The Eutick Memorial Still Life Award

Dr Mal Eutick is an ardent fan of still life painting and in act of great vision and generosity has funded the inaugural Eutick Memorial Still Life Award since 2006. EMSLA, as the prize is colloquially and fondly known, was instituted in memory of Dr Eutick’s parents Lillian and Malvin. The EMSLA first began in 2006; the conception of a Still Life art prize which would benefit and encourage less well-established artists and one (given the “universal “nature of the still life genre) would provide a large allowance for interpretation.

Now in its thirteenth year in 2019, the EMSLA is fortunate and delighted to apart of the rich and vibrant arts culture in the Illawarra region and specifically at the Project Contemporary Artspace in Wollongong; a wonderful art space entirely run by volunteers who demonstrate their passion for supporting Australian art. Wollongong is a strong supporter of the arts, hosting a number of art prizes throughout the year within large and innovative art galleries.

The EMSLA remains the only art award in Australia dedicated to Still Life painting. Artists from all over Australia enter the award each year, attracting repeated entries from high calibre established and talented emerging artists.

Additionally, critic and art historian John McDonald, principal judge since EMSLA’s inception, has added prestige to the award and increased still life’s importance as a genre.

Still life is an enduring genre with an intriguing and chequered past. Emerging in Europe in the 16th Century it waxed and waned in popularity but never entirely vanished. Still life, or nature morte, traditionally involved arrangements of fruit, flowers and natural objects - dead or alive. Genuine mastery was essential to realistically reproduce the crepe-like texture of poppies, the velvety surface of tulips, the furs, feathers and fins of dead animals; and the convincing replication of glass, crystal or metal in the depiction of vases, weapons and mirrors.

Artists in the 21st century have expanded, and in some cases shattered the traditional stereotypes of the genre, including its traditional adherence to verisimilitude. Contemporary still life painting still requires extraordinary skill and while realism is always admired it is no longer demanded or expected of artists.

EMSLA celebrates excellence in still life painting and welcomes the influences of impressionism, abstraction, realism and hyperrealism in all their permutations. We welcome all Australian artists over the age of 18 to enter.

Past EMSLA Winners