An exhibition of the artworks by members of the
Contemporary Art Society Inc. as part of
the Herring Island Summer Arts Festival 2018
24th February - 12th March

Review by Cheryle Bannon

For three weekends from late February to mid-March, including the Labour Day public holiday, a total of 54 artworks by 27 CAS members was enjoyed by the public. A variety of people gathered to enjoy the art opening crowd attended the opening on 24th February to enjoy a variety of nature inspired art pieces. Volunteers ensured a wine, art conversations flowed throughout the afternoon in this beautiful gallery sanctuary within the suburban bush oasis of Herring Island. The Maroondah Bush Walking Club come along most years to support the art festival and enjoy art opening celebrations. This joyful space houses the annual Herring Island Summer Arts Festival in the original Scout hall which is the only building on this urban bush escape.

As always, the standard of art was an excellent showcase of the talented artists who are part of the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria.

The public were invited to vote for the People's Choice award with the opportunity to win $100 for themselves and the wining artist. Each participating visitor voted for his or her favourite artwork, hoping to be the lucky voter who gets drawn by ballot to win $100. The lucky artist whose work got the most votes would also win $100!

This was the first year that visitors had the opportunity to buy art greeting cards created by the exhibiting artists which was a lovely opportunity to own a small memory of the art pieces.

Contemporary by Nature” is a showcase of original art works depicting aspects of the natural world, be it animal, vegetable, mineral, geographical or meteorological world. The variety of interpretations ranged from sculptural, glass mosaic and mixed media pieces to acrylic and oil paintings with a contemporary feel.

The contemporary natural world theme inspired varied interpretations of the natural world. There is such a wide variety of possibilities to explore and nature is the perfect inspiration with so many possibilities.

Images such as the fused glass piece ‘Blue Circles’ by Kirsten Laken or the mixed media mosaic works by Jessie Yvette Jourmoud-Ryan held an abstract simplicity that drew you into a play on natural elements. Kirsten takes us into a fantast\y forest whereas Jessie challenges us to explore nature through shards of crockery and playful shape and colour connections.

The impressionistic interpretation of nature explored in Thalia Andrews' landscapes and the play of light and colour, beautifully conveyed the peace and tranquillity of nature.

The variety of art and the natural world is explored in such diverse ways, The needlework and painted mixed media play of Maryla Juchnowski explores through needlepoint and paint to create her Field of Gold with its fine detail and colour contrast is a unique and delightful interpretation. Each varied interpretation of nature holds its own stories and connects us to the natural world.

The quirky cats of Cressida Fox always intrigue and delight me with their curious poses and pattern play. Cressida shared her creative expertise this year in a free art workshop: “Creating Creatures & Characters with Cressida”. A lovely opportunity for those attending to explore and share in a creative afternoon discovering their own creative creatures and enjoying afternoon tea surrounded by an array of inspiring art.

I am particularly drawn to a large metal sculptural piece by Laurie Collins titled ‘Between the Moon and the Stars’. This large metal sculptural piece is made from recycled steel and has a sense of magic and possibilities as the small figure looks out from a sea of stars as she sits perched on a wave beside a crescent moon. This piece calls to my imaginative soul as we dream of the natural world that surrounds us and look out past our known horizon.

The range of art presented in Contemporary by Nature caters for all tastes with a variety of approaches that explore the theme. There are highly detailed pieces with intricate line work by artist Susanne Graham with her intricate pen work and colour highlights to the simplified beauty of works such as The Sacredness of Nature by Rosemary Mangiamele and the bold abstractions of Robert Lee in 'Zippadeedoodah'.

Contemporary by Nature was a delightful experience of creative exploration showcasing an array of talented CAS artists exploring contemporary connections to nature. Congratulations to all involved.

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