- Victorian artist wins $20,000 prestigious Gippsland art award
- Gippsland Art Gallery hosts major landscape painting prize and exhibition
- Victorian Coalition Government is a strong supporter of the arts in Gippsland
Melbourne-based artist Shannon Smiley has taken out the prestigious $20,000 John Leslie Art Prize, presented on Friday evening by Deputy Premier and The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan at Gippsland Art Gallery.
Mr Smiley won with his painting ‘Untitled, Burnley’, which was praised by the judges for its use of contrasting elements and for its ‘equilibrium, colour and detail’.
Mr Ryan also presented Gippsland-based artist Frank Mesaric with the $1,000 prize for Best Gippsland Work for his painting ‘Figure and Cypress Pines, Denison’.
Mr Ryan congratulated each of the 35 artists whose work was short-listed for this year’s awards from over 400 entries nationwide. He thanked management and staff at Gippsland Art Gallery, Wellington Shire Council as well as gallery patron, John Leslie.
“John’s generosity and devotion to the arts and to this region are legendary,” Mr Ryan said.
“Gippsland Art Gallery is extremely fortunate to have John as its patron, and the reach and impact of the John Leslie Art Prize is a testament to that.
“The biennial John Leslie Art Prize, first held in 2000, has grown to become one of Australia’s major prizes for landscape painting, and is open to all artists living and working in Australia.”
Mr Ryan said the Victorian Coalition Government was a strong supporter of the arts, having announced in May this year it would contribute $5.5 million towards construction of the new $15 million Gippsland Art Gallery and Sale Public Library cultural and community hub.
He said the project – a partnership between the Coalition Government, John Leslie and Wellington Shire Council – would not only deliver a first class arts and cultural precinct for Sale, it would also boost the profile of the John Leslie Art Prize and Gippsland art more broadly.
“A great partnership will produce a great community outcome,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan encouraged locals and visitors to view the exhibition and, while there, to vote for their favourite art work in the People’s Choice Award.
The exhibition at Gippsland Art Gallery runs until Sunday, 23 November 2014. More information is available online at www.wellington.vic.gov.au/Enjoying-Wellington/Gippsland-Art-Gallery.
Media contact: Kate Lancaster 0428 921 404