A fine show of fantastic art
by James Poyner
25th September 2023
Photos: SANDI MILLER
Featured: Conveynor Brenda Ibels and Judge Paul McDonald Smith with Best in Show piece Ocean Might, Apollo Bay
THE SECOND Eltham Art Show 2023 (EAS) was held in early September.
Bigger, better, and across two locations, the Eltham Art Show is making strides towards becoming the fine jewel in the crown that is Nillumbik’s art heritage.
Utilising the Eltham Community and Reception Centre (ECRC) and Residents’ Gallery at Montsalvat, it showcased the best 2D and 3D works from artists within Nillumbik and those without who have been influenced by the Shire’s art heritage.
With more than 500 pieces of 2D art and around 40 3D pieces on show and for sale, the profits from the show will be reinvested into local community causes and efforts supported by Rotary International.
With the calibre of the submission so high, and the professionalism with which the works were curated and displayed; it was a joy to peruse.
Convenor of the Eltham Art Show, Brenda Ibels, opened the show by explaining the intention of its concept.
“The show has been by invitation only.
“It is selected, and it is professionally curated.
“It also provides an opportunity for the Rotary Club of Eltham to continue serving the community, as it has done for 50 years.
“It also highlights the recognition of the heritage of the local and associated art community.
“A heritage which has not only developed in Nillumbik but also spread to become foundations of institutes like the Victorian Arts Society, Twenty Melbourne Painters, and the Woodend Art Group.”
Highlights of this year’s show also included art demonstrations, “working studio” style sessions, and an en plein air challenge run in the weekend leading up to the event.
The motivation for many of the artists displaying was the prizes on offer; of the combined 540+ works on display, only a handful of winners could be picked, and these were:
- Best in Show Greg Allen with Ocean Might, Apollo Bay — $6,000 prize
- Best Contemporary Sheryl Lewis with Hill at Kangaroo Ground — $3,000 prize
- Best Oil or Acrylic Fiona Bilbrough with Bumper Harvest — $3,000 prize
- Best Watercolour Julian Bruere with Misted Snow Gums, Mt Torbreck — $3,000 prize
- Best Sculpture Denise Keele-bedford, with Hard Baked sponsored by Meridian Sculpture — $3,000 prize
- Neil Douglas Best Australian Landscape Portrayal Chris White with The Bridge, Beechworth — $2,000 prize
- Best Work on Paper Linda Schneider with Evolving Reflections — A Charcoal Reverie — $1,000 prize
- Best Printmaking Robert Hails with From a Deck Chair (series 2) — $1,000 prize
- Best Emerging Artist Alison Tippett with Radiant Beauty — $750 prize
- Best Decorative Arts Jeanette Dyke with Black Star Ring sponsored by Michael Wilson — $500 prize
- Masterful Brands Agency Highly Commended $200 + Mentor session for each of the six winners: Raymond Wilson, Old River Gums, Victoria Valley Cherry Manders, Still Life Mary Hyde, Coastal View Pat Reynolds, Quarry Beach, Malacoota James Haramis, Together Sophie Bullen, Romans 13:10
- En Plein Air Challenge Nina Volk, Watercolour — prize NGV tickets courtesy of The Victorian Artists Society
- Hangers Prize Greg Allen with Ocean Might, Apollo Bay — Mixed dozen wines from Kings of Kangaroo Ground
- Montsalvat “Brave Talent” Ellen Jenkins, with John — Hamper value $100
- Best Ceramic Marlize Myburgh, with Interrelate — Best Ceramic Certificate
- Peoples’ Choice Sarai Meyerink with Reflections — $500
Winner of Best Sculpture, North Warrandyte artist Denise Keele-bedford said she was “flabbergasted” with winning the $3,000 prize.
“Thank you so much to Eltham Rotary for putting on the art show.
It has been interesting following the show.
Last year, they had the inaugural show, and I entered a 2D work.
It’s just fantastic to see that they have taken the initiative to delve into and experiment with the possibilities of a Rotary Art Show.
I congratulate all those who have been involved in putting this show together.
The hanging is superb, and the list of sponsors is amazing. It is fantastic to see all of those sponsors assisting and supporting this show to continue.
It’s great to see so many people here.
So, thank you so much, and congratulations to all the Rotarians and the really hard work that goes into putting a show like this together.
And of course, congratulations to all of the artists for participating — it’s fantastic to see.”
While Eltham Rotary is still debriefing from the event, Ms Ibels spoke to the Bulletin about how they feel the show went.
“We had close to 1,000 people through the door, and while we are still working out the final finances, we are on the right side of the ledger, which is good for the community.
We were very pleased with the show, as was the feedback from the people we spoke to and received comments from.
Including Montsalvat was a trial, and we feel a good combination for community involvement.
A massive plus was the en plein air, facilitated by the Victorian Artists Society.
It brought artists and outside interest to the area.
The group tours arranged for the local retirement villages were also very popular.”
Ms Ibels said for 2024, Rotary is planning for dates between August 11 and 19 to allow four days of viewing. Make sure you clear your diary for that week and come and see some fantastic art in the heart of Eltham.