Gosford Art Prize

The Gosford Art Prize 2016

To begin with I have to comment on the surprise I had when I visited Gosford Regional Gallery and saw a dedicated space for a shop on my left and to my right a bustling cafe. Oh and then you walk out into the gardens and it is an oasis. Yes it’s been a while since I’ve been there but my reaction was immediate and targeted. What is happening in Newcastle? Our gallery struggles to do anything with a hostile community and obvious disinterest at the government level. When the past week has seen funds handed out to hockey and basketball associations in the local area you have to start noticing where the money is being funnelled to. Sport is the obsession and there’s nothing wrong with that (though it is a tad boring).  But we’re a wealthy nation so surely we can have both…

Anyway to the art. There is an abundance. And the standard is terrific. Stand outs were aplenty and of course my choices don’t generally line up with the judges when it comes to these prizes and this one is no exception. There were many familiar names floating about with present and past teachers and students of the Newcastle Art School amongst them. To choose only a few works for this post was difficult and I’ve concentrated on paintings which seems to be my inclination.

However I will be posting more to my Facebook page in the coming week. Click the link below to check  it out.


Gosford Art Prize closes 4th December.


Artist: Wendy Bills

Title: The natural History Illustrator… A Portrait of Rita Kurpiewski

Medium: oil on canvas

Price: $1500




Artist: Peter Smeeth

Title: Little Miss NO!

Medium: oil on canvas

Price: NFS



Artist: Dana Dion

Title: Early Evening Walk

Medium: drawing medium and acrylic on paper

Price: $4200

Merewether ~ a transition


If you only get to see one exhibition over the next few days make it Dino Consalvo’s at Gallery 139 Hamilton. It’s simple to fall into these images and feel the atmosphere. The muted tones appeal and I rather like the scratching into wet paint to identify line. It closes Saturday.


So much movement. You can sense the moment and know it’s only fleeting.


It’s the composition that captures my attention. Also I love the familiarity. Any Novocastrian knows where this is. Memories of sport days back at high school come to mind.


Materiality Performed.

Maitland served up the goods yesterday while we waited patiently for a son to liven the cross fit crowd of Thornton with a few lively beats. We departed the Lycra clad scene and found a  pleasant little cafe in The Levee called Lavenders Riverside where we soaked up the atmosphere (literally) before we headed off to Maitland Regional. I had no idea what was on at the gallery which is generally my way of seeing art. But this gallery never disappoints. There’s always some out of the way nook to probe that will deliver. And yesterday was no exception.

Impressed is one word I’d use to describe my reaction to Braddon Snape’s manipulated steel sculptures. I’d seen this innovative technique of his at a group show previously, but it just didn’t have the impact it has as a body of work in Maitland’s great space where spotlights are directed onto each piece. It’s worth taking the time to watch the video installed just outside of the exhibition room to see the inflation of a flat featureless piece of steel transform into a work of art. Fascinating.

So if you’re up Maitland way in the near future make a beeline to the gallery. Finishes 6th November.


No not a piece of scrunched foil.


These are so tempting to touch (but I didn’t). Having said that though it was like Camp Runamok at the gallery yesterday. A bit of touching going on there. Must be new age hipster parenting. 


Suspended and out of reach. 


Newcastle Viva


A great little drawing David. So quick and lively.


Newcastle Viva

I know this is a little contrary to the standards expected in a particular profession, but I don’t think Blogs really adhere to expected standards. That’s perhaps why they’re a little more popular than news print I gather. Anyway I’m going to plug an exhibition that I’m appearing in at present without shame. It’s our drawing groups first foray into the world of exhibiting (that is together, each of us have exhibited many times).

Our Newcastle Viva show includes 5 artists, David Rose being the principle coordinator and all round good guy of the group. We began sketching a few years back to maintain drawing skills after we left art school. It’s a fun way to get about and see the various icons both natural and man made in Newcastle. And we always find plenty of time for a chat! Nevertheless we do leave each session with a sense of the environment and with information to work up into finished pieces. I have gathered an image from each of the artists’ below. So I hope you can make it in to Alchemy Art Space, 488 Hunter St Newcastle before we close on the 6th Oct. Also note we’re open each weekend 1-4pm.


This piece is by artist Gina McDonald. Like all of her work it is pensive and quiet. This piece is a favourite of mine.


Mine. Abstract and colourful. Well I do love colour.


Newcastle City Hall by Robyn Culley. Capturing the city in rejuvenation mode. Let’s hope the next building Robyn draws in this state of adjustment is the Post Office. One can only dream. Nice drawing Robyn.


This wonderful sketch is by Shane Audrins. Her attention to detail is inspiring. Oh to have the patience! 


I can’t help being drawn to Back to Back Gallery in Bull St Cooks Hill. It’s the casual suburban feel I suppose not to mention it’s great art (and I regularly am walking past). Anyway its latest exhibition is “Enchanted”, and a group of ceramicists have come up with childhood imaginings. It finishes Sunday 25th September. Here are a couple of pieces I found rather inspiring by the artist Heather Campbell.


There is a haunting nature to these pieces of art. Like with all the best literature in childhood the creepy and mysterious are the ones that shine. Think Roald Dahl and his oeuvre. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory comes to mind where the prettiness and temptation of the sweets beat disturbingly against the eerie depths of the characters. Oh of course except for the ever gracious Charlie and his grandfather. Long live Gene Wilder for bringing Willy Wonka to the screen in such a glorious and compelling way. But I’ve gone a little off track here.  These pieces work  in the same manner, both visually appealing  yet also flourishing with weird fantasy. Does anyone feel there is a Charles Blackman style to them? I’m think his Alice series, again creepy and fantastic.