2021 Awards

Best In Show

Artist: Geoff Sargeant

Title: “Metamorphosis: The Fate of Acis”

Judge’s Comments: Geoff Sargeant’s meticulous colour pencil practice turns to the Greek myth of Acis and Galatea. Titled “Metamorphosis: The Fate of Acis”, this work shows the figure of Acis curled up in the water amongst an unusual formation of coastal rocks. Geoff has written that the strange lime- stone formation that features in the image can be found at Grinder Point, Cape Liptrap, Victoria. The story is that, Acis, the lover of the sea nymph Gala- tea, was crushed under a rock by the jealous Polyphemus, and was then changed by Galatea into a river which flowed out of Mount Etna. We can see the figure of Acis, partially submerged in the water with the threatening rock appearing to bear down upon him. The composition, with that unusual rock formation, describes the moment before the crushing of Acis. The work takes Geoff’s skilful observation of the details of geology, anatomy, marine plants and the movement of water and combines them into one unified visual and narrative thrust. However it also leaves us in suspense, as we are caught in the moment before the fatal event. The work remains as mysterious as it is beautiful. Why did Geoff focus on this part of the story when we can see in art history, the frequent references to the lovers when they are together? Is this a reference to our vulnerability and to nature’s response to our behaviour? Or is it more personal? We are given this complex work of art as a vision to reflect upon, and perhaps we will each find within us an experience which it gives voice to. This work sees Geoff‘s practice move to a level of narrative mastery that is as rare as it is necessary in our times.

Best Non Traditional

Artist: Rachel Groves

Title: “Not Another Lockdown”

Judge’s Comments: Rachel Groves’ “Not Another Lockdown”, is a self-portrait that does not hesitate to describe Rachel’s own experience. The image impacts me immediately with that slightly contorted face, what appears to be smeared lipstick (there is nowhere to go anyway), eyes wide open and the almost missing, dissolving features. The jumper she wears is bulky and heavy around the neck, a burdensome weight of clothing that reminds again, that there is nowhere to go and nothing to dress up for. The image is both direct and guarded. The representation of the face and the expressive use of watercolour, communicate vulnerability, some distress, boredom and a sense of the dissolving of self. However, it holds enough back, in a way that keeps me looking for more.

Non Traditional Highly Commended

Artist: Solomon Karmel-Shann

Title: “John”

Judge’s Comments: “John” is noteworthy for the complexity of composition, its poetry and an empathetic description of the subject. I believe that we are seeing the development of an artist that has significant technical, visual and narrative range to sustain a significant future practice. Encouraging also is the sense of humour present as well as a deep sensitivity to the subject.

Artist: Geraldine Richards

Title: “Fantasy Hills, Yarra Valley”

Judge’s Comments: This is a brave work by Geraldine Richards. It appears to be a step towards a more poetic visual exploration of landscape. It is adventurous, bold and heartfelt.

Best Traditional

Artist: David Taylor

Title: “Nature’s Way, Bay Of Fires”

Judge’s Comments: David Taylor demonstrates a highly skilled use of the watercolour medium alongside a significant understanding of light on the landscape. Aside from the confidence and economy evident in the work, it is the feeling of connection to the subject that most impresses me. The work has a sense of dedicated observation, authenticity and connection with the landscape.

Highly Commended

Artist: Joe Blundell

Title: “Sunset”

Judge’s Comments: This work sensitively describes the colour, tone and lighting on and through foliage. It demonstrates the artist’s confidence with the medium to achieve textural effects that build our reading of form. The artist’s focus upon a detail commonly found within the Australian bush and his faithfulness to the subject demonstrates a keen observer and dedicated painter.

Artist: Lorraine Burns

Title: “Get Cracking”

Judge’s Comments: An attractive composition with enjoyable colour harmonies and a confident handling of paint. The blue patterned cloth on the left draws us up and into the main composition holding us there through the form of the complementary coloured egg. There is a comfortable familiarity about this kitchen bench subject but it is the sincerity with which it is painted, evident in the steady calm brush marks that completes the telling of the story and feeling of the work.

Best Non Traditional Under $1500

Artist: Yesim Gozukara

Title: “Rockpool on the Coff’s Coast”

Judge’s Comments: This work impressed me for the technical virtuosity and inventiveness in the use of the watercolour medium. Also for its colour and the grand vision of the landscape. The textured watercolour effects reflect the texture of the landscape itself.

Highly Commended

Artist: Susan Blackburn

Title: “Marina”

Judge’s Comments: Compositionally complex use of forms and their spatial relationships to each other. The forms build to describe the subject and then yield and shift in relation to each other. A complex work delivered with minimum of fuss.

Artist: Eugenia Scavino

Title: “Hall View”

Judge’s Comments: An accomplished use of the elements of the form of the plant, the pattern, and the line images of the birds in the background. The unique visual language and the manner in which this work is handled demon-strates great possibilities.

Best Traditional Under $1500

Artist: Margaret Hookway

Title: “Dawn Light”

Judge’s Comments: This small painting delivers an accomplished composition that succinctly sparks a narrative in the mind of the viewer. The artist demonstrates great empathy and sensitivity to the subject without leading us into sentimentality and without being manipulative. This is a very impressive work by a promising figurative artist.

Highly Commended

Artist: Zhonghua Fan

Title: “Gumflowers II”

Judge’s Comments: A skilfully handled and attractive painting which conveys movement and vitality. There is a respect for the subject, evident in the fluid brushstrokes, alongside the of the use of colour which gives the gum flowers and leaves life. A great example of the handling of the medium, telling the story.

Artist: Carles Pellejero

Title: “In the Pirinius Mountains, Anso”

Judge’s Comments: Beautiful handling of the watercolour in describing the light as it passes through the tree. Looking at this painting, I am convinced that the artist stood in this place, that he saw the back light on the leaves and that he studied the texture of the ground at his feet.

 Best Oil/Acrylic

Artist: Frank Chi

Title: “Summer”

Judge’s Comments: Wonderful use of oils to describe the forms of the tree and leaves as well as the textures. Chi manages to also describe the space, as we can see that the leaves hang before us but also that the ground is at our feet and it leads us away into the middle distance. This is a refreshing, direct and expressive painting that celebrates the subject.

Highly Commended

Artist: Tania Samuel

Title: “Dark Bloom”

Judge’s Comments: A technically accomplished painting which straddles both the historical and contemporary simultaneously. The power of this work is in that it is speaking to us in both languages at once. The difficulty to distinguish forms add an air of uncertainty with the work appearing to reference transience and mortality.

Artist: Ben Winspear

Title: “Last Light, Country Victoria”

Judge’s Comments: A wonderful description of the landscape and the last light of the day. The broad brushstrokes, alongside the use of colour and the composition of the sweeping slope give a sense of movement and delightful colour without losing us in detail.

Best Work On Paper

Artist: Joseph Zbukvic

Title: “Late Afternoon, St. Mark’s Square, Venice”

Judge’s Comments: This is a beautiful painting of light and softening shadows. A study in greys and blacks capturing the last light and lengthening shadows in this magical city of Venice. It depicts the lull in the tourist bustle; the afternoon quiet as waiters have time to reflect and patrons are not rushed to release a highly demanded table.

Strong repetitive shaped arches frame and strengthen the composition as the exterior light gives way to the internal darkness of the archway and the light of the interior passageway.

The painting contrasts the warm tones of found objects with cool grey tones where the viewer is invited to explore and discover. The transition between the afternoon light and the lengthening shadows is sympathetically handled. This strong diagonal line draws the viewer’s eye from the antiquarian sculptural figures into the shadows to discover contemporary everyday life.

This large painting is a masterfully executed watercolour on a grand scale. With exquisite design and sublime handling of the challenging medium, it captures a moment in time in this ancient city. This is a worthy winner of the Best Work on Paper.

Highly Commended

Artist: Julian Bruere

Title: “Wintry Snowgums, Mt. Torbreck”

Judge’s Comments: This painting captures the harsh misty alpine environment of gnarled gums and eroded and weathered rocks. The twisted trunks and sinewy branches are beautifully crafted and composed in this watercolour. The limited palette of warm browns and greys accentuates the winter, and soft tones allow gums to appear in the distant mist. This is a stunning work by an artist who can use the medium of watercolour to reach its full potential and should be highly commended.

Artist: Alison Clark

Title: “The Colours of Africa – Elephant”

Judge’s Comments: This painting is a textural study in pastel of this significant African animal. The skin of the elephant is exquisitely handled by the artist to allow the viewer to visually experience its rough and coarse nature. The artist has beautifully used warm and cool colours and tones to enrich the painting. The harsh light which adds highlights bleaches the colour from the elephant’s skin. The composition crops this massive animal to the minimal and demands the viewer to explore its character. The eye is alert and watchful. This work is beautifully crafted by the artist and as such is highly commended.

 Best Drawing

Artist: Geoff Sargeant

Title: “Metamorphosis:The Fate of Acis”

Judge’s Comments: The imagination and skill that went into this remarkable work was mind blowing. It’s one thing to have an image suggesting itself on the mind but quite another to have the skill to replicate with perfection the actual image – a clear winner.

Highly Commended

Artist: Linda Robertson

Title: “Male Figure Study, Seated”

Judge’s Comments: Linda’s drawing shows excellent control in allowing her work lines to remain as part of the freedom of movement in this well executed study. A very good example of a trained eye.

Artist: Elena Kolotusha

Title: “Vintage Spoon and Finch”

Judge’s Comments: This is a drawing that combines the familiar and the exotic. Elena has achieved this combination with such a delicate touch; truly exquisite.

Best Wildlife

Artist: Elena Kolotusha

Title: “Australian Dingo”

Judge’s Comments: Elena’s portrait of a Dingo is a masterful use of pastel. It commands the attention of the viewer. It is a strong image that draws you in and makes you think about the focus of the dingo’s attention. The depiction of the fur is wonderful with detail and softness without distracting your attention from the focus of the work.

Highly Commended

Artist: Qing Zhang

Title: “Barn Owl no.5”

Judge’s Comments: Qing Zhang’s wonderful control of watercolour is complemented with an eye for composition. The eye is drawn to the face through subtle sharpening whilst softening of the rest of the owl gives the work depth and movement. The warm and cool colours combine beautifully to enhance the qualities of this work. The overall softness of the image also the captures silence of owls in flight. Exquisitely done!

Artist: Lynette Orzlowski

Title: “Autumn’s Leap”

Judge’s Comments: Lynette Orzlowski’s Autumn Leap is a brave work combining strong colour and composition. It has that ‘draw me across the room’ element in all of the best work. The head remains the focus of the work despite the power of the background. Foxes can detect their prey under the snow. This captures the moment it pounced on the unsuspecting prey. This piece combines contemporary and realist elements but captures the true nature and habits of the subject. It grabbed my attention!

City of Boroondara Encouragement Award

Artist: Eileen Van Bavel

Title: “Gumleaves”

Judge’s Comments: Eileen’s works demonstrate a strong technical command of her chosen medium and her colour palette is beautiful.

Highly Commended

Artist: Rochelle Maree Caligiuri

Title: “Windswept Magic”

Judge’s Comments: Rochelle’s magical works are evocative of children’s fairy tales. They are well executed and the scale she works in pushes the medium even further.

Artist: Eliza Barnes

Title: “Melbourne”

Judge’s Comments: The judges loved Eliza’s quirky and creative approach.