bentART 2011

Is the largest gay & lesbian art exhibition in Australia and has progressed from a small community event for local artists to show case their work to an Australian wide exhibition offering prize monies of $5900 with the major bentART prize of $1500 plus category prizes and a Peoples Choice Awards of $500 each.

Just over 7 years ago, three art loving women living in the Blue Mountains were frustrated that in such a renowned creative community, the opportunities for artist to exhibit work were limited, especially for emerging artists in general and for gay and lesbian artists in particular.  In a stroke of inspiration, the women turned their frustration into action and the bentART annual exhibition was created.

“The formation of bentART was a wonderful example of women creating something positive and empowering and providing an opportunity for lesbian and gay artists to show their artwork” says Julie Martin, the current president of bentART.  She notes that “At the same time as providing an outlet for artistic expression, bentART also increases the visibility of queer art in the wider community.”

Indeed bentART has been so successful in increasing awareness, the exhibition, now in it’s 7th year,  is now open to GLBT artists from all around Australia, with this year’s prize pool being a record $5,900.  We’re honoured to have a wonderfully talented judging panel this year, composed of Dr Anthony Bond (Director of Curatorial Services at The Art Gallery of New South Wales), Robyn Nolan (artist and joint owner of the Nolan on Lovel Gallery in Katoomba) and Ingrid Haydon (academic & artist).

BentART is curated by Sophie Seeger (www.seegergallery.com.au) and Jane Canfield (www.canfield.com.au) both established and successful artists resident in the Blue Mountains.

The bentART exhibition is being held at the Wentworth Falls  School of Arts  (Great Western Highway) and opens Friday 10th June, (6.30-9pm)  running until Monday 14th June.

The Blue Mountains is host to a number of GLBT events during the long weekend as part of  pinkFEST including the very popular  Three Sisters Costume Ball.

bentART a Queen’s Birthday Coup for the Blue Mountains

bentART, Australia’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender art exhibition, now in its 7th year has achieved new heights. Starting as a small Blue Mountains based Exhibition, entries are now open to artists through-out Australia.

With expert and sensitive curation by Sophie Seeger and Jane Canfield, the Wentworth Falls School of Arts has rarely felt more creative.

The judging panel comprised Dr Anthony Bond, Assistant Director Curatorial Services AGNSW, Robyn Nolan artist and co-owner with her husband Terry, of Nolan on Lovel Gallery, and artist and former academic Ingrid Haydon.

The overall bentART prize, sponsored by the Alexandra Hotel, Leura was won by a promising young artist, Katherine Corcoran for her video and sculpture installation “The Space Between”. Pamela Hourani, a local artist, received the Runner Up prize, sponsored by Choice Home Loans, with her painting ” The Piano has no Legs”, April White, a Sydney based artist won the Peoples Choice Award, sponsored by Global Values Xchange, for her painting ”Her Song”.

With more than 350 people attending the opening night the exhibition was a
sensational success, and keen art-lovers continued to experience the show across the entire Queen’s Birthday long weekend. One art lover commented that it was “wonderful to see such a varied range of work, 3D work, jewellery and other alternative media as well as traditional painting.”

Curator Sophie Seeger, who has attended bentART since its inception commented “its wonderful to see how its grown in passion and quality. Its fabulous working with a group who love art but also have such strong sense of community”

This year bentART had a record 60 artists entering more than 140 pieces of artwork. “One of the huge achievements of bentART is that it has provided a platform for artists to go onto successful artistic careers. At the same time bentART continues to provide a venue for not only professional LGBT artists but also for beginning artists to show their work in public for the first time. ” said Julie Martin, President.

More than 25 % of the artwork was sold with sales at the $16,000 mark which is
excellent in today’s very tight art market.

bentART organizers wish to thank their local and regional sponsors for their generous donations. We also wish to thank our judges and curators as named above, plus all the volunteer helpers for the set up and running of the Exhibition. A special thanks to Councillor Janet Mays for being such an entertaining as well as thoughtful MC on Opening Night.