Natasha Walsh has been awarded the 2018 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, which will see her take up a three-month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris and receive $40,000 funding to further her art education while in Europe. Her winning body of work includes her 2018 self-portrait Dear Frida.

A young Australian artist and three-time finalist in the Archibald Prize, Walsh examines her own mortality through intricately detailed miniature self-portraits painted on copper. Her use of copper as a support for paintings evokes the fluctuating nature of her subject matter as the metal is highly responsive to change until sealed by the layers of paint. Walsh’s work was previously selected as a finalist for the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, the Royal Scottish Academy Annual Exhibition in Edinburgh and the Waverley Arts Prize.

Natasha Walsh Dear Frida 2018 oil on copper, collection of the artist. Photo: AGNSW

Established in 1999 by the late Beryl Whiteley, the scholarship is open to Australian painters aged between 20 and 30 years. Scholarship alumni and guest judge Ben Quilty said Walsh’s work “has a quiet yet very self-assured sophistication that belies her youth. The future of Australian painting is in fine hands!”

Walsh’s practice wistfully explores the bittersweet inevitability of a present that is both lost and found, shifting between the living and the dying, the enduring and the fleeting. In the close observation of her own appearance Walsh records the passing of time.

“My work has been heavily influenced by the prolonged death of my grandparents in my formative years,” Walsh has said of her practice. “It was at this time I observed a palpable denial of its inevitability within those closest to me, which also seemed to pervade a larger context.”

“The Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship was the turning point and defining moment in my career,” Quilty said. “I quit my day job the same day I was awarded the scholarship. Then for the next six months I lived with my partner Kylie, in Paris, making art. The scholarship changed my life and I hope that Natasha Walsh gains as much as I did from this amazing opportunity.”

A selection of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship finalist works will be on display at the Brett Whiteley Studio, Sydney, from September 7 to October 7, 2018.