CAS Inc. Annual Exhibition

Artists' Floor Talk

Sunday 12 September 2010

Gallery 314, Richmond

For those of you who missed it, this was a delightful afternoon at Gallery 314, viewing the artworks over drinks and nibbles, and hearing the stories behind the artworks from the artists themselves.

President Robert Lee gave an informal introduction and talk on the exhibition, highlighting the six prize winning works and four Highly Commendeds, then took the audience on a floor walk, inviting them to view each of the works and introducing the artists who were present to speak.

Dawn Cole talked about her  Highly Commended media work, Spirit Vessel,which she did for her father. Fascinated by his stories of ghost ships, with their fittings and lifeboats intact but no-one on board, this is what she tried to capture in this work.

Robert talked about the other three Highly Commended works and the judge's comments, as the artists were unable to be present. Our judge for this year, Geoffrey Bartlett, is an internationally known sculptor, and he had given high praise to Van Phu Le's Reminiscence 2, bronze on a marble base, and his technical skill. Of Peter McCurdy's Rock Face at Dights Falls, oil on linen, Mr Bartlett said it was “reminiscent of Cézanne, beautifully painted, and a nice interpretation of the landscape.” On hearing this at the exhibition opening, Peter said that nobody had ever said nice things about his works before. The judge's comments for Persian Roses, acrylic on canvas by Sophie Skarbek, were “beautifully painted, a sophistication of brush work and palette, well constructed composition ... also the density of the image.”

Nick Dell'Oso, winner of the  Special Encouragement Award with his work, Light Streams, said that he took it about a year ago on a cold winter's night on the Yarra River bank. He experimented with the shot, depressing the shutter and moving the camera around, taking a series of shots. Nick also spoke about his other work, Venice, which was taken from a building overlooking the piazza.

The  Special Prize for Most Innovative Use of Materials was won by Robert Lee for his sculpture titled Perseverance, high tensile galvanised coated steel wire & matt black enamel paint, with over 600 twists in the wire. He said it was inspired by microscopic forms with frills that they use to move about.

Joy Elizabeth Lea spoke about her 4th Prize winning work, titled Warburton Winter, mixed media on paper.

The work is an abstract of winter in the forest behind their house at Warburton. She used a dark palette in acrylics, conté, pastels and ink. Joy's method and aim with her work is spontaneity and knowing when to stop; if she had kept working on this painting, it would have become a realistic landscape, and she chose not to do this.

George Eustice won  3rd Prize with Domestic Scene, oil on masonite. He is a surveyor, so he has moved from hard line drawing to semi abstract. This work was taken from a sketch of his kitchen with railway green walls, chairs and table. Looking for inspiration, he had decided to draw what was around him. The chairs are almost confronting each other, engaged in dialogue. He used red as under-paint and as a feature in one of the chairs. Comments included his use of strong lighting with sharp, contrasting black shadows.

2nd Prize went to Jill M. Anderson for her ceramic sculpture, De Sal Seaweed Tea Teapot, a teapot for “future tea.” In the future, as the seas rise due to global warming, only mountain tops will be left and we will have to resort to making tea with seaweed. Jill's works are full of humour and satire, influenced by politics and current affairs. Most of her teapots are not meant to be used for tea, but as vehicles for political comment. Her other work, titled Moving Forward (Post Coup, Pre Election) Teapot, shows Julia Gillard as the prow of a ship, with Mr Rudd and Mr Abbot tied together and about to go overboard with the anchor. Jill has also made some “Julia” ducks on the wall, which will be included in her exhibition in Richmond Library.

1st Prize went to Brigitta Wolfram for her mixed media collage, titled Corruption Cannot Touch Him, a large and striking work. When asked about the title, Brigitta said she does “inner landscapes”, beginning with a blank canvas, giving quick, gestural lines, then a narrative starts to take place. Her titles come during or after the works are done. The image in this work is a little demon with two faces. She doesn't know where it comes from and said that perhaps it was inspired by her deep interest in mythology. She was surprised to win 1st Prize as she feels that she is still exploring her creative potential. She is exploring rather than recreating, otherwise there would be no joy for her in the process. She studied sculpture in the 1970's, and feels that the image in the work is a little sculptural, as the process involved building it up and taking bits away.

Robert again congratulated all the artists, and thanked them on behalf of the audience for giving such candid insights into the creation process!

Review by Cressida Fox

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