Week 3 winner: The Saint John’s Bible Student Exhibition Artwork

June 11, 2014 – 3:01 pm

This week’s featured winner for The Saint John’s Bible Student Art Exhibition is Montana Burnett for her painting Let There Be Light.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your artwork?
My artwork is an abstract interpretation of light conquering the darkness of our world. The light of God shines bright through the dark haze of human conflict. My two oil painting series adopts themes of enlightenment, creation and divergence.

photo of Montana Burnett's painting Let there be light

Montana Burnett’s painting – Let there be light

 2. How did The Saint John’s Bible inspire you to create this work?
I fell in love with the beautiful images of ‘The Saint John’s Bible’. The masterful contemporary rendition of religious narratives was very inspiring.
2a) Were you inspired by a particular bible passage?
Yes I was inspired by a passage from genesis 1:3, ‘And God said, “Let there be light: and there was light”.
2b) If yes, what was special about this passage?
This passage immediately drew me in and inspired me to create a work that conveyed the contrast of light and dark. I felt that God’s creation of light was a powerful image that I could interpret effectively in my work.
2c) Did the style of the artworks in any part of the Saint John’s bible influence the style you have chosen?
The abstract blending of colour and collage around the pages was very effective and provoked the abstract style I wanted to achieve with my work.

3. So, what’s your creative process like? Do you have a special painting ritual?
For me it’s all about being expressive and playing with colours and textures. I love to paint abstract images and forms, as I can be as free and expressive with my brush strokes and surfaces. I don’t like to limit or constrict my creativity. I find its best to strive away from idealisation or perfection; the messier I can be the more enjoyment I get out of it. Usually I start by painting a light diluted background colour as the base of the image. I then mix my oil paints with impasto medium, which bulks up the paint. I apply this with a paint scalpel. I find that the hard edge of a blade achieves more depth in texture than a paintbrush.

4. Who’s your favourite artist? If you could ask them one question what would it be?
I don’t particularly have a favourite artist. I do love works of Jackson Pollock, Vincent Fantauzzo, Banksy, but there are too many inspirational artists to pinpoint.

photo of Montana Burnett with her winning painting

Montana Burnett with her winning painting

5. What advice would you give a painter who is struggling with their artwork?
Work on building a unique creative style.  Experiment with your creativity and painting techniques. Having a good sense of direction for your artwork is helpful for many artists, although for some its best to just let go and be expressive. What works best for me is to interpret forms and figures as I go along. Find out what works best for you and build on this.

What is this all about?

How does the Bible speak to you? First-year visual arts students were invited to view The Historical Books volume of The Saint John’s Bible. They were then issued with a challenge to create a contemporary painting inspired by the text and illustrations contained in the work. 110 paintings were produced. 40 were displayed in the Strathfield Campus Library.

Five of the best artworks were then selected to win prizes by a panel of University staff including: Dr Dermot Nestor (Head of School, Theology), Ms Jeannette Siebols (Senior Lecturer, Visual Arts), Ms Monica Wondracz (Manager, Coop Bookshop), Medwenna Buckland (Liaison Librarian, Theology) and Maria El-Chami (Liaison Librarian – Arts). The standard of artworks was very high. The ACU Library would like to thank all students who participated in the exhibition for their contribution. Over the next few weeks, we will showcase interviews with the winning artists.

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