Annual Exhibition 2018
Gallery 314, 314 Church St, Richmond
Opening: Sunday 9th September 2018
Review & Prizewinners by Katherine Chouliaras Lewis
Contemporary Art Society of Victoria Inc. Annual Exhibition 2018
The heavens opened as the CAS Inc. Annual Exhibition 2018 welcomed all who came. Perhaps it was an auspicious sign to help us all celebrate CAS’s 80th birthday. Happy Birthday CAS!
Gallery 314 was full of artists, family and friends buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm to view the exhibition. There were 96 contrasting artworks by 51 creative artists in a diverse and colourful range of styles and media; 2D and 3D artworks, 2 large folios containing a selection of unframed “Works On Paper”, and a tiered stand of artists cards to be viewed. There were also 4 display cabinets containind 218 imaginatively created brooches (from The Australian National Brooch Show 2018 of 315 works by 91 artists which had been held at Fitzroy Library).
President Robert Lee opened the Annual Exhibition 2018 by welcoming all and providing a synopsis of the history of the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria. He also explained that the ‘Annual Exhibition’ has no specific theme, allowing CAS members freedom of expression and creativity in their art submissions.
Robert thanked our generous sponsors for their support and assistance with the Annual Exhibition 2018 and for providing the great prizes. He thanked the CAS Committee team for their enthusiasm and great effort with the many tasks required to put on this Exhibition.
Since 1938, CAS has a history of using prominent and established Artists as judges for the Annual Exhibition. This year’s judge was sculptor William Eicholtz. William is known for his unique contemporary figurative sculptures. He works with a wide variety of materials and techniques and produces challenging artworks. In 2005, William was awarded the Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award for ‘The Comrades Reward’. William has works in many public and private collections across Australia including; Tarrawarra Museum of Art, Parks Victoria, Werribee, Victoria University, Leslie Lohman Collection NYC, ‘Lady of Justice’ at the front of the County Court, Melbourne and many life size cast sculptures of servicemen.
The judge is provided with a catalogue that omits the artist’s name so all the works are judged objectively. The prize winning works William Eicholtz selected were those artworks that made him think and reflect on the artists’ message through their use of imagery, colour, tone, style and media. Throughout the Exhibition, William realised an apparent undercurrent of concerns for the environment, an awareness of climate change and a rejoicing in the beauty of nature and grappling with the human impact. In his speech, William stated “art should make you think, address issues and bring cause for reflection”.
1st Prize: No. 37, 'A Lesson on Gratitude: the Deer and the Vine' by Jessie Yvette Journoud-Ryan (cement sheeting, recycled crockery & ceramics). Artist comment: ‘A reflection on one of French writer Jean de La Fontaine’s Fables - ingeniously and poetically imparting particular Life Lessons which in turn bring about, in often violent ways, reflection on and change in one’s behaviour. They were ever present throughout my own childhood in France’.
Judge's comment: “… work of great whimsy and reflection that takes the skill of mosaic to another level … a bold work that repurposes broken but beautiful ceramic pieces and has fashioned them into a beautiful sculptural piece. Not only is the artist's experience and skill clearly evident, but the story the sculpture tells is as deeply resonant and historic as the broken objects used to create it. The story is an Aesop Fable in which a deer hides from hunters in a grapevine. Once the hunter has passed, the deer begins to eat the grapevine. One of the hunters turned and when he saw the deer, he hurled his javelin and struck her. As she was dying, the deer groaned to herself , 'It serves me right, since I injured the vine that saved me!'”.
2nd Prize: No. 89, 'The Masters of The Present World' by Neda Starac (oil). Artist comment: ‘Present comes with a little bit of hope’.
Judges comment: “… the grotesque pictorial language, owing more to George Grosz than political cartooning. The artist has painted instantly recognizable world leaders but loaded on subliminal nightmares. The unexplained elements that crowd the picture made me reconsider the surreal political world we live in, as did George Grosz in the Weimar period earlier last century. The naivety of style belies the strong agenda of the artist and their selective use of colour. I was challenged and intrigued by the composition of this work, and the one below it by the same artist.”
3rd Prize: No. 16, 'Utopia' by Dawn Cole (acrylic). Artist comment: ‘This is my imaginary place. Magical mountains and valleys, beautiful unusual plants and trees. Colours vivid and other worldly’.
Judge's comment: “… invites us into a fantasy world. Its rich jewel colours are lushly layered and draw us into the pictorial space to the towering mountains beyond. It is a pleasing and dreamy world, and perhaps an alternative vision to (her other work) 'Meltdown'.”
Highly Commended: No. 21, 'Fantasy Girl' by Graham Edwards (acrylic). Artist comment: ‘Animals accompany her in her dream wild’.
Judge's comment: “… is a joyful work that brings Antonio Lopez 70's BIBA illustration style into a Manga world in a playful world of a girl and her cats. It is a skilful and resolved work.”
Highly Commended: No.43, 'Translucency' by Payam Khajeh (mixed media). Artist comment: ‘There is something inside of us that is shiny and glorious even when outside is dark’.
Judge's comment: “… is a much darker work that does indeed offer the glimmer of hope when you look through the dark surface into the beautifully drawn figures that seem to roll and tumble within the pictorial space. These figures are found through the artists' working process, and are open to individual interpretation.”
Highly Commended: No.15, 'Melt Down' by Dawn Cole (mixed media). Artist comment: ‘Global warming is a troubling issue; no more so than when I witnessed if first hand after visiting Alaska and watching glaciers melting and crashing into the sea’.
Judge's comment: “… is a much more confronting work that takes its cue from Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' and tackles global warming head on. Despite its grim predictions it is skilfully painted with a very subdued pallet and lovely passages of layered painting.”
Encouragement Award: No.73, 'Gold Coast' by Deirdre Oliver (acrylic on canvas). Artist comment: ‘After their husbands join the heavenly choir, and almost as soon as the debris from the wake is cleared, the good widows from the suburbs abandon their listless lives and head to unfamiliar climes, where they sip exotic cocktails dreaming of the adventures it’s too late for them to have’.
Judge's comment: “… Brett Whitely blue bay and bold, graphic foliage resonate against the orange tan and beach towel. I loved the appropriation of Australian Icons, in both the Whiteley reference and the leather skinned sun worshiper and the wicked sense of humour and the interesting composition. I would encourage this artist to push ahead with all these satisfying elements.”
Special Prize for Innovative Use of Materials: No. 49, 'Resilience - Strength of Self' by Kirsten Laken (glass). Artist comment: ‘We have the strength of DNA, Environment, Cells and our Soul, to negotiate all of life’s challenges. The Essence of ourselves. The strengths of all above. The power of being. Survival and Being the Best we can. Within the Golden Centre of Self we are Resilient to all negativity’.
Judge's comment: “… unique Mandala /Shield has fused, slumped, and beautifully crafted glass that has obviously been created by an artist of great skill. Glass in itself is a very alluring material, but this lustre studded shield showcases all its very best qualities.”
Congratulations to all CAS members for an intriguing and creative exhibition of contemporary art in its many forms. The Annual Exhibition continues with the prize winning artists' talks on Sunday 16th at 4pm and closes on the 23rd of September 2018.
A special thank you again to the following Sponsors: Adara Richmond, Art Almanac, Arthouse Direct, Canson Australia, Chroma Australia, Deans Art, Eckersley’s Art & Craft, Grill'd Swan St Richmond, Hocking Stuart, Hydrocryl, Jasco Pty Ltd, Richmond Uniting Church and CAS Inc.