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Ron Nysztor and the Minnawarra Art Awards

Curated by Ron Nyisztor the Minnawarra Art Awards offer a sense of prestige to the local art community.  It is good to see that so many local artists applied to enter the Awards this year! Ron Nysztor gave a talk about how he came to arrange and curate the exhibition on Wednesday the 6th of May. About 30 ASA members attended.  As he talked we got a sense of what he felt when he chose the exhibition pieces and the story behind some of the works. It was a fascinating look at how an exhibition like this comes together.

He chose pieces based on the story behind the piece as well as its aesthetic values. The story behind “Paterson’s Curse”, a rock covered in a patchwork of brightly coloured rhinestones, was very interesting as the artist Carla Adams connects her piece to her grandmother who was a gypsy and the farm property in Forrestdale where she grew up. “Her work incorporates sculpture, textiles, craft practices, painting, drawing, research and book-making to navigate the complexities of relationships from an embodied, female perspective.”

Other pieces such as “Natural Prototype” by Megan Shaw were included because Nysztor thought the materials created a thoughtful dialogue of why and how it came to be. The surprise and curious questioning about its creation and existence is immediately apparent as the viewer is confronted by Pink expanding foam, mottled carpet underlay and a green Perspex or glass panel held up by an aluminium chain. “Megan Shaw is a sculptor/painter primarily fuelled by the devastating allure of the everyday; re-working found materials and commonplace items into playful, colourful, and textural compositions to re-awaken new feelings of wonder and allure with the quotidian.” a quote from part of her bio on the Cool Change Contemporary Gallery website. Megan had an exhibition there last year.

The video by Annette Peterson is a series of oil paintings painted plein air and then joined together in the video to create what looks like a hover drone film of a suburban street or what you would see if you drove through that street from the car. The lighting, colours and skill in it are fabulous but not immediately apparent as it is so realistic looking. Ron Nysztor explained that in her current exhibition at another gallery the oil paintings themselves have a great presence when you see them in person and would contribute greatly to the impact of the video if they were present. “Peterson, who grew up in Perth, is most influenced by changes in light and atmosphere on everyday suburban street scenes, especially the suburban drive.”  

It was definitely surprising to learn that Matthew Wright’s piece “Habitat” was not a digital photo collage but painstakingly hand painted. What interested Ron Nysztor about this piece was the suggestion of habitation through the collaged scene without actual representation of people in it.  Matthew Wright had an exhibition at Linton and Kay gallery last year and in his bio for the gallery he explains that he investigates habitat and personal space within the urban environment. Wright

These are just snippets of the entire talk. There were some interesting stories and discussion about many more pieces and their artists. If you go and have a look I recommend reading the plaques under the works in the exhibition and learn what the pieces are made of as some of the materials are surprising and awe inspiring. They range from traditional mediums of etching, monoprinting and paintings to digital prints, intricate carvings or even 3D printed busts! The exhibition pieces really vary in medium and scope. The Minnawarra Art Awards Exhibition is well worth a look as it is inspiring in its variety of mediums and wide range of artistic expression. It made me look at my own work from a new perspective. What story am I telling?

As part of the Armadale Arts Festival the Minnawarra Art Awards exhibition will run until the 16th of May. 

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