Recycled art scoops Claremont prize

A striking artwork made of recycled metals has won the Town of Claremont’s Art Award competition.

Richard Aitken of Innaloo won the $5,000 prize with Beyond, a bold metal canvas that has renewed the lives of washing machines, filing cabinets, tool boxes, fridges, lockers, laundry troughs and numerous other curb-side pickups.

The Art Award judges were blown away by Aitken’s important message in today’s Australia – and the world as a whole – where waste is an increasing environmental and ethical problem.

The judges were also impressed by the composition of the piece itself, with identifiable but subtle inspirations and links to contemporary art concerns.

An amateur artist, Aitken beat off fierce competition from 70 emerging and established West Australian artists to win the Art Award.

Speaking about his practice, Aitken said: “I enjoy the creative reconfiguration of found objects. There’s great satisfaction and an organic feeling of relieving the earth of potential waste.”

Beyond channeled my development as an artist into areas where the relationship between what we do as humans finds relevance in the impact that we have on our fragile surroundings.”

Second Prize was awarded to Lorraine Defleur with Growing construction, a Work on Paper piece that the judges commended for its seemingly unassuming composition which belies a complex, literal and metaphorical layering of meaning.

Third Prize went to Denise Pepper’s sculpture, Lace Caplete, a copper representation of delicate lace that judges praised for its contrasting sense of respectability and hardship, beauty and labour.

Jocelyn Elaine Brown won the Claremont Local Award with her acrylic painting, Carnaby Capers. Open only to Claremont residents, judges enjoyed the playfulness of Jocelyn’s cockatoos, combined with the black and white nod to Claremont’s history.

The Councillors’ Award, funded by an anonymous donation, went to Desire with Golden Autumn I. The councillors were struck by the oil painting’s vibrant colours and the way the work highlights Claremont’s beautiful outdoors.

Mayor Jock Barker congratulated all the winners on their awards.

“This is now the sixth year the Town of Claremont has run its annual Art Award & Exhibition, and I continue to be amazed by the caliber of works submitted by artists all around WA. To be recognised as a winner in such a touch competition really is a fantastic achievement.”

“Particular congratulations must go to Richard Aitken, whose dramatic artwork speaks to everything the Town is striving to achieve in its commitment to sustainability.”

Exhibition visitors are encouraged to vote for their favourite artwork in the People’s Choice Award. Valued at $500, this final prize brings the total prize pool for the awards to $11,000.

The Art Award & Exhibition is open seven days a week until Saturday 14 September. Opening times are listed on the Town of Claremont’s website.
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