WINNER: (L-R) Bentley Art Prize judges, Oscar Giammichele and Raylee Delaney and Richmond Dairies' Ebony Collis and Bentley Art Prize coordinator Helen Trustum with winning painting by Julie McKenzie.
WINNER: (L-R) Bentley Art Prize judges, Oscar Giammichele and Raylee Delaney and Richmond Dairies' Ebony Collis and Bentley Art Prize coordinator Helen Trustum with winning painting by Julie McKenzie. Francis Witsenhuysen

Stunning painting makes a point, wins art prize

JULIE McKenzie's stunning painting has been chosen out of record entries as winner of the 2018 Bentley Art Prize.

The Maclean-based artist was beside herself when she received the phone call from Bentley Art Prize coordinator, Helen Trustum yesterday afternoon.

"I couldn't believe it," Ms McKenize said.

"It's so exciting that the piece will now be going to the UK."

The winning acrylic piece entitled Cool Paper Barks is a depiction of the Australian bushland and caught judges attention with its "unusual and beautiful" rich earthy colours.

"The piece is an environmental statement," she said.

"It's part of a series called The Paper Bark ... I was inspired by their existence as the filtration system for our water.

"These forests seem to be disappearing, to make way for roads and housing estates, at an alarming rate much to the detriment of humans and the bio systems that live within."

Ms McKenzie, 62, beat a record breaking 714 entries to claim the $1250 acquisitive prize which will see her art work hung in the UK.

The two judges, Raylee Delaney and Oscar Giammichele, had a tough time deciding a winner.

"It was a lengthy process and it wasn't easy," Ms Delaney said.

"We selected Julie's piece because it was unusual and beautiful, but also quite resolved ... the background spoke as well. "It was a stand out, and won for its statement because works of art should say something."

Bentley Art Prize coordinator, Helen Trustum said she was thrilled at the record number of entries into the regional art competition.

"We are so grateful for Richmond Dairies for their continued sponsorship and support," Ms Trustum said.

"All the winners from this show will be displayed at the Casino RSM Club for two weeks."

The Bentley Public Hall will be open from 9am to 5pm today, for visitors to peruse artist entries.