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Catherine Roberts Wins NZ Art Show’s Top Award

News Release 7 August 2013

Catherine Roberts Wins NZ Art Show’s Top Award of $5,000

A rich and lustrous painting by Wellington artist Catherine Roberts has won the New Zealand Art Show’s premier award, the $5,000 Signature Piece Art Award. The winning artwork was decided by a public vote during this year’s show held during 25-27 July in Wellington.

The NZ Art Show’s Executive Director Carla Russell says, “Ten outstanding artworks chosen by our selection panel were eligible for the Award, but the final decision was made by people who visited the Show voting for the work they liked the most. Whilst the voting was quite close amongst the other nine finalists, Catherine Robert’s work was a stand-out attraction with the public and won by a clear margin. We trust that the Award will provide further recognition of her undoubted ability and help further her career.

“This is the sixth year we have offered the Signature Piece Art Award and Catherine is a deserved winner. She has shown enormous dedication and perseverance to her craft, and is one of the Show's biggest supporters, having been an exhibitor since 2009 and a Signature Piece Award finalist in 2010 and 2011. She has won critical acclaim for her semi-abstract landscapes and her work always attracts interest and support at the Show.”

Catherine Roberts’ winning work Vulnerable, a highly glossy mixed media work on canvas, was inspired by an aerial view of a coral reef. Striking in both technique and composition, Vulnerable not only impressed the selection panel but more importantly won favour from the thousands who attended this year’s Show.

Catherine lives on Wellington’s south coast where she has painted her semi-abstract landscapes since 1997. She draws her inspiration from her environment, in particular New Zealand forest and bush scenes.

Mal Brow, NZ Art Show selection panel member and owner of Wellington’s 30 Upstairs gallery said, “There were a number of very strong contenders for this year’s Signature Piece Award, some of which were quite challenging. Catherine’s Vulnerable was a lush, well conceived, larger work that clearly appealed to a wide cross-section of the Show’s visitors.”

The other Signature Piece Art Award finalists were: Melbourne-based photographer Harry Culy’s Cornfield, Waikato, 2013; Nelson artist Cindy Flook’s Cityline, a finely detailed photo manipulation printed on a polished metal sheet; Rebecca Phillips’ acrylic painting on board Transience, Rebecca is from Wellington; Lower Hutt artist Jules German’s Untitled, screen printed on a prepared surface; Wellington photographer Ben Nienhoff’s Memorial Park; Wellington art teacher Joe McMenamin’s striking Dead or Alive, mixed media on wood grain; David Bedggood’s ‘Skyward Series’ of architectural photographs. David lives and works in Wellington as a photographer, graphic designer and typographer; Auckland-based artist Monique Lacey’s Interrupted, an abstract mixed media work on canvas; and Ben Nienhoff’s photograph Memorial Park, born in Germany he’s now based in Wellington and predominantly uses alternative photographic processes.

Catherine Roberts said, “This was the third time in five years that I have been selected as a finalist for this award. I joked about me possibly getting ‘third time lucky’, and I did, and I am so delighted! As an artist, I create a piece of work and I nervously wait to see how well it is received by the public. Winning this award is such a boost of confidence and reassurance, and I am completely excited moving forward with future projects. The NZ Art Show has been a life-changing event for me over the last six years. Each year, with the support of the NZ Art Show team and exhibiting artists, I have become increasingly comfortable in an environment that would normally make me feel very uneasy. I have grown with the Show, with that comes more confidence to keep developing my work.”

The objectives of the Signature Piece Art Award are to: recognise artistic excellence in the visual arts; highlight the work of promising artists for the future; encourage, develop and promote emerging artists to new artistic levels; and give the public a voice as to whom they would like to reward.

Carla Russell said, “The Signature Piece Art Award is one of the ways the NZ Art Show continues to support artists and help them further their careers. This year’s winner, Catherine Roberts, exemplifies this. She is an artist who has mastered her technique and medium, and whose work we’ve seen develop over a number of years.”



The NZ Art Show makes it easy & affordable for any New Zealander to own a piece of original NZ art.

The NZ Art Show promotes a wide range of art covering all mediums with the aim of enabling all New Zealanders to own original art. At the same time, it has helped provide the means for emerging artists to become established and helped create a dynamic arts community for the public to discover new artists and start or add to their art collection.

At the core of the NZ Art Show operations is a three-day art event held each year in Wellington.

The annual NZ Art Show art is the largest curated art sale of its kind and each year exhibits around 3,000 original artworks by some 300 artists: the emphasis is on quality NZ art at affordable prices by emerging and established artists in a dynamic and stimulating environment.

Over 11,000 visitors attended the 2014 Show, which was held from 25-27 July in the TSB Bank Arena on the Wellington waterfront.

The annual event is complemented by an online art gallery located on the NZ Art Show website,, and features a range of styles, mediums and prices. Artworks can be purchased directly from the artists. The online gallery extends the reach of NZ art to a wider audience and provides a further outlet for artists.

Consistent with the aim of promoting a vibrant art community and helping NZ artists establish themselves, the NZ Art Show currently provides two arts awards:

NZ Art Show Emerging Artist Awards

Four cash prizes of $2,500 each. The NZ Art Show Emerging Artist Awards are open to students studying visual art at degree and/or diploma level at a recognised tertiary art school in New Zealand.

Schools are invited to nominate their most promising students.

The winners will have their artworks exhibited at the NZ Art Show event in 2014.

Signature Piece Art Award

A premiere cash prize of $5,000 awarded to an outstanding artwork chosen by the public.

10 finalists, chosen by the Show’s selection panel, are exhibited in the show’s Signature Piece Gallery at the NZ Art Show 2014 with the winner decided by public vote: all visitors to the Show can vote for their favourite.

The New Zealand Affordable Art Trust (NZAAT) governs the NZ Art Show. Its vision is to encourage New Zealanders to celebrate NZ culture and identity through NZ art and to promote NZ artists by providing opportunities to further their development.

As a not-for-profit charitable organisation the NZAAT is a significant contributor to the NZ community with many people benefiting from NZAAT operations and activities: since its inception in 2004 some 96,000 people have enjoyed the art event, nearly $8 million has returned to artists via art sales and around $70,000 in art prizes awarded to artists.

The NZAAT receives no government funding. All the costs of running the Show, the online gallery and funding the Awards are covered by sponsorship, grants, art sales, admission and donations.

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