What is figurative art?

An artwork that expertly captures the beauty, meaningfulness and aesthetic qualities of a real-life subject — this is the passion of the keen figurative artist.

The finest examples reveal the artist’s skilful use of line, colour, texture and light to provide the observer something of a narrative of the subject’s time, place and state of mind.

Perhaps the best way to understand figurative art is to have a look at some up close.

From 7 to 25 September, the Royal Queensland Art Society’s Petrie Terrace Gallery will present a free exhibition of paintings and drawings submitted by devoted practitioners of fine art from across the state. The exhibition comprises of entries in a competition called the Queensland Figurative, a key event in the Society’s all-new art festival, the RQAS Biennial.

The Queensland Figurative is an open competition offering Queensland artists an excellent exhibition platform in the heart of Brisbane. Visitors to the exhibition can expect anything from the serene to the sublime. The wildly successful launch of the competition in 2014 offered up some quirky glimpses of the human condition; outrageous characters, seductive poses, and moments of reflection, solitude and sorrow.

Former Archibald Prize-winner Francis Giacco will judge the Queensland Figurative and decide the $10,000 major prize winner. There is also a runner-up prize of $1,000 and a peoples’ choice prize of $500.

UPDATE: The major $10,000 prize winner is Dr Kay Kane, for her work titled Virtue and Power – A Persistent Dilemma.

Dr Kay Kane

Image: Virtue and Power (A Persistent Dilemma) by Dr Kay Kane

RQAS Brisbane branch president John Dunne believes Queensland’s next master painter may very well be unearthed in the Queensland Figurative. “And we want Petrie Terrace Gallery visitors to experience the anticipation and excitement that a competition of this standard generates,” he says.

“The exhibition season will include talks from high-profile artists, workshops, and demonstrations while continuing Royal Queensland Art Society’s 126-year legacy of supporting Queensland fine artists.”