New Zealand Painting & Printmaking Award – 2020

Gordon Harris People's Choice Award
Rachel Peary – An Invitational Space

The winners have been announced. Congratulations to all of you.

Below are Julia Waite’s comments with each of the evening’s winning work.

Gordon Harris People’s Choice Award – Rachael Peary – An Invitational Space

PCANZ Merit Award – Lauren Drescher – Venus Family

The characters in Lauren Drescher’s ‘Venus Family’ appear like a totemic network each with powers to guide us through these strange and unsettling times. Although the figures may recall ancient forms like the venus of Willendorf, discovered in Austria in 1908, Drescher has successfully translated her influences and made a cast which feel entirely fresh and new. I want to get to know the hidden powers of each of these deities.

Wintec Media Arts Award – Nadia Gush – Waikato River(near Kirikiriroa)

I am moved by the force of this modestly scaled and seemingly unassuming green landscape. As the eye drifts up the composition to the tree-lined horizon there’s a feeling of heaviness I just can’t shake. On reading Nadia’s artist statement, I come to understand the menace she is meditating on. This thick green river flows with animal waste. Her painting is a subtle commentary on the effects of colonisation and puts paint to important cultural work.

Ruth Davey Merit Print Award – Luca Nicholas – Hyper-ballad

In ‘Hyper-ballad’, Luca Nicholas brings a collection of unrecognisable detritus together in fine veils of grey and black. The work speaks of time, memory and the  fragility of matter that floats through our lives. The power of the work lies in its delicacy; its sensitivity is its strength, which makes it especially timely in this coarse and distracted age.

Brian Perry Charitable Trust Merit Painting Award – Laura Williams – Seclusion:The Realisation

In Laura Williams’ vivid domestic dreamscape ‘Seclusion: The Realisation’ the eye is drawn to the two lovers who lean away from each other in mutual discord.Through pattern, colour and rich detail, Williams elevates our expectations of what an everyday bedroom scene might look like. In her Garden of Eden, the walls are covered in paintings from history and the imagination and open up new lines of thinking about history, paradise and landscapes of the heart.

The Philip Vela Family Trust Major Prize– Reece King – Good Socks

‘Good Socks’ straddles abstraction and figuration, inviting viewers into the artist’s psyche by way of the back of his head. Sitting atop the two legs is a box of blue shapes locked in dialogue with each other. The largest of these forms, the shape on the right, resembles a profile and reminds me of the big heads looming in the work of American-Canadian painter Philip Guston or in an early McCahon, as in the work ‘The Promised Land’, 1945. The black spots evoke small parcels of information entering King’s memory-board-brain and the work unites a sense of body and brain together. But I keep coming back to those big feet as the base of the painting. The socked-feet evoke a sense of rootedness, reminding us to put one foot in front of the other.


The Finalists have been chosen from a record number of 408 entries.


Mark Dustin

Alexis Neal

Tori Beeche

Mark Graver

Graham Hall

Meg Wilson

Jennie de Groot

Antony Densham

Laura Williams

Krystie Wade

Celia Walker

Fiona van Oyen

Yonel Watene

Beth Charles

Merthyr Ruxton

Cat Fooks

Lesley Knight

Stella Corkery

Kitty Fehlmann

Tonia Geddes

Luca Nicholas

Alan Ibell

Kristy Gorman

Terri Greenem

David Brown

Nadia Gush

Amanda Wilkinson

Michaela Stoneman

Janna van Hasselt

Tira Walsh

Marci Tackett

Oliver Cain

Reece King

Matthew Browne

Steve Lovett

Niki Hill

Fiona Lee Graham

Natchez Hudson

Peter McLaren

Yvonne Abercrombie

Olivia Chamberlain

Stephanie Postles

Deborah Moss

Eliot Coates

Rachel Peary

Cathy Tuato’o Ross

Belinda Griffiths

Frances Rood

Jennifer Huebert

Lauren Drescher

Michael Ebel

Geoff McGowan

Rebecca Wallis

Marie Strauss

Jolene Pascoe


Since 2002, WSA has organised the NZPPA to promote New Zealand art and to support NZ artists in the fields of painting and printmaking.

In 2020 we are partnered with Wintec (Waikato Institute of Technology), who will provide the exhibition space: The Atrium at their Hamilton campus.

Convenor for the 2020 NZ Painting and Printmaking Award is Laree Payne (Director of Weasel Gallery, Hamilton).

Award Dates

  • Opening and Awards were held on Friday, 2 October 2020, at 5.30pm in The Atrium, Wintec, Hamilton
  • The exhibition was on Saturday 3, Sunday 4 and Monday 5 from 10am -4pm
  • Nicol Sanders-O’Shea from the Print Council Aotearoa NZ will be presenting a talk on Saturday morning beginning at 10am

Award Prizes

  • $20,000 main prize for either a painting or a print, generously supplied by the award’s principle sponsor, The Vela Family Trust.
  • $2000 Ruth Davey Merit in Printmaking Award, a new prize celebrating the contribution of this important Waikato printmaker.
  • $2000 Brian Perry Charitable Trust Painting Award, a new prize to recognise the outstanding work of a rising NZ artist.
  • $1000 Print Council Aotearoa New Zealand Merit in Printmaking Award. PCANZ is a member-run, national, nonprofit organisation that promotes contemporary fine art printmaking.
  • $1000 Wintec Media Arts Merit in Painting Award.
  • $500 People’s Choice Award from Gordon Harris. This prize is a gift card to use in any of the Gordon Harris art supply stores.

This years NZPPA Judge

Curator of New Zealand Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki. She holds a BA (First Class Honours) University of Otago (2005), Masters of Museum and Heritage Studies from Victoria University (2009), and an MA (First Class Honours) University of Auckland (2017). Her expertise is well aligned with the demands of the award – to be knowledgeable in both paint and print.

Julia Waite

Please to Submit an Award Entry or

You are now signed out

Sign In