Art at Burnley Harbour 2012
Burnley Harbour, Richmond
Review by Antonietta Sanfilippo
Art at Burnley Harbour took off to a ‘hot’ start with temperatures close to the 40 degree mark on the artists’ sending in day, and Robert Lee’s exposure in the media regarding the exhibition (more about this later). In excess of 400 artworks were displayed at the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria’s ninth Burnley Harbour show. Artists came from all over Victoria including interstate to showcase their work in an urban outdoor landscape, enjoyed by many on a regular basis who ride their bikes and walk the Yarra track at all times of the year.
Artworks spanned many genres, making it a worthwhile event for art lovers of all types. There was a range of works that portrayed ‘Melbourne Life’ featuring well known streets of Melbourne, famous landmarks, the many seasons of Melbourne and scenes such as cafés and entertainment centres. These artworks included Red Scooter @ Flinders St and The Fitz by Geoff Cunningham, Moonrise over Etihad by Robert McGrath and Centre Road Bentleigh by Herman Schwaiger. The range of works extended to other settings and places in Victoria and Australia, such as beaches, well known piers, country places, rivers, bridges and landscapes. These works included Flinders by Andrew Stevens, Dust Storm, Parkes NSW by John Kodric and Erskine Riverby Ellsworth Overton.
Artworks depicted a range of different subjects and topics. There were a number of paintings and pictures of ‘bikes’. Given that the exhibition was held along one of Melbourne’s most well frequented bike tracks, this was a familiar subject matter that may have brought a smile to the eye of many a bike rider who passed by the exhibition over the three day period. These works included Red Bike by Robert McGrath and the Velo series by Heather King. There were also many lovely portraits, of men, women, teenagers, children, famous people and nudes, in a variety of different settings such as the circus (All the World is a Stage, Jennifer Croom), still portraits (Peter and Iris, Leah Mariani) and ‘in attitude’ (Hippie Chick and Fashionista, Leon Cosak Abramson).
There was a large range of contemporary works, ranging from abstract, cubist and etchings. Mohammed Abumeis’ Dialogue series featured cubist figures in a unique pastel medium. Paul Cacioli’s Reject series were framed relief sculptures using forged steel and wood. The sculpture garden was much bigger this year, with a total of 31 sculptures. These were mainly positioned in a sunny spot close to the ‘backwaters’ of Burnley Harbour. Visitors commented about ‘how lovely’ the sculpture garden was. There was also a children’s area set out with drawing materials, which encouraged children to be creative.
Robert Lee, the President of the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria, featured in an article on page 3 of The Age newspaper as well as a radio interview on ABC 774. Robert highlighted that the Art at Burnley Harbour show has become a regular cultural art event that affords both artists and visitors an opportunity to be actively involved in original art. Robert also highlighted that funding for the show needs to increase in order to effectively run the show. This yearly art event is run solely by volunteers, who do a fantastic job to coordinate artists, paperwork, OHS requirements and the overall running of the show. A warm thank-you extends to all people who were involved in running the show, including committee members, artists and members of the public. Many visitors were impressed, and some visitors even offered to help at the next Art at Burnley Harbour show. The show is an opportunity for people from all walks of life to come together and have an ‘arty’ experience, and many visitors were able to walk away from the show having purchased a piece of original artwork. The committee and artists look forward to running the show next year, conditions permitting.