PRIZEWINNING paintings that reflect the vast Australian landscape wowed guests at the opening of NERAM's Wynne exhibition on Friday, February 9.
More than 150 guests attended the opening at the Kentucky Street gallery, including Armidale deputy Mayor Todd Redwood, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, regional artist Rita Winiger and acting director of public engagement at the Art Gallery of NSW, Sally Webster.
"These paintings show the incredible texture and vastness of our country and it is my pleasure to see them hung at NERAM," Ms Webster said.
Cr Redwood told how he lived opposite the art gallery when he was a schoolboy and how important the institution was, not only to Armidale but to the region beyond.
It is the first time the Wynne Prize has toured regional NSW, allowing regional audiences an opportunity to see the best of Australian contemporary landscape painting and sculpture closer to home.
The Wynne Prize is Australia's oldest art prize and was established following a bequest by Richard Wynne who died in 1895. It was first awarded in 1897 to mark the official opening of the Art Gallery at its present site.
NERAM director Rachael Parsons said the tour was a win for the museum and a hit with art lovers across the region.
Coinciding with the Wynne Prize exhibition is Homegrown Wynne, featuring several local artists who have been selected and shown in past Wynne Prizes.
"By featuring artists who have been finalists (and winners) in the Wynne Prize, we aim to showcase the fantastic art being produced in our region," Ms Parsons said.
"It's a small but powerful glimpse into the creativity flourishing in New England."
The Wynne Prize will be in display at NERAM until April 7. Tickets range in price from $3 to $8 and be bought at the door.