REVIEW Annual Exhibition 2012 - Gallery 314

3-16 September 2012: Artist floor-talks - 9 September

Reviewed by Heather King

On 1 September, our judge for this year's Annual Exhibition, Keith Looby, chose the works of four CAS members, and the judging results were announced at the exhibition opening on Sunday 2 September. Mr Looby said he had "picked artists who used their eyes". Today, the artists spoke about their works and how they came about.

1st prize - Nathan Moskinsky - Sleeping City

Q: How do you go about starting your work?

A: I contemplate the subject for a long time, I take photographs and sketches I make, in this case, late afternoon on the Yarra, and then put away all sketches and photographs and allow the images to work their way on to the canvas. A sleeping city creates a lot of questions and in this work a sense of menace.

Q: How do you decide on the size your work is going to be?

A: I am very much constrained by the size of my workspace, my garage at home. The sizes vary depending on the subject. My preferred medium is oil.

Q: How long does it take you to paint a picture?

A: It takes a long time, with lots of stops and starts - out door (plein air) work sometimes works much more quickly, but working from sketches takes longer. I now go deeper and deeper into painting landscapes but in a more symbolic way, releasing the inner self. The work is unframed deliberately to add to the rawness of it.

Q: What artists inspire you?

A: None, in particular.

Q: How did you become interested in landscapes?

A: John Newell started me off with an impressionistic style I am now interested in a more interior place, landscape is the trigger to release the inner world in my head.

Q: Why is the rusty colour around the side edges?

A: It comes from the underpainting. I don't like to make my pictures too pretty.

Nathan Moskinsky - 3rd prize - Tropical Sunset

The sky is very important in this work. I enjoy painting skies. The picture was painted from memory. It was an image from the Solomon islands. It has a low horizon line allowing the melancholy mood; it is not a physical reality but a psychological reality. As I worked on this piece the mood developed and a deep sense melancholy evolved, hence the dark palette. Painting outdoors, sunsets and landscapes, means you are editing as you go because the scene is changing from minute to minute, changes of light and colour. It is quick but back in the studio you can be more contemplative.

Q: Are these the emotional records rather than reality?

A: Yes, the emotional response. Absolutely.

2nd Prize - Manwel Cassar - Mnajdra, Malta, Neolithic Temple

Manwel was not able to be present, so Robert Lee read out Manwel's notes on the work.

The picture is of a historical site in Malta - a place he visited in his childhood and it still affected him when he visited in adulthood as recently as 2010.

4th Prize - Mary Lin Litchfield - Vase with Blue Veil

This is a psychological study of Mary Lin's state at the time. She often puts transparent fabrics in her still lifes, a feminine touch. The ribbon is a metaphor for herself coming out of one state, and the vase belonged to her mother and signifies her mother as The Mother. She enjoys the use of light and dark and strong tones. This is a small work and is zoomed in very tightly. It has a strong form and is almost geometric, with a low horizon.

Special prize for Most Innovative Use of Media - and -

The Marie Dorian Encouragement Award - Wendy Reiss - Flight

"The piece is ceramic mixed media simple form. It is about survival of a bushfire and how scrambling creatures and people join together to escape. I am not yet a Symbolist but it's about the bush fire showing how in fires everyone, animals and people, all run, but maybe they shouldn't.

"Like Robert I started out, not as a "potter" but a ceramicist and have strived to create art forms that go beyond 'craft'. I use found objects.

"My message to artists is don't get too political about your work, just do it! You have a right."

Robert Lee thanked all the artists present for getting up and speaking about their works and giving us an insight in to how the works came to be.

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