AN exceptionally human dimension to landscape painting greeted art patrons on Thursday night (June 22) at the opening of the Artists Society of Canberra 2017 ACT Region Catchment Groups Art Prize exhibition.President of ASOC, Alan Jones, thanked the supporters and sponsors of this meeting of art and environmental awareness – icon water, and the Molonglo, Southern ACT and Ginninderra catchment groups – for making this event possible.
With a tightly-focused theme for 2017 of “people caring for the ACT and region’s lands and waters”, judges Eleanor Gates Stuart and myself, were impressed by the high quality and technical expertise in many of the 57 entries, all of which were for sale.
In making the decisions, however, ASOC had asked to judge not just the technical merit of the paintings on show but also their relevancy to the competition theme.
“Some of the works stood out to us and grabbed our attention and our emotions for the way in which they showed how human beings could interact with the landscape,” the judges said.
“It wasn’t just the innate beauty of a scene that impressed us, but also the ideas that lay behind such scenes.”
The Icon Water prize of $2000 for best in show went to “Exploring”, an oil work by Mark Redzic, described as “a beautiful painting that gave the impression of the conservationists with families learning about the environment… in this painting they seem to lift off the ground weightlessly”.The Molonglo Catchment prize of $500 went to Joan Fogarty’s pastel work, “Dawn Tryst”, which the judges said was “an alluring and magical impression of two fishermen in harmony with the environment – capturing a sense of place without being laboured”.
The Southern ACT catchment prize of $300 went to Isla Patterson’s watercolour work, “Mist from Overflow, Scrivener Dam”, painted after a balloon ride. The judges described this as “a consummately realised painting, a beautiful weaving of land and water right through to the Arboretum – our eyes were drawn”.
The ASOC/Ginninderra Catchment prize of $100 went to Michaela Laurie, for her mixed media miniature, “Listening for Frogs”, which was “a delightful, whimsical work that drew in the viewer so that we can think about the environment through a kind of miniature keyhole”.
Several paintings were commended for their technique and attention to the theme: Siva Nathan’s “Bush Capital”, in acrylic; Ian Trapnell’s “Casuarina Spring Umbalong Park” in oil; Bridget Causebrook’s “Urban Oasis” mixed media and Alan Jones’ “Casuarina Water Sampling” in oil.
2017 ACT Region Catchment Groups Art Prize exhibition, at the Fitters Workshop, Kingston Art Precinct, until June 30. Voting is now open and encouraged for the Framing Pieces People’s Choice award which will be announced on June 30.