2008 National awards exhibition Australian Society of Miniature Art (NSW)

The FawnIt was wonderful to see that the National Awards Exhibition, implemented and started by Philippa Stewart-Hall, when she was the fourth president of the miniature art society, is still continuing and is such a success…

Unfortunately they have lost a few sponsors along the way… but that sort of thing happens and despite everything, it is a fantastic opportunity for the Australian societies to band together and demonstrate their skills. (Click images in this article to see a larger image.)

The art of miniaturization is a very ancient art.

The Persian and Indian miniatures being among the most exquisite. Painters in Japan, China, Arabia, Russia, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, England and Europe also developed the skill generally.
Miniatures in Europe were used as identification of an individual… for example; male or female persons desiring to marry would be sent a miniature of the other person for their perusal, or to carry with them as a reminder of their loved one. It had to be small enough to carry in a person’s hand, pocket or bag. The ButterflyThe scribes had to add a likeness of their employer to a page in a book or an important document relating to that person.
It had to be perfectly balanced in colour and detail. It was to be multilayered in technique so as to reflect light, within the boundary of the frame.
It is an enchanting form of art as demanding in its technique, as in its seductive powers. During the reign of Henry VII in England it became fashionable to wear a miniature portrait. Many of which were painted on ivory, or vellum.
To day there are many different techniques employed… A particularly exciting innovation being miniature books… which again was introduced to the Australian miniature art awards by Philippa… the members became very enthusiastic about that section of the awards exhibition.
164 works went on display at the Ewart Gallery in Willoughby, on Sydney’s North Shore, which demonstrates that there is still enthusiasm for keeping alive this ancient art form.

The DragonflyIn my mind there is only one thing which mars this wonderful exhibition and that is that the same people year in and year out seem to win the awards… which is not allowing or encouraging young blood to enter the show… I believe that, like the Archibald, Wynn and the Sullmann… the artist should only be able to win three times… which is a an achievement in itself, and then hung in an honoury position. After that a wall of fame could be set up for those artists clever enough to win three times.
A.S.M.A.’s definition of a miniature is that a work may not exceed100sq cms, (10cmsx10cms), or any variation under this size. The 1/6th scale applies to the size of the object or person in nature. This has not been adopted by this society, but the spirit of miniaturization must be maintained.
The first official meeting of A.S.M.A. was held in 1985 and has been kept going by a band of enthusiastic volunteers to this day.

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