Ulster Academy president Rita Duffy and international art critic and writer, Gemma Tipton.

Dunne describes the winning portrait as ‘aiming to capture my youngest child’s quiet and reflective temperament’. Best known for his portraiture, Dunne studied at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and has exhibited at numerous solo and group exhibitions across Ireland, the UK and Europe. His work is included in the collections of the Royal Dublin Society, the Office of Public Works and the Ballinglen Art Foundation Archive.

Belfast-born Martin Wedge picked up second prize (£3,500) for his striking oil on canvas portrait entitled 'Figure C3.10'. The title refers to the anonymous subject taken from a medical reference book which Wedge describes as ‘a universal face that is strangely recognisable to many'. Educated at the University of Ulster, Wedge’s work is held in private and public collections across Ireland.

Third prize was awarded to Dublin’s Gary Coyle (£1,500) for a charcoal on paper portrait of his father. Educated at the National College of Art in Dublin and the Royal College of Art in London, Coyle has exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad, including the Tate Gallery Liverpool, Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris and at IMMA in Ireland.

‘Portrait of Cara’, ‘Figure C3.10’, and 'Portrait of my Father’ can be viewed alongside 21 other shortlisted paintings selected from over 300 entries at the inaugural Davy Portrait Awards exhibition, which takes place at the Naughton Gallery in Belfast from Saturday November 22 until January 31, 2009. The exhibition will move to the Farmleigh Gallery in Dublin in March 2009.

'Portrait of My Father'Tony Garry, Chief Executive of Davy, commented: 'In establishing the Davy Portrait Awards it is our aim to champion innovation and excellence in contemporary portrait painting in Ireland. The quality of the submissions and ultimately the works chosen for the exhibition are a clear indication of the significance of this area of practice within contemporary visual culture.'

Judge, art critic and writer Gemma Tipton added: 'From some highly contemporary works, to others that sit within a more traditional idea of portraiture, the works selected for the exhibition represent what the judges feel is a strong argument for the currency of portraiture as an art form today.'

For further information and full exhibition details, log on to the Davy Portrait Awards website.