They call them the Gippsland 14 – a group of artists highly acclaimed in the art world of Melbourne and less known in their own patch of eastern Victoria.
Seven of the artists have shown in the ‘Salon des Refuses’ Hidden Faces exhibition, an annual event that features Victorian non-finalists from the acclaimed Archibald Prize.
But their local ‘under the radar’ status is all about to change.
The ‘Gippsland 14: Paintings, Prints and Constructions’ exhibition inspired by the region in a variety of mediums will show at the Media House Gallery at The Age from 2 February to 22 April, and the Meeniyan Art Gallery from 26 April to 22 May.
Carolyn Henry said she had been showing ‘flat out’ in Melbourne for years, but had never thought to exhibit her work in the local community.
“I never thought to show the locals what I do until now,” Ms Henry said.
And in turn the exhibition also hopes to showcase the region and its vibrant artist community to Melbourne.
Meeniyan Art Gallery curator Glenys Mann said it was the first time 14 Gippsland artists had shown at the same time.
“Normally if you go to any regional gallery, it is just one artist showing their work, but this is the first time there’s been a collective of 14 from Gippsland,” Ms Mann said.
“We’re taking the country artists into the city, and then we’re bringing the country artists back into the country,” Ms Mann said.
Artist Sue Coppock, who will show the whimsical caricature ‘The Drovers Daughter’, said it was an opportunity to show Melbourne that Gippsland was more than an industrial area.
“We’re showing Melbourne this part of Victoria does exist because it’s never promoted in a positive way,” Ms Coppock.
Exhibition manager and curator Jacqueline Taylor said the exhibition stimulated and surprised.
“It entices viewers to visit this delightful area of Victoria to experience first-hand its beauty,” Ms Taylor said.
‘Gippsland 14: Paintings, Prints and Constructions ‘ exhibition artists include Libby Witchell, Carolyn Henry, Sue Coppock, Peter Biram, Ken Griffiths, Mandy Gunn, Susan Hall, Wayne Milner, John Mutsaers, Graeme Myrteza, Tracy Roberts, Kerry Spookes, Ursula Theinert and Meg Viney.
Mediums vary from oil and acrylic paintings, mixed-media, mono, lino, digital prints, recycled and natural material constructions to mobile phone images.
The Meeniyan Art Gallery, 84 Whitelaw St, Meeniyan, is open from 10am to 4pm weekdays (except Tuesdays) and 11am to 5pm on weekends.
The Media House Gallery, The Age, 655 Collins St, Docklands is open Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm and closed weekends.