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Double win for ‘noisy’ work

Jason Burns, pictured with Megan Slight, deputy chair of the Friends of Aratoi, and sponsor Frank Minehan, received the People’s Choice Award at the Wairarapa Art Review. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Erin Kavanagh-Hall
[email protected]

The close of the 2021 Wairarapa Art Review saw Masterton artist Jason Burns walk away on a winning streak – with not one, but two awards.

On February 13, the final day of the review’s accompanying exhibition at Aratoi, Burns received the People’s Choice Award for his painting “Submarine Head” – decided by votes from the public.

He received a cash prize of $500, presented by sponsor Frank Minehan.

At the exhibition opening in December, Burns received the review’s Premier Award for “Submarine Head”, taking home $2000 sponsored by Rosewood Funeral Home.

The review, organised by the Friends of Aratoi, is a biennial exhibition open to all Wairarapa artists, in which close to 100 pieces are chosen for the exhibition by an outside judge.

There are eight prizes, including the People’s Choice Award, sponsored by various Wairarapa businesses.

Burns said he was “very happy” with both his wins – if a little taken aback.

“I was quite surprised, as there were so many great artworks in the show,” he said.

“The People’s Choice Award means a lot – it’s nice to have the recognition from my peers, and the public in general.”

Burns described his work as “a colourful stream of consciousness”: influenced by comic and graffiti art, and inspired by his every-day experiences, such as what he reads in the news, what happens around him, and what he’s had for dinner.

Review judge Marcia Page, of Page Galleries in Wellington, described “Submarine Head” as “a narrative of life, the artist’s every-day life, their concerns, their interests. The work speaks to the senses, it is intense, urban, almost noisy. Everywhere there is something going on, there are no quiet corners”.

Burns had his first solo exhibition, “One Fifty”, at Aratoi last year, and is preparing for an exhibition at The Watson Gallery, to open in mid-April.

“Submarine Head” and the six other award-winning works from the review are now on display at Schmidt Gallery in Martinborough.

The other winning works are:

“Where Do We Come From” by Hélène Carroll – Highly Commended Award

“Urban View Reduction” by Jo Lysaght – Emerging Artist Award

“Portrait of the Artist as a Grumpy F***” by Harry Watson – Portrait Award

“Rapa Rising” by Leah Creaven – Exciting Use of Colour Award

“Break the Chain” by Carolina Vargas Gonzalez – 3D Award

“Hyacinth” by Lisa Nelson – Photography Award.

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