Black Summer works win 2022 River of Art Prize

Freya Job. ‘Lightning Strike’. Acrylic on paper
Freya Job. “Firestorm’. Acrylic and pastel on paper.

Freya Job is the toast of the Eurobodalla after winning the 2022 River of Art Prize for her two works ‘Lightning Strike’ and ‘Firestorm’, at the festival launch on Friday night.

Inspired by the moment the Black Range Fire ignited during Black Summer, Job used acrylic and pastel on paper to create abstract works that are both striking and hauntingly beautiful. The judges were drawn to the pieces for the spontaneity of their execution and the way they addressed the bushfires impact on the environment and in the lasting memories of the communities.

The second award went to Angela Ratten for ‘Twirling’ a three dimensional ceramic piece made from porcelain and black clay, with the judges admiring the play of light on the delicate piece along with its form and style. Angela held a successful Open Studio at Bermagui over the weekend, and will open the doors again on September 24 & 25.

Angela Ratten. ‘Twirling’. Porcelain and black clay.

Highly commended was awarded to Tomakin’s Lizette Richards for ‘Lemon Biscuits’ a detailed, three dimensional work featuring the recipe itself. Lizette has two silversmithing workshops this week, one at Mogendoura Farm on September 21 then at her studio on September 24. She’s also cohosting an exhibition with Miriam Shilling at River Mouth Cafe Tomakin on Saturday 25th.

Lizette Richards. ‘Lemon Biscuits’ Mixed Media.

Festival chair Leanne Joyce encouraged folks to drop by Bay Pavilions to view the 29 finalists before the festival concludes on September 25.

“It’s a very diverse exhibition from a highly talented field that includes visual arts as well as sculptures and installations,” she said. “It demonstrates again the quality and commitment of artists in our region, and its ability to inspire artists from further afield.”

The winning artist received $2000 with $250 for the runner up. The artwork most highly commended will be awarded $100. Forty-one artists entered a total of 53 works, with the 29 finalists on display at Bay Pavilions in Batemans Bay for the duration of the River of Art Festival.

Artists hailed from Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and the South Coast, submitting a range of works as they examined the themes of Black Summer Fires, covid lockdown, the environment and exploring who we are as people, as individuals and as communities.

Leanne thanked judges Andrew Gray, Executive Director of South East Arts and Helen Maxwell OAM, founder of the Australian Girls Own Gallery (aGOG), Helen Maxwell Gallery, art valuer and curator.

“Andrew is an inspiring advocator for the arts as is Helen,” she said. “Helen has also curated the exquisite ‘The Nesting Season’ group exhibition at the Durras Progress Hall, and it’s one not to be missed during the Festival.”

“Overall, they were delighted by the diversity of mediums and artistic style and pleased that artists continue to be inspired by our environment and how we interact, play and at times survive in it.”

Finalist’s works will be on exhibition at Bay Pavilions for the duration of the festival, and published on the River of art website.

The Bay Pavilions are at 12 Vesper Street, Batemans Bay and open daily: Monday to Friday 6am to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday 7am to 7pm, and Public Holidays 8am to 6pm.