Monday, November 9, 2015

Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery - The Eutick Memorial Still Life Award 2015

The 9th Annual Eutick Memorial Still Life Award 2015 brings still life, to life.

Varied responses to the genre create a unique semblance to the melody of still life.  Sometimes symphonic, sometimes pop, a little bit of jazz and perhaps a nursery rhyme or two.  Collectively they share harmonious chords, and their resonance hums in the quiet contemplation of frozen moments embedded in canvas.

There are flowers, there are dolls, there are objects of love and desire, mystery and death.  Like racehorses in the Melbourne Cup the painting titles convey a stratum of cognition - 'Happy Whale Interior' ; Pantone Belief System'; 'The history of how contemporary art saved the world part 1, still life with flowers, iPhone and a hare'; 'The Fragility of Dreams'; 'Still life cloud arrangement'(sixtoeight guest reviewer Bernadette Trela); 'Maelstrom'; 'Heartland; 'The Conversation’ - and the winning title - 'Instant Crush'.

Yes the Winner of the 2015 EMSLA is Jonathan Crowther, with 'Instant Crush'.  It is an oil painting with a dimension of 183 x 137 cm, and is of a crushed instant takeaway container. "What was made for a purpose became discarded, no longer useful.  It was found, given a new purpose and the cycle of life continues", the artist statement cites.

Art Critic John McDonald and Director of the Grafton Regional Gallery Jude McBean were the esteemed judges.  In announcing the winner John told the anticipatory crowd that the decision was not easy, but the painting kept drawing them back, and the decision was made.

Like the drapes and folds of table linens from times before, the crumpled remnant of our disposable and restless life has become a symbol for stillness, serenity, beauty and contemplation. And so it is.

A painting of excellent technicality and dimensional reality, it's composition is tonally calming and harmonious.  As a chord it is a C minor, carrying past joy with a helping of melancholia.  As the name of a racehorse, Instant Crush, it is a favourite. 

As the 2015 Winner of the EMSLA it is resplendent. Congratulations Jonathan Crowther!

The prize for Best Regional Artist was given to Polly Wells, 'Indigo and Lemons'.

A Highly Commended was given to Peter O'Doherty for 'In the Sink'.

The EMSLA is a festival of not only still life, but also of fine musical and vocal performances held in the Gallery during the weekend.

A very worthy exhibition, visitation highly recommended.

Until next time, Happy Art Loving

Tammy Mills-Thom
Guest Reviewer

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