Author's Name: Tim and Kate Shierlaw
Date: Sat 11 Jan 2020

The Winning Artists

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If you would like to look at the winners of awards from this year's Victor Harbor Art Show click on the following link Preview gallery, then view by Prize Winners. Whilst you are there you can also look at the artworks that have sold.

The following is the Judge's notes on the winner of the Victor Harbor Art Prize:-

Jan Brown

The day my heater blew up and other things

 Judges Notes

This is a quiet work. A selection of objects. A still-life

At first look I was struck by the artists sense of humour. The broken fan… artists often work next to a strategically positioned heater - to save cost, but also due to the nature of an artists studio space - they are often freezing.

As our eye is lead around the composition from one object to the next, we start to form an idea of the type of person who owns this studio. We have been invited into the artists space. The studio. it is a personal space and also a space of vulnerability.  In everyday life, the objects we surround ourselves with become part of who we are, and in a way, can create a form of self-portrait.

Objects that are important to us are not just recalled as a photograph in our mind, we have memories of holding, using and moving around them. The composition of this work does not rely on traditional two point perspective. Instead it echoes this sense of moving in and around objects. It relates the sensation of focusing on an object with precise clarity then it becomes vague as we move away. This is expressed through areas of technical virtuosity (and I encourage you to look at Jan’s other works) that melt into the hazy abstraction of memory. The eye is lead around the canvas in a circular motion - resting on objects, and then invited to the next one - never getting bored, but also not visually overwhelmed.

As we look at the objects, the fan on the bottom right hand corner exhales a last puff of smoke. There is also a phone with a cracked screen, and flowers from a previous still life are starting to wilt. This is a world falling apart. Things break or fall apart and sometimes we feel helpless. But this composition holds this crumbling world together. It holds its integrity.

The purple colour in the smoke from the fan is echoed in the background glazes. There is a wonderful complexity to the layering of paint - some areas of almost exposed canvas contrasting with areas of deep luminosity.

At the centre of the composition is the artists palette. The centre of the artists world and is an object imbued with endless potential. (and I love the splash of blue on the pallet that melts down into the shadows of the green vase)

This still life tells a story of hope, when sometimes hope seems difficult. A sentiment that can resonate with us all at this time.

It is a fascinating and brave painting.  I encourage you all to spend some time with it. And I would like to congratulate Jan on her wonderful achievement.

Yvonne East

Judge - 2020 Victor Harbor Art Show


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