The North Sydney Art Prize 2015

The North Sydney Art Prize was opened at the Coal Loader on the 7th March 2015, by Wendy Whiteley. Wendy stated that “art is a great contribution to our society” because many artists do it because of the joy it brings to them, it gives them freedom of self expression, not because they’re paid well! The crowd roared with laughter when she ended her speech with the words, “Enjoy this wonderful exhibition, there are many wonderful works and (pause) a few mediocre ones too!” Whiteley OAM (born 1941) is best known as the “goddess muse” and wife of the late artist Brett Whiteley and has become a notable cultural figure and supporter of the arts. She is also known for the restoration and landscaping of a derelict public area in Lavender Bay, Sydney, which she turned into a “magic garden” and where Brett and their daughter, Arkie Whiteley’s ashes, are buried. Special guests at this event include the former Prime Minister Bob Hawke and his wife Blanche d’Alpuget.

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Some of my favourite works on display include Marie Larraine Weir’s ‘Today-Tomorrow-Yesterday’ ink and mixed media on Arches paper, folded into a two sided book. The beautiful sandstone tunnels and the declining ruin of the timber wharf are painted beautifully and remind us of how fragile life is. I was lucky to sit next to Marie during the opening and asked her, “What inspired you to paint this?” Marie replied, “The once gritty and polluted site is now sustainable.” On the other side of the book is a wonderful abstract interpretation of chickens,  the chicken coup is also at the Coal Loader where Marie regularly paints.

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Marie Larraine Weir’s “Today-Tomorrow-Yesterday”

Suzanne Davey’s ‘The Unfurling’ is made from recycled clothes, resin, wire & paint. The Unfurling responds to the debate surrounding vulnerable populations arriving on Australian shores and the resulting costs. Individual rights and national interests are given precedence over collective human rights. She is inspired by Mena Johnson poetry.

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Suzanne Davey’s ‘The Unfurling’

‘Rapunzel’ by Tina Fox, is a giant architectural crocheted rope doll. The long hair teases us with freedom, reinventing a 200 year old fairytale to create a contemporary folklore piece.

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‘Rapunzel’ by Tina Fox

One of the winners of The North Sydney Art Prize is Ulan Murray’s ‘Equalibrium.’ This is made from recycled copper and steel. One of the environmental issues of our time is waste. Ulan’s work is looking at the planets great recycler. A transect through the ground explores the whole tree, above and below the ground like the invisibility of carbon and the oxygen cycle, the tree’s hidden attributes are one of its greatest gifts.

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Ulan Murray’s ‘Equalibrium.’

Below are other favourites at the exhibition. Alison Clarke should be congratulated for curating this wonderful sustainable exhibition.

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“Light Perception” by Jane Theau. Old spectacles & lights. Jane’s homage to spectacles.

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Angela van Boxtel

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Gloria Bohorguez Florez’s Global Veins Stage II.

This installation of threaded bones, cicada shells, feather and leaf litter invite viewers to contemplate the importance of nature and its diversity in our lives.

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