Callum Croker, Petals in Evolution I 2014, archival digital print 59.2 x 58.4 cm irreg. (image), 84.0 x 61.0 cm (sheet) Wesley College, Melbourne. Image courtesy of National Gallery of Victoria, Australia
VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA– Forty-two of Victoria’s top Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Art and Studio Arts students are part of this year’s StArt Up: Top Arts at the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia. The art exhibition features thought-provoking works, revealing the young artists creative excellence.
At the core of the art exhibition is the future of Australian contemporary art. In its 21st year, Top Arts celebrates exceptional and individual strength of participating artists, and highlights the strengths of art education in Victoria, Australia.
Artworks in Top Arts were selected from more than 3000 submissions. Many of the artworks explore traditional and new media to address very salient issues of our time. From global warming to nature, personal identity and gender politics, each work selected for the show brings new perspective to the issues addressed.
Issues paramount to the young artists whose artworks were selected for this show dominate the art exhibition. Martin Foley MP, Minister for Creative Industries adequately captured the confluence of thoughts surrounding the art exhibition when he said that it highlights the future of creativity in Victoria. He notes:
StArt Up: Top Arts 2015 puts the incredible creative talent of Victorian students on show. At 21 we traditionally get the key to the world, and this 21st anniversary exhibition provides us with a glimpse into the world of Victoria’s young people – their concerns, experiences, ideas and creativity. It is a stunning survey of contemporary works which shows that there is a bright future ahead for our creative industries.
One of the artworks drawing a lot of attention is by Kate Fitzgerald. A senior at Swinburne Senior Secondary College, Fitzgerald illustrates the experiences of people living with mental illness in her double-sided embroidered portraits. Fitzgerald’s piece not only shows her concern and compassion for people with mental illness, but also expands our understanding of the impact of this rather debilitating illness.
Nature and the environment in general have great influence on the artworks of Anna Dewar, a student of Methodist Ladies’ College. Her emotive photographs capture the power of nature, revealing sublime images of an electrical summer.
Each artwork included in Top Arts shows deep conceptual thinking and understanding of materials. Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV, puts it succinctly: ‘Each student has engaged with a high level of conceptual thinking and artistic technique to develop these pieces.’
That deep understanding of form and content is evident in Timothy Smith’s Velo Cinema 2014. The student of St Kevin’s College, Toorak used bicycle, colour 35 mm film, projector and electrical components to uncovers a futuristic apparatus that is far ahead of its time.
Ellwood is absolutely right when he said that ‘The outstanding talent that is represented in Top Arts paints a very confident picture for the future of Australian contemporary art.’ There are so many exceptional artworks in this year’s Top Arts art exhibition. Callum Croker’s Petals in Evolution I, 2014, for instance, allows an insight into the future of design. Adrian McCarney’s Rubik’s Cubes 2014, is another piece that highlights the immense creativity of the young artist. The student of Marcellin College, Bulleen combines Rubik’s cubes and wood to capture the portrait of a rather excited child.
The young artists featured in StArt Up: Top Arts 2015, come from a range of government, independent and Catholic schools in Victoria’s metropolitan and regional areas. Gil McKenzie, of Charlton College in Victoria’s North-Central region is one of the outstanding young artists. Inspired by his natural environment, the artist carves the contours of his local landscape into preloved books.
Although the young artists are outstanding in their creativity, their exceptional talent was nurtured by teachers who devoted their time and energy to fostering that creativity. “We’d like to thank the teachers who’ve supported and fostered their artistic development thus far,’ said To win the People’s Choice Award, supported in 2015 by the Macquarie Group.
Art lovers will select the best piece from all the amazing artworks on display at the art exhibition to win the People’s Choice Award, supported in 2015 by the Macquarie Group. The winner of the award will be determined by votes cast on-site at the National Gallery of Victoria.