More than 200 dignitaries, artists and guests joined Councillor Jenny McKay for the official opening and winner announcement of the 2015 Sunshine Coast Art Prize Two Dimensional Award at Caloundra Regional Gallery on Friday, September 4.
Cr McKay, who is Sunshine Coast Council's Community Programs Portfolio Councillor, said the Sunshine Coast Art Prize Two Dimensional Award was a cultural initiative of Council and the annual signature arts event for the region.
"As one of the richest regional art awards in Australia, the Sunshine Coast Art Prize has consistently attracted great interest and the highest of standards amongst 400 Two Dimensional entries received from all over the nation," Cr McKay said.
"The Sunshine Coast Art Prize has certainly made its mark on the national arts calendar."
Cr McKay said it was an honor to welcome artists and guests to Caloundra Regional Gallery – the home of the Sunshine Coast Art Prize.
"Each year we see a high level of creative talent that is certainly impressive and that talent is a challenge to the judge to select two winners from the 40 finalists," she said.
"We are extremely fortunate to have secured Australian artist Amanda Parer to judge the prestigious Sunshine Coast Art Prize Two Dimensional Award."
Amanda Parer said she was looking for artworks that had meaning or significance beyond the visual.
"In addition to how it looks, it might also speak to a greater or nobler mission, philosophy, cause, shared life experience or ideal", she said.
"I might have looked for the artist's courage to bring in the personable."
Amanda said it was a pleasure to announce Victorian artist, Robert Fenton's Item #1770, Florilegium as the winner of the Sunshine Coast Art Prize Two Dimensional Award.
"I chose this oil on linen on board artwork because all the elements that have been placed by the artist give the piece strength and quality that allows the viewer's imagination to extend beyond what is there in the four edges of the frame," she said.
"This work achieves relevance on personal, public, contemporary and historical levels through its efficient professional execution.
"This work has a filmic quality about it. There is no visual record of Sir Joseph Banks and his team of naturalists aboard James Cook's Endeavour in 1768-1771, and even though the image of this work is just of a coded specimen that Banks has collected it succeeds to conjure up the world around the botanist at that time but interestingly in a contemporary way.
"Item #1770, Florilegium can be worthy in any collection but I am particularly happy that it will be acquired into the Sunshine Coast Art Collection because of its direct relevance to the region."
Robert received a $15,000 cash prize and $5000 artist residency at Montville Country Cabins.
Amanda Parer awarded the Sunshine Coast Art Prize Two Dimensional Award Highly Commended prize to local artist Jamie Rochester from Parrearra for her paper cutting artwork entitled We Made Eye Contact for a Split Second.
"This work successfully captures that moment we experience many times a day without thinking much about it, making eye contact with a passer-by," she said.
"An experience seemingly mundane but Rochester has stopped us and asked us to think further upon this.
"Through deliberate placement of elements the artist allows us to extend into our memories and relive moments like these and question ourselves.
"A successful and thought-provoking piece and I look forward to seeing Jamie Rochester's future works."
Jamie received $5000 cash prize award sponsored by the Proost-De Deyne family.
Amanda also commended local artist Robyn Hills for her artwork Waiting in a Kombi at Moffat Beach and Erika Gofton from Victoria for her Liminal artwork.
The People's Choice prize of $2500, sponsored by the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce, will be awarded to the artist who gathers the most public votes.
Art lovers can vote for their favourite artwork in the Two Dimensional Award by visiting Caloundra Regional Gallery or Council's gallery website to be in the running to win a fantastic range of prizes.
The 40 finalists' artworks will be on display at Caloundra Regional Gallery until October 11.
Join in the Sunshine Coast Art Prize conversation by following Sunshine Coast Council on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don't forget to use the hashtags #sunshinecoastcouncil and #sunshinecoastartprize.
Caloundra Regional Gallery is owned and operated by Sunshine Coast Council and is located at 22 Omrah Avenue and is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
To view the vibrant and inspiring Sunshine Coast Art Prize program of events visit Council's Gallery website.
Sunshine Coast Regional Council
7th of September 2015