Kelly Austin from Hobart, Tasmania is the winner of Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery’s STILL: National Still Life Award for 2019.
Her work Stilled Composition 43 is a three dimensional ceramic composition that seeks balance between warm and cool, heavy and light, positive and negative.
“I’m humbled to be recognised alongside all the other artists here tonight, it is a tremendous honour – this award reinforces a sense of meaning in the work and acknowledges that I’ve made a valuable contribution to the art world,” said Kelly Austin. “It encourages me to continue taking risks, asking questions and finding comfort in the unknown.”
There were over 750 entries for the Award, of which 59 works were selected as finalists.
The 2019 judge of the biennial prize – Rebecca Coates, Director Shepparton Art Museum – described how art prizes can be “life-changing for artists” and when the winning artwork joins the gallery’s collection, “it will be enjoyed for generations to come, it becomes part of this place and these people.”
“We need artists” she stated. “It is artists who often find a language for difficult things, who make a space for creativity and bring people together.”
She awarded four commendations to Sue Bell of Port Macquarie, Fiona Currey-Billyard of Nambucca Heads, Helen Earl of Sydney and Stephanie Theobald of Geeveston, Tasmania.
NSW Minister for the Arts Don Harwin, who officially opened Still: National Still Life Award, commented:
“I take my hat off to the exceptional talent that has come together for this exciting exhibition,” said Mr Harwin
“Seeing the varied ways each of the 58 finalists have interpreted their still life subjects is very impressive and I know that deciding on a winner can’t have been easy.
“This exhibition is not to be missed and I encourage everyone to visit before the end of November.”
The exhibition at the Regional Gallery features works from artists across Australia. It includes painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, ceramics, glass, sculpture, video, printmaking and textiles.
Voting for the popular People’s Choice Award, worth $5,000, will take place until November 1, 2019, giving locals the chance to vote for their favourite artwork.
STILL: National Still Life Award is supported by major sponsors: Coffs Harbour Friends of the Gallery, Bryant McKinnon Lawyers, Saso Creative and supporting sponsors: Moving Art and Andrew Peace Wines.
The exhibition is open at the Regional Gallery on the corner of Coff and Duke Streets until 30 November 2019.
Image: Winning Artist Kelly Austin with her work Stilled Composition 43