ON reading the report in the September 30 edition headlined ‘Art enjoys elevated status’ about the Victoria Park Art Awards, I wondered which ‘arts community’ benefited from this new ‘elevated status’?
Certainly not the local arts community, for almost none were represented by the displayed works.
Historically, the awards have always attracted about 200 entries and until a couple of years ago, most were displayed at The Park Centre to the delight of many local artists and shoppers and their children.
For various reasons, this venue became unavailable and finally, last year, Edward Millen Home was successfully used although space then became a limitation.
Nevertheless, 55 works were on display. To reduce the number to just 20 seems an unnecessary and undesirable restriction.
Now, not all of these past works were ‘masterpieces’, but these exhibitions gave voice to a wide range of artists and encouraged real local and near-local community involvement.
I don’t believe the present format fosters such involvement; indeed, it discourages it.
In addition, as we are discussing the quality of the works on display, with the clear exception of the two winning photographic works, most of the rest appear to have been selected because of the pretentious, obscurative ‘blurb’ attached to the works rather than the works themselves.
In many cases, I’m sure much more time was expended on writing the rationale than on the works themselves.
Should not a successful work of art bear some relationship to its description; at least to present some clues for the unsuspecting observer?
On the positive side, the involvement of local students is a marvellous initiative that should be developed further.
Unfortunately the ‘conceptual’ trend has extended to the Curtin students’ work that, with few exceptions, does not live up to their descriptions, although presented in an imaginative, beautifully crafted fold-out ‘brochure’.
Victoria Park council needs to rethink its strategy here. Does it want to support a vibrant local arts community or be involved in yet another ‘elevated status’ event?
Maybe it could do both?