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Art Express Goes Virtual

There's no doubting that Covid-19 has turned a lot of annual events on their heads, but thanks to a new high-tech virtual reality exhibition, the best artworks by our 2019 HSC students can still be enjoyed at this years ARTEXPRESS – albeit a little differently.

Fifty artworks from the 2019 HSC Visual Arts practical examination have been selected for the virtual exhibition, where viewers can experience the artworks as though they are walking through an actual gallery setting.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said that ARTEXPRESS is the ‘Oscars’ of the HSC art world and is thrilled that students will still get to display their work to the general public.

“With galleries in Sydney and the regions hosting or planning to host artworks from the class of 2019 forced to close because of the COVID 19 pandemic, organisers had to find a new way to allow our best art students exhibit their work,” said Ms Mitchell.

“Now proud parents, families, school mates and friends can go online to enjoy 50 exceptional student artworks across 12 visual art forms. It’s incredibly important that we allow our best students to receive recognition for their work. Exhibitions such as this often provide the exposure needed to jump-start careers. Artists like Ben Quilty, David Griggs, McLean Edwards, Melissa Chiu and Jasper Knight were all hung at ARTEXPRESS.”

Local student-artists Melanie Hain and Tahnee Marriott, both from Warners Bay High School and Hannah-Kate Proctor from Belmont Christian College have shared their excitement (and shock!) at having works selected for the virtual exhibition.

“Honestly, I was shocked at first because there are many talented artists who contribute their artworks to the HSC. I was also pretty excited as the amount of time, money and preparation had paid off,” said Melanie.

Tahnee, whose colourful macro-photographic works depict her love of nature, agreed. “I was also really shocked to be picked for Art Express; I never imagined that mine would ever be selected. My work was also displayed in the Art Gallery of New South Wales for Art Express as well as the virtual exhibition which was really exciting! It made all the work I put in throughout the year pay off.”

For Melanie, her work was many years in the making and came from a very personal family experience. “I initially started experimenting with the concept three years before the HSC. The concept is based on my grandfather's struggle with Alzheimer’s and how the disease impacts the human mind. The final piece itself took three weeks to create, fire and glaze; however, months of experimentation was done before I started working directly on the piece,” she said.

The works from students in 29 government schools and 21 non-government schools include painting, drawing, photo media, sculpture, ceramics, time-based works, designed objects, documented forms, printmaking, textiles and fibre and graphic design.

“The technology used is amazing, artworks are placed in a virtual exhibition that you can move around, and the detail is to a level that you can see individual brushstrokes,” said Ms Mitchell.

“The virtual format is really good as anyone can look at the exhibition no matter their location. It replicates a real gallery very well as my display seemed quite similar to the one in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and makes it seem as if you are actually there. It is really interactive and allows people to view each of my photos up close,” agreed Tahnee.

Pictured top: Tahnee Marriott “The Nature of Ambiguity”

Pictured above right: Melanie Hain “Fragility”

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