KATE DORROUGH The mighty inland river, acrylic on linen, 169 x 214 cm

The Calleen Art Award was established as an acquisitive art prize in 1977 by arts patron Mrs Patricia Fagan OAM, with the winning work joining the Calleen Collection at Cowra Regional Art Gallery. This year Kate Dorrough, Susan Baird and Kiata Mason are all finalists in the award which opens Saturday 4 May and continues until Sunday 16 June. Read Kate Dorrough and Susan Baird's words which accompanied their entries below.

"I see the river as a source of fertility, a vital and pivotal life force. In our nations psyche with limited water resources; droughts and floods mark our consciousness. The river is a potent historical and cultural emblem embedded in our literature and our inherited visual language.

In this work abstracted calligraphic marks float in an expansive space above the mass of the river, suggesting a view above and within, or a starry night’s sky. Marks are like a chaotic text or a series of musical notes, an implied language to be understood or deciphered.

The work acknowledges our need to understand the inland river in order to work with and preserve its fragile and essential ecosystems." – Kate Dorrough 

SUSAN BAIRD Studio Window, Bowman's Cottage, oil on linen, 137 x 97 cm

"This is the window in my studio in Hill End, NSW, it’s always slightly ajar.  It opens onto the south side of our garden and I can see the landscape and the iconic conifer trees in the distance.

This painting was made last year at the end of Wattle season, the branches had lost most of their colour but still enough for me to enjoy their structure.

I love being able to experience the arrival of bursts of new colour in the landscape and the various seasonal changes. There are some wonderful old windows in our house, a subject I hope to explore further in my work as they frame the landscape beautifully and enable a dialogue between the inner sanctum of home and the ephemeral." – Susan Baird

KIATA MASON Passionfruit and Patti Smith, acrylic on canvas, 105 x 76 cm

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