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Some of the best emerging young artists exhibit their work at the National Gallery of Victoria
Mahalia Kluwer, What a time to be alive 2015, inkjet print and synthetic polymer paint on transparent synthetic polymer resin, gold leaf and synthetic polymer paint on glass, synthetic polymer paint and gesso on papier mâché, LED lights, polystyrene, aerated concrete, plywood, metal, electrical cord, 112.2 x 60.0 x 15.6 cm. Kew High School, Kew.

MELBOURNE.- Forty-two of the state’s best emerging young artists are exhibiting their work at the NGV for the first time at StArt Up: Top Arts 2016, on view at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. The annual exhibition has become one of the NGV’s most popular, drawing visitors from around Australia to celebrate the finest of VCE Art and Studio Arts.

The exhibition features 49 works, drawn from 2,500 submissions, exploring the complexities of the modern world, conflict and war and the beauty of nature. Some works, such as Mahalia Kluwer’s altar-shaped sculpture featuring Paris Hilton in place of the Virgin Mary, comment on contemporary values in a satirical way, while others explore social and philosophical issues.

This year portraiture was a popular theme, including a number of self-portraits and a work by Kirrah Thompson responding to one of the most recognisable masterpieces in the NGV Collection, Picasso’s Weeping Woman, reproduced in body paint on a model.

Works using a variety of media also are on display, including a sculpture featuring a 9 metre-long branch sawn from a tree in Geelong and for the first time, a four-song EP about life in the suburbs written and performed by Sandy Hsu. A portrait about a person’s public and private sides, by Rosemary Duffy, uses the unusual technique of painstakingly injecting paint in 87 different colours into bubble wrap to emulate the pixilation of a social media profile image.

Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV, said, ‘The quality of work in Top Arts 2016 shows the maturity of the concepts explored by the artists and the value of art education in developing young people’s sense of self and society.

‘I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the hard work of art teachers all over the state, and their role in fostering the artistic minds of the future as well as to celebrate the talent of Victoria’s youth.’

The exhibition space also features student selections from a small number of students’ visual diaries and video interviews with some of the finalists giving an insight into the students’ creative process.

The People’s Choice Award will return in 2016, supported by the Macquarie Group. Visitors can vote on-site at the NGV for their favourite piece, with the winner announced in July 2016.

StArt Up: Top Arts 2016 is part of the VCE Season of Excellence, which includes Top Screen, Top Class, Top Designs and Top Acts. Interactive talks and folio viewings are available for school bookings as part of NGV’s Education program.

StArt Up: Top Arts 2016 is on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia from 11 March – July 2016, open 10am-5pm daily. Admission is free.

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