C.A.S. Inc. Annual Exhibition 2008

7 to 19 July 2008

Gallery: fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Review by Cressida Fox

This year’s Annual Exhibition was a special one as it celebrated the Society’s 70th Anniversary. 97 works by 62 members filled the main gallery. Due to the size of the gallery and its high ceiling, we were able to have more large works. There were 36 works over 1m high or wide (including 5 over 122cm), and 16 sculptures (including 6 sculptural installations), adding to the variety and general appearance and layout of the show. It was a challenging one for our President Robert Lee to oversee the placement and hanging, and the end result was an excellently laid out exhibition. Many people commented on the high standard of artworks, what a great gallery it was and how well presented the works were presented. 

The society  promoted the exhibition well with substantial advertisements in the Australian Art Collector, Art Monthly, National Gallery of Victoria Gallery Magazine, Art Almanac, and ads in the Saturday Age. A large mail out of invitations also ensured a wide audience attended the show over its 2 week duration. Emma McGowan, of Citysearch (website) wrote a glowing editorial review, titled “Seventy years in the pure spirit of art with an added dare to all creative souls” for the Citysearch website, on their National Arts news. At one stage, our show was listed as the number three art event to “see” in Australia! on all Citysearch state webstes.

In the middle of the gallery was a large installation piece - three trestles draped in black cloth on which were laid most of the 53 plates, all hand painted by CAS Committee members, to be used for the Bohemian Lunch on the 70th birthday of CAS, 13 July 2008. They brought much attention and interest from visitors.

The Works on Paper Folio of 36 unframed paintings, drawings and etchings in the History Room was also a popular addition to the show. The walls of the History Room showed the fruits of much research and photocopying. They were lined with CAS newsletter and catalogue covers and other material going back to 1938, including a copy of the catalogue for the Society’s first exhibition in 1939 at the National Gallery of Victoria, a selection of reports on exhibitions and other events, and a long list of names (about 700) of CAS members from 1938 to 2008.


Photos from the Annual Exhibition Opening at fortyfivedownsatirs 8 July 2008


{vsig_c}0|DSCF1745w.jpg|The Society's History Room display @ fortyfivedownstairs gallery (45 Flinders Lane Melbourne){/vsig_c}
{vsig_c}0|DSCF1748w.jpg|Visitors enjoy the opening @ fortyfivedownstairs{/vsig_c}
{vsig_c}0|DSCF1754w.jpg|Visitors enjoy the opening @ fortyfivedownstairs{/vsig_c}
{vsig_c}0|DSCF1755w.jpg|CAS President Robert Lee introduces the judge of the show, Robert Ingpen (AM){/vsig_c}
{vsig_c}0|DSCF1758w.jpg|Visitors enjoy show-judge Robert Ingpen's comments about the prize-awards he gave{/vsig_c}
{vsig_c}0|DSCF1760w.jpg|Visitors enjoy show-judge Robert Ingpen's comments about the prize-awards he gave{/vsig_c}
{vsig_c}0|DSCF1761w.jpg|Artist Graham Edwards receives his prize from the show's judge Robert Ingpen{/vsig_c}
{vsig_c}0|DSCF1765w.jpg|Artist Grazia Marin receives her prize from the show's judge Robert Ingpen{/vsig_c}
{vsig_c}0|DSCF1770w.jpg|Artist Amy Simmons receives her prize from the show's judge Robert Ingpen{/vsig_c}
{vsig_c}0|DSCF1771w.jpg|Judge of our show, Robert Ingpen (AM) announces prize-winners{/vsig_c}
{vsig_c}0|DSCF1776w.jpg|Artist Noraliza Speranza receives her prize from the show's judge Robert Ingpen{/vsig_c}
{vsig_c}0|DSCF1778w.jpg|Art connoiseurs at the opening: L-R: Robert, Max, President Robert Lee, Greg and Jamie{/vsig_c}
{vsig_c}0|DSCF1780w.jpg|Taking a rest after looking at all the art: Robert, Judy, Paul and Fred{/vsig_c}
{vsig_c}0|DSCF1782w.jpg|Dinner after the opening at Rosati{/vsig_c}


The opening on 8 July was very well attended, and the commemorative full-colour exhibition catalogues were eagerly bought by visitors. President Robert Lee opened the exhibition and welcomed all to this special 70th Anniversary exhibition. CAS was founded on 13 July 1938 by George Bell in protest of the conceived conservatism of the dominant Australian Academy of Art, with the primary and paramount objectives being the fostering and promotion of contemporary art. CAS had its first exhibition of 192 works, hung in the NGV. In 1953 the Society had grand plans of having an overseas exhibition but which didn’t happen. In 1990 CAS had its first touring exhibition. Robert said that in his 19.5 years with CAS, “What we try to do ... is to support the artist, give them a voice ...” by showing their works in public places. He thanked CAS Committee for their hard work and commitment. The Society has a long list of notable judges, including Fred Williams, Fred Cress, John Brack, Patrick McCaughey, Clifton Pugh, Jan Senbergs (twice), and many others. Robert introduced this year’s judge, Robert Ingpen, who congratulated CAS and members for lasting 70 years as not many art societies do. He outlined the state of art as he sees it, in his personal view as author and illustrator, illustrating his view with three quotes, including: “True art does not look like art” (Lao Tsu), and “In a vampire culture, expect a bit of vampire art” (Michael Leunig). He then announced the prize winners and outlined the reasons for his choices. Robert Lee thanked our judge, and our sponsors of the many wonderful prizes, which were presented with prize certificates to the winners.

The 1st Prize, total $1,617, went to Lene Bøg Jørgensen for her work titled Little Monsters, a series of 9 small, delicate and detailed drawings in ink and acrylic on a metal base, inspired by fossils and how they are preserved forever in stone. Judge’s comments: “Outstanding, beautifully drawn with great imagination and sensitivity to create more than nature itself in the natural world of fossil remains.” 1st Prize was sponsored by Canson Australia (Louvre Oil Studio Set in wooden box, Liquitex Acrylic Wooden Box Set, 2 x Canson 1557 Drawing Pad A2, 2 x Arches Travel Book, 2 x Arches Landscape Study Pad A2, 1 x Arches Water-colour Paper 640gsm Pack 5, total $567), PLUS C.A.S. Inc. $1,000 cash and 1 year’s CAS membership, total $1,050.

The 2nd Prize, total $814, went to Graham Edwards for his acrylic painting titled The Piñata Seller, a work as colourful and attractive as its subjects, the Mexican piñatas full of sweets, nuts and mandarins. Judge’s comments: “A wonderful interpretation as illustration of the colourful Mexican custom to celebrate children’s birthdays. A strong design and great colour balance.” 2nd Prize was sponsored by Winsor & Newton (Winsor and Newton products: Hamilton Easel, Artisan Studio Set, 3 x Artisan Round brushes, 3 x Filbert brushes, 6 x  18” x 14” Artists’ Canvases, 6 x Winsor and Newton 12” x 12” Artists Canvases - Deep Edge, total $764), plus 1 year’s CAS membership, value $50.

The 3rd Prize, total $649, went to Grazia Marin for her acrylic on canvas titled The Lethe Where All Memories Are Lost, a large, dark and wonderfully mysterious image of one of the 5 rivers in the Underworld of Greek mythology. Judge’s comments: “A very moving painting recalling memories of Greek Mythology. An extremely successful result in the mode of Monet.” 3rd Prize was sponsored by Chroma Australia (Winner’s choice from the Archival range of Oils and Atelier Interactive Acrylics, with colour chart and order form, total $350) plus Faber-Castell (Set of 48 Pitt Artist Pens, acid free, permanent / light fast, in Atelier case, total $249, plus 1 year’s CAS membership, value $50.

The 4th Prize, total $450, went to Amy Simmons for her group of 4 white porcelain Alco-pots, in which she expressed her enjoyment of clay as a soft and malleable medium with “an element of chance” (from artist’s statement) in the firing, by leaning the pots this way and that, as if at their will. Judge’s comments: “The four whimsical pots do what clay naturally wants to do, and the artist celebrates that in this simple and fun statement.” 4th Prize was sponsored by Global Colours (Winner’s choice from the Global range of artists’ acrylics and mediums, total $200), plus Micador Australia (Art materials to the value of $200), plus 1 year’s CAS membership, value $50.

The Special Prize for most innovative Use of Materials, total $600, went to Elizabeth Watt for her work titled Lost Memories Recalled, a mixed media painting inspired by the vastness and mystery of Mundi Mundi desert Plain past Broken Hill, and in which her aim is to portray “the secrets and contradictions of its history ... the layers of evolution contained within the landscape” (from artist’s statement). Judge’s comments: “A very successful resolution of what is now common, mixing of cloth with paint - in this case so sensitively and confidently controlled.” The Special Prize was sponsored by Art Stretchers (Winner’s choice from the Art Spectrum range of paints and art materials, total $550), plus 1 year’s CAS membership, value $50.

The Encouragement Award, total $350, went to Noraliza Speranza for her work titled Simple Pleasures, a nude finely drawn in charcoal with acrylic washes on linen. In this work she expresses the pleasures of “a simple nude drawn on good old butchers paper ... our earth, our beautiful bodies and ... the things nature has to offer” (from artist’s statement). Judge’s comments: “Keep drawing, its rewards are already quite clear in the work of this artist.” The Encouragement Award was sponsored by Deans Art (Maybef easel, total $350).

There were no Highly Commended certificate awarded this year. There were many other good works in the show. Of awarding Highly Commendeds, Mr Ingpen said, “Where do you stop?”, and decided to stop with the prizes. There were many works in the exhibition that I would like to write about but space does not permit, also, where would I stop? I felt that the overall standard was particularly high this year, and I thoroughly recommend the purchase of our full colour catalogue, which includes every work in the show plus the artists’ statements, for just $12. The exhibition will also soon be on our website.

Thank you to our sponsors: Art Stretchers, Canson Australia, Chroma Australia, Darrell Lea, Deans Art, Faber-Castell, Global Colours, Micador, and Winsor & Newton. Thank you to hanging co-ordinator Robert Lee and the sending in team: Kathe Bibi Ostermark, Robert Lee, Cressida Fox,  Joy Elizabeth Lea, Rosemary Mangiamele, Elizabeth Watt, Carolyn Urquhart, and Shelley Vincent. Thank you also to the Exhibition Set-up and Takedown Team (Robert Lee, Cressida Fox, Fred Fair, Joy and Lael Lea, Rosemary Mangiamele, Elizabeth Watt, Antonietta Sanfilippo, John Whitlock, Anita and Casey Van Grootveld, Gary Solomon), Works On Paper Folio Preparation (Rosemary Mangiamele, Elizabeth Watt), Catalogue production (Robert Lee, Fred Fair), and Website / Publicity (Fred Fair).

- Review by Cressida Fox

Photos of the prize-winning art


{vsig_c}1|AE08-036-Jorgensen_w.jpg|First Prize - "Little Monsters" by Lene Bøg Jørgensen|Acrylic, pencil & metal, 40 x 40 cms, $ 540{/vsig_c}

{vsig_c}1|AE08-021-Edwards_w.jpg|Second Prize - "The Piñata Seller" by Graham Edwards|Acrylic, 60 x 54 cms, $ 700{/vsig_c}

{vsig_c}1|AE08-047-Marin_w.jpg|Third Prize - "The Lethe Where All Memories Are Lost" by Grazia Marin |Acrylic on canvas, 77 x 120 cms, $ 500{/vsig_c}

{vsig_c}1|AE08-070-Simmons_w.jpg|Fourth Prize - "Alco-pots" by Amy Simmons|Porcelain (group of 4), 40 x 80 x 30 cms, $ 480{/vsig_c}

{vsig_c}1|AE08-074-Speranza_w.jpg|Encouragement award - "Simple Pleasures" by Noralisa Speranza|Acrylic & charcoal on linen, 102 x 102 cms, $ 800{/vsig_c}

{vsig_c}1|AE08-093-Watt_w.jpg|Special Prize - "Lost Memories Recalled" by Elizabeth Watt|Mixed media, 122 x 91.5 cms, $ 950{/vsig_c}


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