Monday, October 25, 2010

Darlinghurst: Street Art: Oxford Art Prize

Saturday was sunny and promising so I set out with my friend, Crystal Kaye, to explore the neighbourhood and it wasn't long before we made a discovery: dozens of colourful canvases strung along the fence poles of the Darlinghurst Court House.
The six-hour Oxford Art Prize exhibition, made up of 100-plus works, was part of the Oxford Arts Festival, which runs until October 30.
The inaugural 12-day festival was designed to promote the arts, artists, restaurants and retailers of Oxford Street and Darlinghurst, which is surprising seeing as I had never heard of it.
The festival's online home is this blog that has posted just two stories since April, and has only one follower - even less than My Darling Darlinghurst.
I love a festival, especially if it's local, but it's a shame when they fail on the publicity front and don't attract the punters.
There were even mimes and other performers, including this wonderful band, to entertain the potential crowd:

The outdoor exhibition also coincided with the Sydney Sustainable Markets, which are held every Saturday at Taylor Square, so apart from art, there was lots to look at:

Compact Vegie Garden On Show

Himalayan Orchids For Sale

I'll be writing a more comprehensive account of the markets on a later visit, because on this day Crystal and I were having a fine time judging the art. The Oxford Art Prize also allows the public to vote for their favourite work. We didn't plan on it, but Crystal and I ended up voting for the same painting:

Inside and Outside in Darlo, by David Wilson

Crystal thought Wilson was the most talented artist on show. I liked his absurd characterisations and the painting's sense of debauchery. Wilson's style also reminds me of the work of veteran newspaper cartoonist and illustrator Bruce Petty.
Meanwhile, the three real judges - Dean of COFA Ian Howard, the National Art School's Stephen Little and art dealer David Rex-Livingston - were busy scratching their chins as they tried to pick a winner:

Crystal and I asked the man manning the desk when they were going to announce the winner, because we had other adventures to carry-out. But he was a bit vague and only said it would be announced between now and 4pm. Which was about two hours away.
So we wandered off and came back an hour later, asked around and learnt that the winner of the People's Prize was this striking photograph on canvas:

Augenblick, by Mandy Schone

We never learnt who won the Oxford Art Prize and the festival blog so far hasn't announced the winner either.

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