Contemporary Art Society of Victoria Inc

Annual Exhibition 2010 - Review

Judge: Geoffrey Bartlett

Members and friends enjoyed a convivial and exciting social gathering as they joined to celebrate the opening of the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria Annual Exhibition for 2010 at Gallery 314. This gallery proved to be a light filled and spacious venue for the exhibiting of eighty varied and creative works of art. The guest judge, Geoffrey Bartlett, commented upon the very high standard of work members had entered, a standard reflecting the professionalism of each individual’s art practice. Art works exhibited were undertaken in oil, acrylic, mixed media, collage, sculpture of bronze and ceramic and other eclectic materials.

The annual exhibition provides a platform for members, both established and emerging artists, to display their creativity in a wide variety of styles and media representing Australian Contemporary Art Practice.

1st Prize - total $1,100

Chroma Australia Winner’s choice from Archival Oils and Atelier Interactive Artists’ Acrylics ranges, total value $400; Faber-Castell - wooden box set of Faber-Castell Polychromos Pastels and box of artists' pens, total value $600.

The First Prize was awarded to Brigitta Wolfram for a large mixed media work  ‘Corruption Cannot Touch Him’. The judge’s comments were as follows – an innovative use of material, using photographic montage, with skilful application of paint in subsequent layering. The work displayed a spontaneity and freshness, also a strong composition, holding the frame very well. The work shows a particular sophistication in use of colour, level of complexity and density of detail when observed closely and yet simplicity of form when viewed from afar. Congratulations to Brigitta Wolfram.

First Prize: Corruption Cannot Touch Him by Brigitta Wolfram


2nd Prize - total $900

Chroma Australia Winner’s choice from Archival Oils and Atelier Interactive Artists’ Acrylics ranges, total value $400; Gemel Art Supplies - a voucher for winner’s choice of stretched canvases, total value $400.

Second prize was awarded to ceramicist Jill M. Anderson for the ceramic earthenware teapot titled ‘De-Sal Seaweed Tea Teapot’. The judge commented that this work was a delightfully beautiful and innovative work regarding use of material along with a strikingly lovely complex use of glazing. Both quirky and bizarre with a difficulty in interpretation but a work which offers the viewer little clues. ‘De-Sal Seaweed Tea Teapot’ offers an ambiguity in interpretation which leaves the viewer with a feeling of uncertainty. Congratulations to Jill M. Anderson on her achievement.

Second Prize: De-Sal Seaweed Tea Teapot by Jill M. Anderson


3rd Prize - total $700

Micador Australia - a selection of Roymac brushes & other Roymac art materials, total value $400; Global Colours - a selection of Global Colours artists' acrylics and mediums, total value $200.

Third Prize was awarded to George Eustice for ‘Domestic Scene’, a painting using oil on Masonite. The Judge commented that this work was painted in a charming manner, not laboured over and with a freshness and economy in brush strokes.

Forms in the work are precise and clear when viewed from afar and start to become more abstract when viewed from close up. There is an edginess achieved in the off centred placement of the chair. Congratulations George.

Third Prize: Domestic Scene by George Eustice


4th Prize – total $600

Winsor & Newton - a selection of Winsor & Newton art materials, including paints, mediums, artists' books. and visual diaries, total value $500.

Fourth Prize went to Joy Elizabeth Lea for a mixed media work on paper titled ‘Warburton Winter’. The judge described this work as having two layers of interpretation- a tight close-up of dense and complex landscape that becomes a beautiful abstract with a nice drawing quality. Joy’s comments concerning this work were as follows,  ‘The wild places of the Central Highlands of  Victoria inform this recent work painted on site using acrylic and mixed media. My art practice is inspired by the personal experience of immersing myself in nature where I am able to express my feelings with the use of line, tone, colour and form’.

Fourth Prize: Warburton Winter by Joy Elizabeth Lea


Special Prize for Most Innovative Use of Materials - total $500

Micador Australia - a selection of Roymac brushes & other Roymac art materials, total value $400.

Robert Lee was awarded a Special Prize for the Most innovative Use of Materials for a sculptural work ‘Perseverance’ using high tensile galvanised coated steel wire and matt black enamel paint. The judge commented that this was a very strong work and would look striking against a white wall. The work displayed both an innovative complex yet simple multi level interpretation. ‘Perseverance’ occupies its space and is gentle in the way it approaches the spectator.


Special Prize for the Most innovative Use of Materials: Perseverance by Robert Lee


A Special Encouragement Award – a $400.00 cash prize from Dame Elizabeth Murdoch – was awarded to Nick Dell’Oso for his photographic work titled ‘Light Streams’. The judge commented that this work was the most interesting photograph in the exhibition with its innovative use of photographic technique. Ambiguous, it is almost a drawing- not clear that it is a photograph till it is observed.

Special Encouragement Award:  Light Streams by Nick Dell’Oso


There were four works that the Judge recognised as Highly Commended.

‘Spirit Vessel’ a mixed media work by Dawn Cole. The judge commented that this work was reminiscent of drawings by Giacommetti and Henry Moore, showing a sculptural quality and limited depth of field.

Reminiscence 2, a bronze on a marble base, by Van Phu Le. The judge commented that there is an intensity of information recorded in such a tight space, an economy of form. There is nothing in this work that is without meaning. This was a beautifully competent bronze casting.

‘Rock Face at Dights Falls’, oil on linen by Peter McCurdy. Reminiscent of Cézanne, beautifully painted with a nice interpretation of the landscape were the judges comments.

‘Persian Roses’, acrylic on canvas by Sophie Skarbek. The judge commented that this was beautifully painted showing a sophistication of brushwork and palette as well as a well-constructed composition with a density of image.

Highly Commended:  Spirit Vessel by Dawn Cole

Highly Commended:  Reminiscence 2 by Van Phu Le

Highly Commended:  Rock Face at Dights Falls by Peter McCurdy


The exhibition though un-themed was professionally curated by Robert Lee and upon closer inspection a number of contemporary but unplanned themes emerged.  Social comment upon the current political environment of Australia was evident in works by Jill M. Anderson in her ceramic and metal chain teapot titled ‘Moving Forward (post Coup, Pre Election, Julia Series No. 4)’. Jill’s statement concerning this work is as follows ‘ Julia has definitely moved forward on the ship and is no longer reined in by Kevin and a Hopeful Tony who both appear to be sinking. She is still physically exposed by a media more interested in her gender role and appearance’.

Political work was evident in Michael Thomas  work titled, ‘Image of Australia from 3,020 km in Space’. Michael refers to the US cosmologist Carl Sagan and quotes him to define his work ‘There is no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of earth. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we know’.

Other works allude to the landscape, environmental issues, spiritual and emotional issues, often with themes overlapping as artists endeavour to merge their inner landscape with their outer physical offering of their art practice. Some of the works reflect an interpretation of the beauty and grandeur of the natural environment, such as the work by Margaret Gurney ‘Wide Brown Land’ painted in acrylic. Margaret’s comments concerning this work are as follows’ Flying over inland Australia in a small plane I was entranced by the shimmering colours, the heat, space, solitary, spiritual feel of my country. The dry riverbeds winding in sculptural dimension to the distance. These qualities inspired my painting’.

Crowds view the art at the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria's Annual Exhibition opening on 5 September 2010

Other works portrayed the ugliness and degradation wrought upon the environment by mankind in his various endeavours to live in our world as human beings, both in the physical and spiritual realm.  Elizabeth Watt produced a mixed media work titled ‘Renewal’ which reflected a positive attitude towards the outcome of some of the environmental degradation that has been wrought upon our environment. Elizabeth, in her artist statement refers to ‘Environments created by humans are always at threat from the forces of nature, when humans abandon a site nature moves in to reclaim and gradually erode the presence of humans. My work reflects nature in the process of retrieval and restoration’.

This Annual Exhibition proved to be a successful and positive event for the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria and congratulations are offered to all members for producing such a varied and eclectic body of work during 2010.

Review by Joy E. Lea

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