GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - Anyone visiting the George Museum during the past two weeks, drifting over to the Sayers Art Gallery would have been surprised by the number and quality of artworks present on the walls.
78 artists from the Southern Cape and Little Karoo submitted some 236 artworks for the 7th annual SCAVA Visual Expressions art competition.
21 Award winners received cash prizes at a gala function on Thursday 15th. This was such a popular event that those who came late found standing room only. Daan Roestorff, retired, formerly of Stellenbosch Faculty of Art, gave an interesting address on the criteria on judging art in this modern age.
Another judge present at the prize giving was Suzette Crouse, joint proprietor of Crouse Galleries in Johannesburg and George. Suzette has studied, handled and promoted art all her business life and has an intimate knowledge of the artist’s ‘winning formula’. Both judges admitted that prior to judging they did not expect to see so much art of such a high standard and wished there was double the number of prizes.
This year there were no surprises. Judges choices were quite conservative, the cream rose to the top. All the best artists were award winners. There was one interesting choice in Jacques de Bruyn who submitted a large abstract painting entitled “Carlos Einstein”, a first class winner. This is a very ‘modern’ piece with unusual brushstrokes and colour combinations. This won first prize in the abstract/experimental/ expressionism category.
Rosanne van Niekerk of Hoekwil came 1st again in Portraiture this year with her charcoal work entitled “Ancel”. The judges chose this one because of the expressive application of texture to the clothing and the face itself.
“Ancel has been a very dear friend of my husband for many years. In this portrait, my aim was to capture the essence of a man who commands a room with his strength of character, positive attitude, entertaining conversation and winning smile.
"It was such an honour to win this prize. I can't tell you how thrilled I am, especially because there were so many wonderful entries!” said van Niekerk. Her bigger portrait of Freddy Mercury of Queen is also present, her rendition makes him totally recognisable.
Also from Hoekwil is the artist Hein Botha, whose 1st prize in wildlife and his 2nd prize winning entry was a landscape portraying a mystical romantic rendition of a forest scene entitled “Forest Temple”. Once could safely describe these paintings as beautiful sensitive pieces. Hein’s life has been dedicated to the creation of interesting art and his rendering of his subjects is elevated to a level beyond the norm.
The floral category was won by Zanne Small from Sedgefield whose rendering of hydrangeas in watercolours is breath taking. In fact Zanne won 2 other prizes, another first in the Landscape Category with her “Brook’s Melody” and a 3rd in Interiors with her ‘Granny Smith’s Kitchen” both in oils. Zanne is a master of her craft. She is also able to switch between mediums without effort.
It takes a week to complete a masterpiece but a lifetime to learn how to succeed. Zanne’s lifetime has been splashed with many successes.
Annamarie Stone from Kleinkrantz won a major prize with a capturing pastel painting of her partner’s cat. Tersia Hoffmann from Wilderness Dunes was also a winner with a stylised delicate portrait of a lady. Lloyd Carter was rewarded for his entry of “The Majestic Knysna Elephant” in the wildlife section. This painting is giant sized and powerful. On the whole it was noticeable that Elephants are back in fashion and owls, in every form, shape and colour are making an appearance in mass for the first time.
This year there were more entries than usual in the abstract/experimental/expressionism category. This was welcomed by members as it is a foretaste of the Modern Exhibition planned for November.
Georgians were surprized by the wealth of talent in our artistic society here on the Garden Route and Little Karoo.
Hitherto they have travelled further afield to view or purchase art and for the past 10 years by combining forces our local artists have proved that their art is on a par with the bigger art galleries in the world.
With the internet we are able to see and compare and lift our game to be creative, imaginative and skilful.
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