Industrial Cathedral

Industrial Cathedral
"Industrial Cathedral" charcoal drawing on paper 131 x 131 cm Jane Bennett. This drawing was a finalist in the 1998 Dobell Prize for Drawing (Art Gallery of N.S.W.) ; Finalist in 1998 Blake Prize for Religious Art ; Winner of 1998 Hunter's Hill Open Art Prize

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Keep your eyes on the prize (and your finger off the trigger)

3 "Highly Commended" Awards in the past 3 days!

One off winning $1,250. One off winning another $1,250. And one off winning $5,000.

Don't know whether I should accept congratulations or commiserations.

I hadn't known until I collected my paintings today that I had been awarded two "High Commendations" for my entries in the Camden Art Prize.

I had been awarded the "Highly Commended" for  "The Art of Navigation". This is a memento mori painting of antique navigation instruments, and pays tribute to the famous 18th century navigator La Perouse.

still life oil painting of antique navigation instruments"The Art of Navigation" oil on canvas 75 x 100cm by Artist, Jane Bennett
"The Art of Navigation" oil on canvas 75 x 100cm

Yet another "Highly Commended" in the "Works on Paper" Section for a moody charcoal and ink interior, "The Turbine Hall Of the White Bay Power Station"

charcoal drawing of industrial Heritage"The Turbine Hall Of the White Bay Power Station" 2011 charcoal, pastel and ink on paper 75 x 100cm by Jane Bennett, Artist
"The Turbine Hall Of the White Bay Power Station" 2011 charcoal, pastel and ink on paper 75 x 100cm

The "Blacksmiths, Eveleigh" ranked first of the five "High Commendations" awarded in the Open Section of the Hunters Hill Art prize, making it the runner-up.

oil painting on canvas  of industrial heritage"The Blacksmiths, Eveleigh Railway Workshops" oil on canvas 91 x 122cm by Artist, Jane Bennett
"The Blacksmiths, Eveleigh Railway Workshops" 
oil on canvas 91 x 122cm

I had known that it had received at least a "Commended", as its title was in bold print on the website, but I had no idea that it was the runner up until the end of the presentation night when I read the judges comments :

"Gripping subject matter - the painterly shadows take on a rainbow hue from the furnace which is the source of all light and tension in this finely rendered genre painting"

There was a lot more tension, although a bit more heat than light, the other day in the Hunters Hill Club, the venue where my painting is hanging.

This year, paintings in the Hunters Hill Art Prize are hung at 3 historic venues - the  Hunters Hill Town Hall, the Congregational Church and the Hunters Hill Club - all within a short walking distance from each other.
My 2 largest paintings are displayed in the Town Hall, my entry in the 9 x 5" section is in the church, and the painting of the Blacksmiths, which was the runner up, is hung on the wall of the Club.
 It's a great idea, as people who don't usually go to art exhibitions will get an opportunity to check out the art.
However there were a couple of sightseers that we would all have been happy to live without.
There was a terrifying incident at the Hunters Hill Club on the night before the art prize opening, which I was told about at the opening by John Booth, the editor of the local paper "The Weekly Times".
At 9.30pm, two robbers armed with an axe and a rifle smashed their way through a locked door.
As they approached the bar, three of the club's employees  managed to lock themselves in a room to escape.
 Fortunately the robbers weren't able to get into the room after them.  Just as fortunately no-one else was injured, although one of the robbers had pushed a patron off his bar stool before jumping the bar. However as they fled, one of the robbers can be seen threatening patrons with a long rifle as he forces them to hand over their belongings.

I'm relieved that these thugs were apparently neither art fans nor art critics.

No paintings on display in the Club were damaged or stolen, and none will return to their creators  with bullet holes as extra decoration.

 And I'm even more relieved that this brazen robbery didn't occur on the opening night, which was attended by hundreds of people.

Related articles
Axe wielding thieves rob club on Sydney's Lower north shore Daily Telegraph 11 May 12
Video of the armed robbery at the Hunters Hill Club
"Armed robbery at club in Hunters Hill" North Shore Times Crime  11 May 12  by Torin Chen

 Related posts in this blog

"The Navigator and the King"

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pyrmont Sandstone - Rock On !

My painting of a partly demolished Pyrmont warehouse is a finalist in the 2012 NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize.
This Exhibition will be held:
Tue 1 May - Thu 31 May 2012
NSW Parliament, Macquarie Street Sydney 8.30 AM - 5.45 PM
(Morning viewing only on the final day.) — at Parliament of NSW
oil painting of Pyrmont industrial Heritage 'Industrial Cathedral, the Cooperage, C.S.R. Refinery' - oil on canvas 91x61cm by Artist Jane Bennett
 'Industrial Cathedral, the Cooperage, C.S.R. Refinery'  
oil on canvas 91 x 61cm
Enquiries about this painting:
FINALIST : Plein Air Painting Prize 2012

This canvas is of a sandstone escarpment seen through the screen of rotting timber beams that once were part of the Cooperage building in the CSR Refinery.

This painting  focuses on the mysterious patterns of shadow made by the fall of light. The cavernous space and rows of columns reminded me of the interiors of cathedrals and ruined abbeys.
 The wall at the back was the famous butter-yellow Pyrmont sandstone, which has been quarried to decorate the best loved historic Sydney buildings such as the Australian Museum, the Sydney GPO, the University of Sydney
At sunset the sandstone rock face caught the last rays of light and the derelict warehouse was transformed.

This painting has come full circle. Out of Pyrmont  into an Eastern suburbs gallery, back to Pyrmont as part of the 2011 Pyrmont Festival, then to Macquarie St as a finalist in the NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize. 
Oddly enough the sandstone wall shown at the back of the painting has made a similar journey as the painting. Some of it has made a triumphant visit to Macquarie Street's heritage showcase of 19th century architecture.
 After being sliced and diced by LendLease during the excavation for the McCaffrey's apartments in Jacksons Landing, it then suffered a few years in ignominious limbo, in a stockpiled pyramid under the noman's land under the Anzac Bridge
 Ironically it came from the former "Paradise Quarry" so it should have been spared limbo.
Now these blocks are having a glorious afterlife being lovingly reshaped by master stonemasons in the Alexandria yards,  to adorn the classic façades of Sydney's most beautiful buildings.
Some appropriate graffiti from one of the onsite port-a-loos during the re-opening of the quarry - "Sandstone Rocks!"
oil painting of sandstone sculpture of gargoyle 'Gargoyle, University of Sydney' 2009 oil on board 25 x 20cm by Artist Jane Bennett
U230 'Gargoyle, University of Sydney' 2009
oil on board 25 x 20cm
Enquiries about this painting:

This alarming little creature is one of the refurbished gargoyles hanging off one of the spires of the University of Sydney. He was carved from the sandstone extracted from the Jacksons Landing excavations, possibly even from the escarpment I painted in the background of "Industrial Cathedral". 

The MacLaurin Hall is an important piece of heritage of the University Quadrangle Building. Designed by the Government Architect of the day Walter Liberty Vernon it was constructed in 1911 as the Fisher Library  ,which was later relocated in 1963.

In October 2007, the University began conservation work on the façade of MacLaurin Hall. This included work on the sandstone walls, bosses, windows and gargoyles. They were treated with a poultice to remove salt; the poultice was left on for 10 days or until it fell off, and then re-applied to ensure the salt was removed. 
Before this treatment, some of the gargoyles had shown signs of splitting and falling. As the original  gargoyles crumbled they therefore had to be replaced or extensively refurbished so that they wouldn't fall on people's heads from a great height. 
Imagine one of those landing on your head!

Must be one of the Legendary "drop bears".