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Wendy Sharpe Erksineville Train Station

Wendy Sharpe, Erskineville Train Station, 2018 oil on canvas, 145 x 182 cm. Winner Calleen Art Award 2019.

The exhibition opening of the Calleen Art Award 2019 acquisitive prize for painting took place at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery on Saturday night 4 May 2019. Over 130 people crowded into the Gallery for the announcement of the winner including many of the finalists. Guest speakers were Cowra Mayor, Cr Bill West, who opened the exhibition, Jenni Fagan representing the Calleen Trust and the 2019 Award Judge, Jane Watters, Director, S.H. Erving Gallery, Sydney.

This year the Gallery received 300 entries and 53 paintings (by 53 artists many from regional New South Wales) were selected as finalists.

The winner of the Calleen Art Award 2019 is Wendy Sharpe for her painting Erskineville Train Station, 2018, oil on canvas 145 x 182 cm. This work joins the Calleen Collection as the 2019 winner at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery.

Artist Statement: “When I first moved to Erskineville in inner Sydney, it was a rundown rough area full of life. It was also one of the cheapest places to live. Although it has changed a lot, I am glad to say some of eccentric characters are still here, and a few more added.

I walk from Erskineville to my studio in nearby semi industrial St Peters everyday. This walk is often spent thinking about what I am working on. What I see around me often feeds into to what I am painting.”

Judges Comments: “The painting captures with great theatricality a dynamic inner city street scene through the lens of night. The narrative intent of the work leaves the viewer to contemplate and consider the possible outcome in almost a film noir manner. The painting includes a portrait of the artist as an observer of the scene unfolding in front of her. Curiously Sharpe does not consider herself a portrait painter despite being awarded the 1997 Archibald Prize. However she masterfully uses her subjects almost as characters in a play – the colour, shadows and spotlights – work in unison to create a compelling picture that I kept coming back to.”

During the evening guests were treated to the presentation of delightful music by an ensemble of young musicians from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Sydney.