Bega Art Prize winner announced

ROCKY Hall artist Tony Sweeting is the winner of the 2013 Bega Art Prize for his new media (video) work Transition 1.

The announcement was made on Thursday night at the official opening of the exhibition at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery (BVRG) by judge and guest speaker, Dr Denise Ferris.

Of the 44 entries submitted in this year’s categories of  Photomedia and Small Sculpture, 19 works were selected for the final hang and it was a close run race according to Dr Ferris, head of the Australian National University School of Art.

Mr Sweeting, whose paintings are in the collections of the Drill Hall Gallery and John XXIII College at the ANU, received the $5000 first prize sponsored by the Bega Valley Shire Council.

Mr Sweeting was born and raised in Canberra, but moved to a farm at Rocky Hall about 11 years ago, “surrounded by inspiring views, national parks and forests, beautiful river frontage, majestic granite formations, and immense native fig trees.

 “The idea,” he explained, “was to live in the country with organic fruit and vegetables and the animals – cows and sheep – and make art.

“The farm also had a log cabin that could be used as a studio and we have built a gallery and workshop complex.

“I’m really thrilled to win the award,” he said.

The photomedia and sculptural works on display at BVRG include ceramics, digital prints, woven photography, wood pyrography, and, of course, new media.

“The show consists of a very tight and enjoyable field,” BVRG curator Megan Bottari said, “and we’re quite delighted that a video took out first prize this year.

“It’s a timely reminder that new media arts are indeed central to contemporary art practice.

“These days it’s not just a ‘get with the program’ scenario so much as a ‘get with the new millennium!’

“This year we had an additional prize of $1000 - the eX Factor encouragement award for a young artist, sponsored by eX de Medici, who featured recently in the BVRG exhibition Skun,” Ms Bottari said.

“eX donated her artist loan fees from Skun and, during the selection of the Bega Art Prize finalists, chose Briar Watt-Meek as the recipient.”

The 2013 Mailroom prize - chosen by council customer service and records staff - of $500 went to Suzie Bleach and Andy Townsend for their sculpture The Horologist’s Horse.

The exhibition runs until February 1, so there is still plenty of time for visitors to vote for the SEA People’s Choice Award, worth $500 to the favoured artist.

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