Newcastle’s newest major prize for painting, donated by the Newcastle Club Foundation, has been awarded to well-known local artists Andy Devine and Peter Tilley for their collaborative work, Response #35.
Their work was chosen from a very high quality group of eleven finalists selected from over 70 entries by the former director of the Newcastle Art Gallery, Ron Ramsey, and his fellow judges after many hours of deliberation.
There was a broad range of interpretations on the theme, ‘Newcastle and the Hunter; Land, Sea and Water’ from highly regarded, established artists and younger painters gaining considerable attention as they embark upon fully professional careers.
Every aspect of the city seemed to be covered, from John Earle’s meticulous, photorealist beach scene and Kerrie Coles’ opulent northern vista to Allan Finnie’s impressionistic overview of a rainy Scott Street and Nicola Bolton’s twilight walk around the coastline.
John Morris faced seaward for his foreboding, stormy nocturne while Dallas Bray’s showground sideshows are located in a reassembled local topography defined by grids of street lights and Joseph Lycett’s corroboree moon breaking through the clouds.
Grant Vercoe also re-ordered the Newcastle landscape to form a new city, ablaze in post-pop colour while Lezlie Tilley magnified local flora to form a quietly imposing grid.
Apart from the winning work, the most abstract interpretations of the theme are from the youngest artists as Lottie Consalvo visualised her feelings of belonging to this place and James Drinkwater energetically responded to the dazzle reflections of lights on the harbour.
While the individual reputations of the winning artists Peter Tilley and Andy Devine are firmly established it is through their collaborative works that they have been able to reach a much wider audience.
Their initial major collaboration was the environmentally focused exhibition Black Harvest, which recently completed a two-year, state-wide tour.
This evolved into their next collaboration A Dirty Business, with Andrew Styan, which was exhibited at the Newcastle Art Gallery earlier this year.
Their individual skills, mutual understanding and respect produces contemporary works that are sophisticated and meaningful while being engaging and accessible.
This prize was developed and administered by the Newcastle Community Art Centre and the exhibition of all successful entrants was presented for public viewing in the Newcastle Art Space.
It is hoped that the prize will continue to grow and develop into a major annual event on the local art calendar, however new arrangements will have to be made if the centre and gallery are unable to find new premises after they leave Parry Street in the new year.
City gallery focus
The local focus continues in city galleries with a number of the prize entrants showing in different exhibitions and of course John Olsen’s major Hunter themed survey at the Newcastle Art Gallery.
At 67 Parry St, Newcastle West, John Morris is exhibiting To the Present, a very satisfying survey of paintings and prints from the past eight years.
The space is dominated by massed clouds, rolling over unspecified landscapes, possessing the uncertainty and trepidation felt when confronting the sublime or one’s own mortality.
The soft, diffuse glow of these works is broken by a series of nocturnal Christmas trees, defined only by their party lights and a night lit city roof top swimming pool glowing blue beneath the surface.
These are deep, emotional and contemplative works that deserve time and quiet consideration. Until Sunday 20th November.
At Newcastle Art Space Sweet Sixteen is the latest exhibition from the Seven Painters group that at the moment numbers six.
These observational artists have been working and exhibiting together for sixteen years and their concentration on imagery from their immediate environment saw paintings by Jennifer Finnie, Michael Bateman and Patricia Williamsz being selected for the Newcastle Club prize and Andrew Finnie’s making the final group.
The addition of Malcolm Sands’ joyous countryside jaunts and Sarah Knights’ confident depictions of Glenrock lagoon make this exhibition very much a celebration of the life of the Lower Hunter.
Until November 27.
CStudios presents a survey exhibition of collagraphs, prints and paintings from the last 45 years by prolific and well known artist Joyce Clulow with a deep concern with environmental issues underpinning and uniting the work.
Until December 4.
There was a broad range of interpretations on the theme, Newcastle and the Hunter; Land, Sea and Water