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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Mullumbimby painter wins Border Art Prize

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Detail of Robyn Sweaney's Oasis, oil on linen. Photo contributed
Detail of Robyn Sweaney’s Oasis, oil on linen. Photo contributed

Acclaimed artist Euan Macleod announced the winning works in the 2016 Border Art Prize at the official opening of the exhibition at the Tweed Regional Gallery on Friday.

Euan was impressed by the ‘variety of media, styles and subjects all handled with enthusiasm and passion’. As he walked around the exhibition, surrounded by the viewing public, he noted that gallery visitors ‘were really engaged with the work’.

Mullumbimby artist Robyn Sweaney was awarded the $3,000 first prize in the regional art award for her oil on linen painting Oasis, depicting a suburban house, a subject for which she is well known. First prize is funded by Tweed Shire Council.

‘This beautifully painted work shows an ordered vision which on continued viewing becomes unsettling,’ Euan Macleod said.

The Border Art Prize is a joint initiative of Tweed Regional Gallery and Gold Coast City Gallery to support the endeavours of artists living and working in the NSW north coast and south east Queensland. The award shows both 2D and 3D works covering a wide variety of subjects, as entrants aren’t required to work to a theme. The prize attracts a wide variety of styles from both well-known and emerging artists, reflecting the region’s lively artistic community.

Zom Osborne from Federal won the $1,500 second prize – funded by the Friends of the Gallery – with Swan Sisters, an evocative and detailed acrylic on wood. Ocean Shores entrant Sean Connors was awarded third prize, also funded by the Friends of the Gallery for his acrylic painting Dawn’s early light. The judge noted that all three winners displayed ‘complete mastery of materials and subject matter, used to evoke a sense of mystery’.

In addition to these awards, local artist and teacher Shirley Kennedy provides funds for Encouragement Awards, which she selects in consultation with the gallery’s director, Susi Muddiman OAM.

These awards reflect the variety of media in the exhibition with the two $500 awards recognising Unearthed, a large ceramic vessel by Ruth Park of Wollongbar and Wooyung Valley, a lush oil painting in earth tones by Andrew Hmelnitsky from Casuarina. The two $250 awards were to drawings by Emma Jewry of Pumpenbil for her mixed media Sitting woman and Laura Tate from Mullumbimby for Mynd.

Shirley commended the exhibition for its good representation of both 2D and 3D works. She also acknowledged the artists who were not selected for exhibition and urged ‘never ever give up… persevere and you will break through’.

Around 400 people turned out to attend the opening of this exciting exhibition, which was officially opened by Tweed Shire councillor Warren Polglase. Cr Polglase highlighted the parity of entrant numbers from Gold Coast and Tweed Shire demonstrating the importance of the Border Art Prize as a cross-border event.

The exhibition of 279 of entries is on display at Tweed Regional Gallery until Sunday July 10.

The Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm and admission is free.

 


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