Raquel Stevens

 A horse race might stop a nation, but it’s the Annual Rotary Daylesford Art Show that really gets a party started. Hundreds of art enthusiasts packed the Town Hall last night to celebrate 40 years of good cheer for the Community Bank Daylesford District Awards Night.

It’s affordable art at its best.  More than 200 paintings were on display, highlighting the exceptional talent of our region’s artists. A percentage of the sale price of each painting sold during the Show supports Rotary projects in the community.  In addition to the paintings, quilts, sculpture, bonsai and pottery were also showcased.

Art lovers were treated to a wonderful performance by the Hepburn Players and Soloist Tim Drylie.  Behind the scenes in the kitchen, Deputy Mayor, Lesley Hewitt was working with a team of volunteers, providing some delicious country cuisine.  The sumptuous selection was served up by students from Daylesford Secondary College.

Judges for the Art Show this year were Kim Percy and Morgan Williams, co-directors of Radius Art Space.

With his standout piece, “A sticky situation”,  the Best in Show was awarded to young artist Geordie Gem Williamson. The 16 year old was blown away by the win, “I’m in shock.  It’s crazy. It’s only my second oil painting.”

Geordie says the painting is about being a teenager, “it’s about discomfort and feeling trapped a little bit.  The sticky tape was metaphorical and looked cool. It means a lot to me.”

Geordie was the winner of the Youth Prize at last year’s Art Show and also won the Animalia prize in this years Show.


Winners in each category, with comments by Kim and Morgan

Winner: Still Life

Roger Roberts ‘Still Life with Red Cabbage’

Still life can often be very ‘still’ yet this work has movement and energy. The loose, flowing brush strokes ask the viewer to consider the painting as an active process. The vibrant colours transform the humble cabbage into a celebration of life, with the cyan blue highlights jumping out of the deep, warm hues catching our eye and drawing us further into the forms.

Winner: Abstract

Marina Chamberlain ‘The Mystique of Blue’

Traditionally abstract invites the viewer to leave the recognisable and to travel into a space of emotive response. The layering of blues in this work creates a sense of something being revealed like a dream, possibly only half remembered yet the delicate pencil lines create pathways for the viewer to follow over and across the surface. This work is both gentle and poetic.

Winner: Animalia

Geordie ‘Gem’ Williamson ‘Mr Citrus’

Who hasn’t met a rooster who stares us down like Mr Citrus. When gazing at the articulation of line and tone upon the paper, we could easily forget that the marks were made by hand. It’s exquisite detail describes long sharp wing feathers against soft downy belly fluff, all beautifully composed upon white space.

Winner: Central Victoria Landscape

Toby Hudson ‘Into the Woods’

The woods hold mystery and this work asks the viewer to drift down the track to a place unknown yet so familiar. The trees daintily stretch up reminding us of the Australian Art Nouveau artist Sidney Long. But it isn’t just the misty landscape that is so strange, there are marks or letters embedded onto the surface that are discoverable for those who spend the time to contemplate & dig deeper into the landscape.

Winner: Seascape, Urbanscape, Landscape

Matthew Petrucci ‘Vista Along Tipperary Track’

Bright hues create this abstracted landscape, trees trunks appear almost torn through the paint rather than placed on top with a brush. The warm tones peer through the sky blue mountains in the distance. Gold and orange vibrates against purple, against the iridescent green. This work is a festa of colour and asks the viewer to reconsider the landscape.

Winner: Portrait

Rodney Edelsten ‘Friday Portrait’

Friday Portrait shares multiple perspectives, telling us a simple story of a man sitting with his cane . His age is indeterminate as the white hair implies elderly yet his eyes are young. The use of pastel has a painterly quality which suggests a modernist era.

Winner: Children

Amelia Ruzeu ‘Jedna Hruska’

The beautiful pear leaf curls against the body of the fruit, this work demonstrates technical craft – a subtle loosening of the brushstroke shows a creative potential to further explore painting. There is also something intimate about the size of this work, like a heart that can be held in the hand.

Winner: Emerging

Irma Zimmermann ‘Stolen Pomegranates’

A lovely composition, Stolen Pomegranates tells a simple story that is is familiar and takes the viewer back to a universal grandparents kitchen full of warmth and security.

Best in Show:

Geordie ‘Gem’ Williamson ‘Sticky Situation’

The moment that Morgan and I saw this work, we knew that it was the standout piece. Technically, it is wonderfully crafted with the blending of colour to create light and form, yet it is far more than that. The eyes gaze to the side connecting with something or someone beyond the canvas, with lips that are slightly pursed as if they are about to speak. The face has the obvious signs of teen-hood, both fresh and ravished by the hormones that we all have past through. But it is the addition of the glistening sticky tape wrapping around the head that asks us to question why. Is it over the face in play or as a barrier or mask to hide behind? Is it physically across their head or a metaphor for the awkward situations that we have all experienced when we were young? This painting is eloquent, playful, and beautifully executed.

The exhibition at the Daylesford Town Hall is open to the public from Friday, November 3rd through to Tuesday, November 7th. Entry is free.

Raquel Stevens is a former Network Ten News Journalist. She has been a part time local for more than 25 years, and one day hopes to be a full time local.