April 2018 | Antonia Howarth-Wass
OF THE 400+ paintings submitted to the Glover Art Prize, Australia’s most prestigious landscape award, just 42 were hung in the Falls Pavilion at Evandale, in this its 15th year.
The Glover was curated this year by Megan Dick and judged by Dr Jane Deeth, Natalia Bradshaw and Tony Stephens, who, together, represent a wealth of experience in the visual arts.
Visitors were treated to a varied feast of landscape interpretation which was “political, engaging, intriguing and sometimes challenging but always beautiful”, according to the Chairman of The John Glover Society Inc, Andrew Heap.
Described as both a national and international event, this year the winner was Halinka Orszulok from NSW who painted a fantastical playground at Cataract Gorge called Ponies. It is a mysterious image of dark nighttime, highlighted by strong artificial light that makes for moodiness and strong contrasts belonging “to neither nature nor culture”.
The variety in this exhibition was noticeable in its diversity of place and time through history and aboriginal contact, and included shorelines and seascape, the Central Highlands, Frenchman’s Cap, and Savage River amongst other Tasmanian landmarks.
The Glover has become synonymous with images as ideas using a wide range of materials, mediums and painting styles and “no pretty pictures”.
True to form, there were spaces in line and colour on plexiglass, fish nets, shapes in resin formed into a tree and tractor tracks on a local farm, unmistakeable geology, and a rocky shore in digital print on aluminium.
Yet there were two standout pictures which received High Commendation. The Hanger’s Choice was a beautiful, glossy and lustrous image of native vegetation called Correa Alba which shifts the focus on the minutiae of landscape from scientific documentation to a more poetic realm. It is a small section of earth in transparent oils which shines like a pre-Raphaelite image in a very romantic and nuanced way. The artist Kylie Elkington was keen to make much of the changing face of landscape since European settlement and she attracted much attention and admiration for her work.
Another Highly Commended work, this time by Nicholas Blowers, was also The People’s Choice. A very large work in oils on canvas called Savage Entropy, it was impossible to ignore the state of collapse of vegetation creating a spikey and intrepid scene along the banks of the Savage River. This picture was a clear favourite amongst viewers of all ages.
Overall, a wonderful event. Evandale has done it again.