SAM’s Sidney Myer show makes top 5 list

By John Lewis

Shepparton Art Museum's Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award 2019 exhibition has been named among the top five regional arts shows in Victoria.

The Victorian Government's Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions' monthly digital magazine The Victorian Connection names the SAM show along with exhibitions at Bendigo, Castlemaine, Geelong and Gippsland galleries and museums as the best places to visit during winter.

"When it’s cold out, head indoors for an art fix at these brilliant regional exhibitions," reviewer and magazine journalist Georgina Jerums wrote.

The prestigious $50,000 Sidney Myer award went to Lynda Draper, head of ceramics at Sydney’s National Art School, for her work Somnambulism, now showing at SAM.

"The work references sleepwalking through the parks, gardens and decorative excesses of the Palace of Versailles on the outskirts of Paris, where Lynda was recently an artist-in-residence for three months," Ms Jerums wrote.

The SAM show also includes works by the other five finalists: Julie Bartholomew, Stephen Bird, Greg Daly, Juz Kitson and Isadora Vaughan until September 1.

Finalist Stephen Bird's exhibit is titled Continent of Exiles and explores the myths of his family. Photo: Christian Capurro

SAM director Dr Rebecca Coates said the top-five placing reflected a current momentum building around ceramics in general, and the vibrant and ambitious nature of the Sidney Myer show in particular.

"This is a 'super max show' — it's not just pots on plinths," Dr Coates said.

"It shows that ceramics can be a medium to tell stories; some pieces talk about the environment and climate change," she said.

"Ceramics is a really exciting thing at the moment. People are watching what's going on," she said.

Dr Coates described SAM as Victoria's "best-kept secret".

"We foster artists, we invite people in to share their stories, we've partnered with schools and we had more than 600 people doing workshops in our school holiday program," she said.

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