AIREYS Inlet teenager Audrey Morgan has been honoured with seeing her artwork take pride of place in Melbourne’s Ian Potter Centre as part of the annual Top Arts exhibition.
Audrey’s work, The power of tomorrow, was completed during her VCE studies at The Geelong College last year.
The exhibition showcases the exceptional work of Art and Studio Art students from the past year and attracted 1300 submissions, of which only 46 were chosen from a shortlist of 131.
Audrey, who is enjoying a gap year in Tasmania, said she was thrilled to be chosen by selection panel made up of Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) and National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) representatives.
“It was really amazing to be chosen, I was so grateful to be given the opportunity to share my art with people and the message I wanted to convey,” she said.
“I was overwhelmed and my parents were so happy, it was beyond anything I could have imagined.
“I was even grateful just to be shortlisted so to actually get into the exhibition was crazy.”
Audrey’s artwork is a stylistic piece depicting portraits of herself and her two sisters, Esther and Lulu, against a bright pink background.
The 18-year-old chose to explore powerful figures through history as part of her art studies and used the theme of “power” as the basis for her artwork.
“I was stuck in isolation and was surrounded by my sisters so I just looked to them and I thought maybe I should do the power of the future because we are the next generation and the potential power of tomorrow,” she says.
Audrey’s captivating piece was partly inspired by the extreme angles associated with one of her favourite artists, Lucian Freud, as well as Christina Troufa’s semi abstract portrait works.
She experimented with acrylics and pastels in the production of several pieces which led up to her final piece which is oil paint and Copic marker on canvas.
Creativity runs in the family, with Audrey’s mum Cath an art teacher and her dad Chris teaching media and English literature.
The talented teen says seeing her work hanging within the respected gallery space was a surreal and motivating moment.
“I was thinking ‘oh my gosh, that’s my art – I painted that’,” she recalls.
“It was awesome. I don’t know if the opportunity will ever arise again but I feel like hopefully this is the start of my artistic career.”
Audrey has been accepted into an Arts and Fine Arts double degree at Monash University which she plans to take up next year.
Her advice to students hoping to be part of Top Arts is to stick to subject matter you are passionate about and not overthink it.
Top Arts curator, Theresa Powles, said the judging panel loved Audrey’s work and was particularly impressed by her folio showing an exemplary development process.
“Her final artwork is really interesting, the colours that she’s used symbolically – that really potent pink colour connected to feminism – and talking about the power of young females emerging and growing,” Theresa says.
“Her piece is quite mature in the way she has played with these ideas and pushed her artwork in a different direction.”
Theresa said this year’s exhibition was divided into two pillars, Inside and Outside, to reflect the presence of isolation and the unique challenges faced by students in 2020.
“People love coming in and seeing these fresh young voices, it’s like a finger on the pulse of what our young people are feeling and thinking,” she says.
“I think everyone is interested in that, particularly after the challenging year that was 2020 and it is lovely to see positivity and resilience shining through in the exhibition.”
Top Arts is open 10am to 5pm daily at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square, until July 21, 2021. Entry is free.