Tonight I had the pleasure of opening the Ringwood Art Society Artist of the Year Exhibition. My opening was as follows:
It gives me great pleasure to open The Ringwood Art Society’s Artist of the Year Exhibition.
With over 260 members, the Society is well regarded as one of Victoria’s largest art societies. Maroondah Council recognizes the important contribution the Ringwood Art Society makes to the vibrancy and culture of Maroondah and we are absolutely delighted to present the work of its talented members, here at our very own Maroondah Art Gallery.
Tonight’s exhibition is especially significant, as it marks the Society’s 40th year of operation. Since its establishment in 1966, the continuing strength of the Society is a clear testament to the dedication of its members and management committee. As both an arts organization and a ‘not for profit’ body, the Society’s capacity to service its members through its art classes and outdoor painting excursions is extremely impressive and it reflects the ongoing passion, dedication and commitment of all those involved.
Maroondah has an immense cultural offering and while many people often go to the inner suburbs of Melbourne to seek art and culture, they can find great cultural value, great artists and great exhibitions here in Maroondah. The longevity of the Ringwood Art Society is a true reflection of just how much culture and artistic pride exists within our very own City of Maroondah.
The Artist of the Year exhibition features work by approximately twenty selected artists, each represented by an outdoor scene, a still life and portrait work. Produced in an array of mediums, including oil, acrylic, watercolour and pencil, the works reveal the breadth of talent to be found in the Ringwood Art Society. To mention just one example of outstanding artistic achievement, we look no further than the work of the 2005 Artist of the Year, Barbara Beasley Southgate. Her work, ‘Country Life, Daylesford’ is a striking pastel scene, which is on show at the entrance of the main gallery space. Since its development in the 15th Century, pastel has been especially favored by artists; nonetheless, it requires a considerable degree of patience and mastery, as we see in Barbara’s landscape scene.
Members of the Ringwood Art Society are eligible to cast their vote for the Artist of the Year, based on the three works submitted by each entrant, as well as voting for the Most Popular Painting. Members of the public are also eligible to cast their vote in the people’s choice award. Voting slips and ballot boxes can be found at the Gallery counter and winners will be announced at the Society’s annual general meeting, which is scheduled for next month in February.
Before I open the exhibition I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome Heidi Victoria, Member for Bayswater and Jan Kronberg, Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region.