congratulations glover finalists ― bethany van rijswijk and mairi ward

Exciting young Handmark artist, Bethany Van Rijswijk, is not only a first-time Glover entrant, but also a first-time Glover finalist as she takes the art of collage to new heights.

Inspired by domestic crafts and folk art, Bethany has created a distinct style that is attracting a growing legion of fans. For her inaugural Handmark exhibition last year, Bethany produced hand-cut collages where towering plants loomed over small figures like the scene from some medieval fairytale. And, for her Glover entry Bethany has created another fairytale vision. This one seeking out the glories of ‘prelapsarian’ landscape ‘before the fall of man’.

Bethany was selected as Glover finalist for A Trespasser’s Guide to Prelapsarian Fruits, where she explores the fall of the ‘golden age’ of agriculture in a paper collage quilt: “From the seventeenth century, as agricultural pressures increased, huge swathes of English land were enclosed, and the common rights that people held over farmlands were removed,” Bethany explains.

In Bethany’s hand-cut quilt, glorious pastoral scenes of fruit, animals and workers are contained within individual small patches, but their division is symbolic of the fence which breaks up the land: “Agricultural land, the pastoral landscape, came to be defined less by bee-loud wildflowers and overburdened fruit trees and more by fences and walls. History has an unsettling habit of repeating itself.”

Capturing the pure joy of a spring day in her hidden garden, has secured Handmark artist, Mairi Ward, a coveted place on the Glover finals list.

Mairi is ‘delighted and honoured’ to be selected as a Glover finalist for the fifth time. This year it is for her delicately beautiful painting, Joy, inspired by Mairi’s ‘secret garden studio’ which is tucked away in the heart of Launceston’s city centre. This rustic cottage garden, spilling over with flowers, is both Mairi’s oasis and source of inspiration.

“On a warm day I will take my cup of tea out into my little garden and just sit down and paint,” Mairi says. “This is my idea of perfect joy, with the paintings just unfolding as I go along. My works are not a direct representation of what is before me, rather they capture how I feel at the time and how places feel.”

Mairi painted Joy last Spring while her little garden was festooned with blossoms. Capturing this moment led to a sublimely striking piece bathed in pink and lightly dotted with small flowers: “For me, the physical act of painting is very intuitive, and it is how I process my feelings. It is simply a matter of beginning to paint until the painting eventually takes hold of me.”

The Glover Prize will be announced at Evandale on Friday March 11, with the exhibition running until March 20.