Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia

Montalto Sculpture Prize 2017

Winding among the vines and wetlands of Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove, the fascintating and visually stunning Montalto Sculpture Trail offers a new perspective on nature and art.  The permanent collection comprises over 20 sculptures and is each year joined between January and May by a further 20 finalists in the running to receive the much coveted Montalto Sculpture Prize.

The Montalto Sculpture Prize is an acquisitive award open to all artists working in any medium, and runs from February to October each year.

John and Wendy Mitchell, Montalto's proud owners, share a passion for wine, food, nature and the arts.  The Montalto Sculpture Prize is an essential expression of this spirit, designed to encourage artistic pursuit, and to allow guests to enjoy the natural beauty of the property while appreciating the wonderful creativity of the sculptures.

Each year, the judging panel selects a shortlist of finalists from all of the entries in early November. The chosen finalists are then invited to install their work in January, at which time a winner is chosen and announced at the opening in February.  All of the finalists' works form the Exhibition which remain in place until end October and all of the non-winning works are available for purchase.  The winning sculpture forms part of the permanent colletion.  Visitors are also invited to vote for their favourite work and this 'People's Choice' winner receives $1,000.

The grounds at Montalto are open daily between 11am – 5pm and we recommend at least an hour to enjoy the Sculpture throughout the property.

The offical opening of the 2017 Montalto Sculpture Prize and announcement of this year's winner of the $30,000 acquisitive award will take place this Sunday, 26th February from 3.30pm.

Each of the 23 finalists' sculptures will be on display across the Estate and artists will be in attendance to discuss their latest work.  You'll also hear from the panel of judges, including this year's guest judge Kelly Gellatly, Director of the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne.  The Piazza Cafe will stay open until 7pm.

Here is a sneak preview of what you can expect from this year's Exhibition. 

Martin George
Carrara marble, stainless steel, gold paint, bearings, rotating column
555 x 190 x 160 cm
Men in love have been making ridiculous monuments for a long time. The Taj Mahal is the classic example of consuming passion manifest through a constructed object, a physical representation of love built over many years and at a great expense. My love is both earnest and playful and it became an obvious realm to explore in my art with my creative fascination with the juncture of irony and sincerity.   The Carrara marble that forms the base was sourced from the same quarry that Michelangelo carved David, my grand and romantic gesture. Affixed to the marble base is an engraved plate that reads ‘Best and Fairest’, my tongue in cheek compliment to my wife. I've expanded and tapered the pentagonal form, carrying with it the geometric representational significance of humanity, incorporating techniques that form 'divine proportions' throughout. I wish to provoke a conversation around how we celebrate love and whether it is encouraged in contemporary Australia.
Ralf Rehak
timber, plastic door strips
200 x 137 x 137 cm
‘Home in the Ruin 01’ examines how the relationship between form, space and materials can evoke memory and meaning associated with home. The form and assemblage aim to evoke an imagined occupation; to generate dissonances that suggest safety and refuge, yet exclusion and unsettledness.  Constructed with reclaimed timber from a demolished house, it explores the relationship between home as a psychological space, complex in associations: safety, play, and commune, as well as the juxtaposed conditions of insecurity, transience and fragility.
Sonia Payes
fibreglass, stainless steel
automotive paint, UV gel
250 x 125 x 125 cm
Sonia Payes is a photographer and new media artist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her current body of work explores dominant themes of rebirth and regeneration with a strong focus on the features of her muse and daughter Ilana, most recently her metamorphosis into the four-faced goddess. Additionally, an underlying subtext of fire and ice is representative of the destruction and transformation inherent within environmental extremes and quintessential of Payes’ oeuvre. 
Woman Series marks Payes's artistic progression from photography to sculpture, her transition from 2D image into 3D reality. Woman, 2016 presents a humanizing factor within the theme of regeneration, reiterating the inevitable cycle of birth and death, expressed through the presentation of the mercurial, four-faced matrix and is an extension of Payes’s photographic theme of humanity and female strength.
David Wood
copper, steel
350 x 600 x 20 cm
While exploring the manipulation of the linear plane, this piece is conceived through continuing questioning of my personal place on "the world stage" as artist and as an individual.  Using the draping of fabric to reference artistic movements through antiquity to the contemporary, two large free standing forged copper "curtains" frame and transfigure the landscape into a stage. Copper is chosen as the medium, as a precious metal and a pure element it has intrinsic cultural value. The physical challenge in making the piece is a performance in itself. I forge metals to imbue fluidity, transparency and levitation; my public works define, announce and guard physical space while privately exploring notions of identity and cultural connection. I hope this work will entice the wider community to perform, express and share stories to enhance pathos, logos and ethos. The corrugated aesthetic of the material belonging to Australian vernacular, curtains drawn, the next act is about to begin