Judge Anne Ryan with the 2013 winner of the Wilson Visual Arts Award by John Bokor, On the Road to Canberra.
Judge Anne Ryan with the 2013 winner of the Wilson Visual Arts Award by John Bokor, On the Road to Canberra. Doug Eaton

Small art wins big at Wilson

WHEN it comes to picking an art prize winner, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

And that is exactly why art judge Anne Ryan chose the small, simple triptych On the Road to Canberra by Illawarra artist John Bokor and awarded him the $10,000 prize in The Wilson, now on display at Trinity Catholic College Sports Centre.

"There is an energy to it that engages the eye," said Ms Ryan, curator of Australian prints, drawings and watercolours at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney.

"The work is small, but beautifully formed. Sometimes the nicest things come in small packages."

The 20-year veteran of eyeballing high-end art, Ms Ryan said the work belied its sophistication of technique.

"There is a lovely sense of light and a great sensitivity in the use of paint," she said.

"The colours, the brushes, the juxtaposition of many elements all come together in this. I am transported into the landscape. It is a picture that has something to say."

Ms Ryan's second-pick work was the highly commended Table Top by Byron Bay artist John Cottrell, which features many triangular shapes in a variety of shades and colours to create a stunning effect.

"Visually it is very sophisticated. It engages my attention and that is the thing that makes a prize-winning work. They are the ones that keep calling you back."

The 80 or so works on display, culled from a larger number that were entered, provide everyone's eye with stimulus, colour and pattern.

Works by local artists such as Dailan Pugh, with his bright colours in oil and Peter Derrett with a photograph of his dog hang near to other eye-catching creations such as James Guppy's old world acrylic Broadbeans or fibre-artist Lae Oldmeadow's Enlighten-me - a remarkably detailed invention using Bangalow palm.

"This exhibition makes me feel good about the creativity out there," Ms Ryan said.



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