28 September 2022

Art prize winners announced as Eurobodalla's River of Art festival kicks off

| Katrina Condie
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Two abstract painting side by side

Freya Job’s two winning pieces Lightning Strike and Firestorm. Photo: River of Art Festival.

Freya Job’s 2022 River of Art Prize-winning works were inspired by the Black Range Fire, which ignited during the Black Summer Bushfires.

Freya’s works were celebrated during the opening of the 10-day River of Art Festival, which will see more than 100 artistic events held across the Eurobodalla region until 25 September.

She used acrylic and pastel on paper to create two abstract works – Lightning Strike and Firestorm. Both are abstract, striking, and hauntingly beautiful.

The judges were drawn to the pieces for the spontaneity of their execution and the way they addressed the bushfire’s impact on the environment and the lasting memories of the affected communities.

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The second award went to Angela Ratten for Twirling, a three-dimensional ceramic piece made from porcelain and black clay. Judges admired the play of light on the delicate piece and its form and style.

Highly commended was awarded to Lizette Richards for Lemon Biscuits, a detailed, three-dimensional work featuring the recipe itself.

Festival chair Leanne Joyce encouraged folks to drop by Bay Pavilions to view the 29 finalists before the Festival concluded on September 25.

“It’s a very diverse exhibition from a highly talented field that includes visual arts as well as sculptures and installations,” she said.

“It demonstrates again the quality and commitment of artists in our region, and its ability to inspire artists from further afield.”

artwork with bronze buttons and fabric

‘Lemon-Biscuits’ by Lizette Richards. Photo: River of Art Festival.

The winning artist received $2000, $250 went to the runner up and $80 to highly commended.

Forty-one artists entered a total of 53 works, with the 29 finalists on display at Bay Pavilions in Batemans Bay for the duration of the Festival.

Artists hailed from Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and the South Coast, submitting a range of works as they examined the themes of the Black Summer Fires, COVID lockdown, the environment and exploring who we are as people, individuals and communities.

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Leanne thanked the judges, South East Arts executive director Andrew Gray and Australian Girls Own Gallery (aGOG) founder, art valuer and curator Helen Maxwell OAM.

“Andrew is an inspiring advocator for the arts as is Helen,” she said.

“Helen has also curated the exquisite The Nesting Season group exhibition at the Durras Progress Hall, and it’s one not to be missed during the Festival.

Three sculptured vases

Twirling by Angela Ratten. Photo: River of Art.

“Overall, they were delighted by the diversity of mediums and artistic style and pleased that artists continue to be inspired by our environment and how we interact, play and at times, survive in it.”

The Bay Pavilions are at 12 Vesper Street, Batemans Bay and open 6 am to 9 pm Monday to Friday, 7 am to 7 pm Saturday and Sunday and 8 am to 6 pm on public holidays.

The final works will also be on the River of Art website.

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