MARY VALLEY ART FESTIVAL. Holly Hughes (left) with Mysterious, the painting that won her the 2015 Open Award, and Cr Rae Gate and Prue Sheehan (right) from major sponsor Bendigo Bank Gympie.
MARY VALLEY ART FESTIVAL. Holly Hughes (left) with Mysterious, the painting that won her the 2015 Open Award, and Cr Rae Gate and Prue Sheehan (right) from major sponsor Bendigo Bank Gympie. Contributed

Mysterious winner at Imbil's Art feast

FORMER Kandanga student Holly Hughes took home the $1500 Bendigo Bank Open Award at the Mary Valley Art Festival on Thursday night at Imbil.

Her painting of a woman emerging from water, titled Mysterious, impressed judges Ken Gailer and Pam Walpole with its composition and well-executed airbrush technique.

Holly also won first place in the Animalia category with Squidwood, a painted surfboard that Mr Gailer described as highly original with well-balanced composition.

Holly took up airbrushing three years ago when she was working as a make-up artist, and now lives at the Gold Coast.

Highly commended in the Open category was an intriguing tapestry titled "The seed the tree and the lady" by Imbil artist Ilona Demecs.

The judges described it as a "finely woven textile with meaningful content". The piece is also a finalist in the 2015 Kate Derum Award for Small Tapestries, which is open to all professional Australian and International tapestry artists.

MARY VALLEY ART FESTIVAL. Holly Hughes's award-winning Mysterious. Photo Contributed
MARY VALLEY ART FESTIVAL. Holly Hughes's award-winning Mysterious. Photo Contributed Contributed

The revamped Bush Haven Youth Awards attracted more than 40 entries, with Connor McBeath winning the $1050 Open. The Youth Awards will be presented from 1.30pm on Sunday at the Imbil Public Hall, followed by the popular festival closing event and the announcement of the Twin Bunya Park People's Choice Award.

The Mary Valley Art Festival marks its 15th year and is the major event for Mary Valley Artslink, which also presented a special committee award to an up-and-coming local artist - Crystal Aylmer. The $250 prize is a course at the Brisbane Institute of Art, which

provides a non-profit creative arts centre housing studios, workshops and galleries.

The judges felt the exhibition of more than 270 paintings and artworks was excellent for a small show in a regional town, and as such found it difficult to select the winners.

"Not all our decisions will be popular, but that is the nature of an art show and how it should be," Mr Gailer said.

"Good art is a combination of concept, vision and mastery of medium.

"It is uncompromisingly honest, bold, ambitious, enlightening, original, challenging and a feast for the senses."

You can visit the exhibition at the Imbil Public Hall from 10am to 3pm today

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