Artist Kerry McInnis a finalist in the "Archibald alternative" exhibition of fellow artist Jude Rae

Artist Kerry McInnis with her portrait of Jude Rae. Picture: Supplied
Artist Kerry McInnis with her portrait of Jude Rae. Picture: Supplied

Artist Kerry McInnis has been a finalist in the prestigious Archibald Prize once, in 2015, with her portrait of Queanbeyan rapper and artist, Omar Musa.

That year, there were 832 entries and 47 were selected for showing.

Similarly, in this year's Archibald, there were 938 entries and 52 finalists selected to show. That's a lot of work that goes unseen.

The Salon des Refusés exhibition was initiated by Sydney's S.H. Ervin Gallery in 1992 in response to the large number of works entered into the Archibald Prize which were not selected for display in the official exhibition.

The gallery is one of Sydney's leading public art institutions, housed in the historic National Trust Centre on Observatory Hill, at The Rocks.

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Each year, the gallery's panel is invited to go behind the scenes of the judging process for the annual Archibald Prize for portraiture and Wynne Prize for landscape painting and figure sculpture at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, to select an exhibition from the many hundreds of works entered in both prizes but not chosen for the official award exhibition.

Omar Musa, The Poetry of Unease, Oil on Canvas, by Kerry McInnis, was a finalist in the 2015 Archibald Prize. Picture: Supplied

Omar Musa, The Poetry of Unease, Oil on Canvas, by Kerry McInnis, was a finalist in the 2015 Archibald Prize. Picture: Supplied

The Holding Redlich People's Choice Award, valued at $3000, is then presented to the artist whose work receives the most votes from the public.

Kerry McInnis won the award in 2019, with her portrait of young sculptor Harrie Fasher.

She is a finalist again, in this year's Salon des Refusés , with another portrait of another artist, this time Jude Rae (who, coincidentally, was a finalist in this year's Archibald, highly commended with a self-portrait).

The winning work will be announced on August 12.

NSW Bungendore artist said she was delighted that her work, and many others, got a second chance through the Salon des Refusés.

"A lot of people love going to the Salon and seeing what has been rejected by the Archibald," she said, with a laugh.

Drawn in Steel (Harrie Fasher) Oil on Canvas, by Kerry McInnis won the people's choice award at the 2019 Salon des Refusés.

Drawn in Steel (Harrie Fasher) Oil on Canvas, by Kerry McInnis won the people's choice award at the 2019 Salon des Refusés.

"They become two quite different exhibitions. I think it's an honour to get into either of them.

"The whole idea is something is seen. An artist paints something and they actually want it to be seen, that's the life of the work. Otherwise, it ends up in the garage and nobody sees it.

"That's what all artists want, they just want their work to be seen."

Salon des Refusés is on at theS.H. Ervin Gallery until August 15.

This story What happens to hundreds of paintings that don't make the Archibald? first appeared on The Canberra Times.