Monday, May 19, 2014

Image (from top): Mermaid Beach (detail), Richard Green Fiery Sky (detail), Richard Green

Naomi White with her winning painting, End of Day; Mayor Bill West address the audience; Deputy Mayor Judi Smith and David Henley (Regional Awards patron); Awards reception Cowra Civic Centre; Jenni Fagan Patron, Calleen Art Award speaking at the Opening (Naomi Whiteand, Calleen Winner, and Awards Judge Michael Rolfe in the background); Lyn Winters, Helen Vallance (finalist), Peter Lowe, Carolynne Briggs and Tim Winters (finalist) at the exhibition preview; harpist Kim Deacon in the Gallery.

4 May – 15 June 2014

The opening night and announcement of the 2014 Calleen Art Award and Central West Regional Art Award winners  took place on Saturday 3 May.

The Calleen Art Award was established in 1977 by Mrs Patricia Fagan OAM as an acquisitive art prize to form the Calleen Art Collection now the cornerstone of the Cowra Regional Art Gallery’s permanent collection. The Calleen Art Award has developed into a major national art prize for painting (in any subject) and this year the winner received $18,000 in prize money through the generous support of the Calleen Trust.

The Central West Regional Art Award was established in 2009 and aims to benefit and provide professional development opportunities for artists based in the Central West region of NSW. The   Award is non-acquisitive in the categories of painting and drawing (in any subject) with prize money of $2,000 through the generous support of a generous benefactor.

Over 100 people gathered for the special reception in the Cowra Civic Centre including the opening address by Cowra Mayor Cr Bill West and the announcement of the winning works and awards presentation by the 2014 Awards Judge Michael Rolfe CEO Museums and Galleries of NSW. This was followed by the exhibition preview of the 58 finalists’ works at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery.

During the evening guests were treated to the delightful flute music of ‘Tout Suites’ as they entered the Civic Centre Foyer, and wonderful sounds by Harpist Kim Deacon at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery.

The winner of the 2014 Calleen Art Award was Naomi White from Bardon (a suburb of Brisbane) Queensland for her work End of Day (2014) oil on canvas 112 x 183cm.

Judge’s comments

“In her work End of Day Naomi White uses sharp and intuitive brush strokes and discreet tonal gestures, abstracted in parts, to achieve a sharp and focused work. It’s not landscape from around here (Cowra), but it is an appropriate work for a collection that aspires to represent in some sense the vistas only artists see and to bring them before our eyes.” – Michael Rolfe.

Highly Commended Awards (Calleen Art Award) went to Alison Chiam from Vincenna NSW for her work Snowy Plains, Monaro NSW (2014) oil on canvas 72 X 120cm; Stephen Pleban from Ballart Victoria for his work Intertwine 2 (2014) oil and wax on canvas 152 x 162cm; Georgina Pollard from Kandos NSW for her work mis-tint II (2014) acrylic house paint on fabric 128 x 255cm; and Matthew Quick from Collingwood Victoria for his work Coronation (2014) oil on linen 120 x 100cm.

The winner of the 2014 Central West Regional Art Award was Genevieve Carroll from Hill End NSW for her work Over the Table Blue Dandelions (2014) oil on board 150 x 180cm.

Judges comments

“I gave the Central West Regional Art Award to a work that displays for me a real enthusiasm for painting. With a practice described as a circumnavigation of her life, Genevieve Carroll has produced a lively work – Over the Table Blue Dandelions – energetically transcribed and mediated through the experience of all things important to her. For me it wasn’t circumnavigating anything. Rather the artist appears to jump right in – It is a well constructed narrative and an artwork not bogged in paint but rather imbued with light and life.” – Michael Rolfe.

Highly commended awards went to Anne Stanley from Cowra for her work To the Edge, 2013 acrylic and mixed media on canvas 47.5 x 47.5cm and Blackheath based artist Robert Malherbe for River 11, 2013 oil on linen 61 x 76.2 cm.

A special People’s Choice Award worth $500 will be announced at the end of the exhibition.

This year’s exhibition of finalists’ works (selected from 299 entries) is an exciting and enjoyable showcase of contemporary art from across Australia. It is a significant exhibition event in the arts calendar of Cowra and the district, and one of the regions important cultural experiences.