Hangers not painters
THEY rejoice in the name of The Hangers and they have an award named after them in the Bentley Art Prize celebrations.
But the farmers who make up the Bentley Hall Committee and who have gathered religiously every year to support the art prize frankly admit they don’t know much about art – and that many of the hundreds of works they hang every year leave them cold.
Lloyd Armstrong, at 81 the oldest of the Hangers, expressed the unanimous view of the group who were at the hall yesterday when he said: “Normally farmers are not into abstract art. We like landscapes, mainly.
“A lot of the works that are shown here don’t do anything for us.”
His fellow farmer, George McKenna, agreed that paintings of rural scenes were also his favourite.
However, he lamented the drop-off in a certain genre over recent years.
“We used to have a bit of rude stuff, but they’ve cut it out.
“There’s none any more.”
Indeed, the Hangers’ prize has never gone to a nude. Landscapes or a nice still-life featuring flowers have usually won the day.
But while the Hangers might decry their own artistic judgment and ability – “we can’t even paint the back shed,” said Gordon Serone – they are not entirely talent free.
Mr Armstrong won the photographic category once with a picture he took called Fishing at the Clarrie Hall Dam, and Allan Trustum on his horse has been the subject of a winning painting by local Jerry Willis.
But their main creative efforts are reserved for the hanging of the works for the show. There are 700 this year and juggling them to fit on the walls and make the most of the light is no easy task.
It’s likely to become even more challenging as the Bentley, which offers more than $8000 in prizes, is getting bigger every year.
“And better,” the Hangers agree.
This year the event runs from August 5 to 7, with judging on Friday.