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Second prize winner: Leonie Lyall

Prize donor George Vergotis, Blackheath Automotive Services

President Adele Bruens

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Prizegiving photographs by Gary Levin

Judge’s  Comments

Open exhibitions are always a marvel to behold and always a difficult task to pass judgement on. There were at least a dozen works that fitted well into the three major awards and the final selections were some of the most difficult I have ever encountered. I was delighted to see so many artists paying great attention to how media behaves differently as it attempts to portray or render different observations or situations.

I was particularly impressed with the degree of confidence I encountered in the telling of stories (narratives, dreams, thoughts, observations) both through memory or imagination as well as through the visceral experience of having conversations with inanimate objects, especially those design to communicate shared ideas and experiences.

There was an engaging mix between traditional approaches to making art and those that bring adventure and surprise (but not always confident execution).

I wish to congratulate and thank all of the BAS members who exhibited their work and I wish you all the best in the development and appreciation of your art. You have no way of knowing who may be influenced by something you have bought to life but, be assured, art can change the way we see the world, see ourselves in the world and see the world within ourselves.

Bruce Holmes: Road Through Peel Oil

First Prize: Road Through Peel

Artist: Bruce Holmes: 

Medium: Oil

Judge’s comments:

When I first looked at this painting, it positioned itself somewhere between early Lloyd Rees and Brett Whiteley.  It shares a common sensibility between Lloyd Rees’s paintings of the Southern Highlands and Whiteley’s views of the Central West. This is a picture that I wanted to step into. The ground, the fields, the nooks and the cranny’s; they all invite you to wander in sure footed confidence. Even the blood red sky brings truth of observation. There is nothing slick about the application of the paint but there is a consistency of brush work that renders the conviction of the artists observations.

Leonie Lyall: Ranges of Time Oil

Second Prize;  Ranges of Time 

Artist: Leonie Lyall

Medium: Oil

Judge’s comments:

This work is a landscape of dreams, of ages, of classicism and of desire. It expresses our universal desire to stand attention before nature and raise our heads in awe. It attempts to portray the best of our intentions, of our abilities and of our search for meaning both far and near. There is a unifying force throughout this picture, brought about by the very close adjacency of both mark making and tonal contrast.  The composition succeeds in taking the eye from place to place, from foreground to mountain ridge, from sky to earth. I must admit to wanting to view this work without the reflective glass, to enable the medium to to its work completely.

Alfred Blakers: Callala Beach Walkway Oil

Highly Commended : Callala Beach Walkway

Artist: Alfred Blakers

Medium: Oil

Judge’s comments: 

A quiet work that almost conceals a confidence in mark-marking that confirms each articulated space from near to far. The occasional precise mark, laid onto others merely scratches and scumbles suggest both forward motion and the searing light (and heat?) ahead. This is another work that invites you to step inside its relaxed nature.

Peter Burger: Three Pears Oil on board

Highly Commended: Three Pears

Artist: Peter Burger

Medium: Oil on board

Judge’s comments: 

This painting evoked fond memories of Modernism’s desire to circle around every known object and subject them to a critical gaze from multiple viewpoints. It’s ability to parody itself was one of its most endearing virtues and here we see 3 pears dancing on a tabletop that, in turn, is dancing in a room where curtains waltz in the breeze and light dallies in every void.

Helen Hudson: Sunlit Gums - Blue Mountains Acrylic

Highly Commended: Sunlit Gums – Blue Mountains

Artist: Helen Hudson

Medium:  Acrylic

Judge’s comments:  

The artist demonstrates a sublime understanding of a medium capable of itself revealing the sublime, in this instance, the astounding environment that surrounds and supports us all. she demonstrates how delicate brushstrokes can both illustrate and define as well as evoke and envelope.

Thierry Ollivain: Le Plein Photograph

Highly Commended: Le Plein

Artist: Thierry Ollivain

Medium: Photograph

Judge’s comments:  

A fully resolved photograph both technically and a tour de force of composition of an uninhabited habitable place.  An image that the viewer can have an endless and extensive conversation with.

Roman Balla: The Accident, The Airwaves Photomontage on Art paper

Commended: The Accident, The Airwaves 

Artist:  Roman Balla

Medium: Photomontage on Art paper

Judge’s comments: 

This letter box view reads like a stream of time. It flirts with our struggle to recognise the subject matter and simply spins us backwards and forwards through its violent and furious light.

Natasha Daniloff: Kanimbla 2 Oil

Commended: Kanimbla 2

Artist: Natasha Daniloff

Medium: Oil

Judge’s comments: 

This picture demonstrates how paint can be pushed around with great gusto to enable colour-mixing to trick the eye into imagining that light is actually emanating from the paint itself. It demonstrates great confidence and not a modicum of fun in pushing boundaries and teasing out both possibilities and surprising accidents.

June Fiford: Stitched Connections 1 Embroidery

Commended: Stitched Connections 1 

Artist:  June Fiford

Medium:  Embroidery

Judge’s comments: 

This work demonstrates how patience, diligence and attention to detail can mix with subtle colour design and asymmetrical compositional tensions to produce a miniature garden of such visual delight. This work requires close inspection and quiet contemplation. The variation of mark making are a joy to behold.

Julie Martin Descent, Photograph

Commended: Descent

Artist:Julie Martin

Medium: Photograph

Judge’s comments: 

An image that resurrects the dynamic quality of early hand-painted and colour photography expressing deep saturation of hue and maximum tonal contrast. The subject itself is a myriad of natural and man-hewn textured interventions that combine to illuminate the human gaze on both nature and itself.

Larissa Ollivain: Calico Cat Drawing

Commended: Calico Cat

Artist: Larissa Ollivain

Medium: Drawing

Judge’s comments: 

A lively drawing of a somewhat cheeky looking cat rendered with confidence and with a little cheek as well.  The cheekiness of the drawing is its insistence that we confront the cat squarely in its domineering eyes and allow it to question us, rather then the other way around.

Lucinda Strauss: Uluru Pastel on paper


Artist: Lucinda Strauss

Medium:  Pastel on paper

Judge’s comments: 

The marks made by dragging this chalky media across the nap of a hand-made paper, traps its own history and mimics the density of the face of one of the world’s greatest natural formations. The scale of the wall is sufficiently identified by the trees outlined in the bottom of the frame and we are left to contemplate a surface formed by weather rendered through a surface formed by grains of coloured earth.

Lilianne Ivins: Portrait of Lost Hills Oil on wood

Encouragement Award for first time exhibitor: Portrait of Lost Hills 
Artist: Lilianne Ivins
Medium: Oil on wood  

Judge’s Comments

When I first looked at this work I was troubled by shape but I then remembered that the conventional shape of paintings is a reflection of architectural features, of which the triangle is a defining form. Nevertheless, this is a very difficult shape for an artist to work within and one that is rarely used for landscape painting. In this case, however, the artist rose to the challenge and forced the landscape to abide by the strict conventions of its truncated form. The composition threads the viewer’s eyes towards the distance and the detail found along the way satisfies our need to navigate our way along it’s misty paths.

Helen Hudson: Grazing at Olinda, Acrylic

The People’s Choice (shared): Grazing at Olinda
Artist: Helen Hudson
Medium: Acrylic

Annie Joseph: Before the Storm on the Western Plains, Watercolour

The People’s Choice (shared):  Before the Storm on the Western Plains
Artist: Annie Joseph
Medium: Watercolour