Arts in the Valley Visual Arts Show returned for a very successful four days over the October long weekend of 2016 at the Kangaroo Valley Hall in the heart of the Village.
Close to 40 artists exhibited 72 art works in all media – oil, acrylic, water colour, pastel, graphite, texta, screen prints, photography and mixed media. The exhibition was driven by an Art Committee of Larraine Hahlos, Sue Hansel, Dawn Daly and Belinda Webster OAM as artistic director and Gary Moore helping on the side. The show was organised and curated by well-known artist and former Shoalhaven Councillor, Alan Baptist, and was graced by an official opening by Alice Oppen, OAM.
A large majority of the works dealt with nature, not surprising for the Valley. Works ranged from photorealism through impressionism to abstraction, and included photography (not always photorealistic) and mixed media. Many works had a deep attention to detail and draughtsmanship, with a fine treatment of light, and rendered beautifully, like Jocelyn Pitman’s acrylic “Under the Bridge”, Leah Parrish’s “Spinning Hill Farm” in pencil graphite and Susan Hansel’s “Magpie Mafia” in texta. Fewer works were abstracts like Jo Novich’s “Emerald City” and Carla Jackett’s “Burnt Ember”, and others abstract based on nature like Jim Birkett’s mixed-media “Embedded in the Land” series and Brian Graham’s pastels “Upper River Cliffs” and “Fitzroy Falls Cliff Faces”. There were also a number of brilliant photographs, beautifully curated amongst the other pieces, like Colin Talbot’s surreal “Symphony” and “Nightmare”.
Comments at the opening and during the weekend highlighted the new modular LED track lighting (thanks to Mike Gorman) and the excellent curation by Alan Baptist, both enhancing the quality of the work. But it was the work that shone.
Critical acclaim was all positive. An art teacher from Bateman’s Bay remarked that for a small regional show, it was very high quality. Others said the quality was noticeably higher than previous years with a wider range of regional artists from the Highlands, the South Coast and Sydney. Belinda Webster summarised it well: “I thought the exhibition had a terrific variety of work, all of it of excellent quality. Our local artists have responded really well. Some of the art works were breathtakingly beautiful. The lighting has been one of the reasons we’ve not staged so many art exhibitions in the past; we can now rely on this being available whenever we need it.”
Of the 72 works hung, over 20% were sold for just under $6000, many more than in previous years – a terrific outcome for the artists.
A feature of the show was the opportunity for observers to vote for the “People’s Choice Award”. This year the $1000 prize was won by Jocelyn Pitman for “Under the Bridge”, an excellent weekend for her as she also sold her work. Runners-up were “Tidal Motion”, a watercolour by Barbara Acworth and another acrylic, “Waterfall”, by Christine Kelly.
A new feature this year, Sketch the Village, was won by two artists sharing first prize: Tish Banks and Robin de Vis.
Dawn Daily did a terrific job organising a raffle, sourcing contributors and organising it. Our thanks to the contributors ClareVilla (accommodation), Dawn Daly (drawing), Belinda Webster (photograph), Jing Jo (dinner), The General (dinner) and Bistro 146 (dinner). Over $750 was raised to partially offset the costs of the show. A tremendous community effort and a great success.