Artist award winner announced

by | Nov 7, 2018

The RME Downlands Art Exhibition might be over for the 32nd year, but the exhibition’s legacy lives on through Toowoomba based painter Maree Cameron.

Maree is the winner of the second annual USQ Artsworx Encouragement Award, selected from hundreds of artists whose work was shown at the Downlands Exhibition.

The award is designed to inspire emerging artists to develop their skills through the prize, tuition at the 2019 McGregor Summer Arts Retreat at USQ Artsworx.

Downlands Art Exhibition curator Evan Hollis led the judging process assisted by input from the team of art-loving volunteers that underpin the success of the annual exhibition.

Maree’s four works impressed the judging panel because her work is exploring new media. Her use of ink and alcohol on Yupo paper displays a great willingness to work outside her usual techniques.

“Maree is working out of her comfort zone and with great results!” says Evan who is familiar with Maree’s work through her many years of exhibiting at the Downlands Art Exhibition and his experience judging the regional RAS Show Art competitions around the Downs, in which Maree as a regular entrant.

Maree, who has previously attended a number of art retreats at USQ Artsworx, knows first-hand the positive results on her artistic practise from intensive art immersion with quality tutors.

With 19 visual and creative workshops available over seven days in January 2019, Maree has selected Fantastic Acrylics with Jenni Kelly.

Deirdre Drysdale, the 2018 inaugural award winner has transformed her art practise following her arts retreat experience with pastellist Maxwell Wilks.

Last year Deirdre exhibited traditional Australian landscapes in oil and acrylics with expressionist cues. This year Deirdre’s work in the 2018 Downlands Art Exhibition included a two-dimensional cubism inspired abstract.

Maree first began her painting career over 40 years ago in Tambo where she lived on a cattle and grain property. One of her career highlights has been painting a portrait of 92-year-old R.M. Williams. One of Maree’s paintings was chosen by Toowoomba Regional Council as a gift for Paju, Toowoomba’s sister city.

Ms Cameron has been a member of Flying Arts since 1979, and now teaches in Toowoomba.

“After such a radical change in Deirdre’s work, we are looking forward to how Maree’s art practice changes as a result of her art retreat experience,” says Cassandra Stephan, McGregor Co-Ordinator from USQ Artsworx.