The winners of the 2016 Miles Art Awards have been announced this evening during the awards and exhibition opening event at Tauranga Art Gallery.
The Miles Supreme Award and $5000 prize money was won by Alex Miln from Papamoa Beach with his entry Genuine miles. His work stood out to the judge Ane Tonga in a number of ways.
"It was a work that continually revealed a level of complexity that isn't obvious from a surface glance. There is an incredibly clever play on form, function and medium that kept me coming back to this work with intrigue," Miss Tonga said.
Graham Crow from Tauranga won the Friends of the Gallery Award and $500 prize money with his work titled Shift - greengold/magenta.
The Ethel McMillan Award and $250 prize has gone to Tauranga-based artist Tawhai Rickard for his work named Land or continent of great extent.
The Mayor's Award for Emerging Artist and $250 prize was won by Jlo (Juanita-Louisa) Karora with an impressive moving image work she has named 77x.
The entry that won the Supreme Award is not the only example of artist Alex Milne's recent success. In 2015, he was a finalist in the Wallace Art Awards and earlier this year a double finalist in the National Contemporary Art Awards.
Graham Crow and Tawhai Rickard are both established artists who have built a reputation within the Bay of Plenty and beyond, and Jlo Karora is an Art and Design student at the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic's Bachelor of Creative Industries.
Miss Tonga said she found the 'blind' judging process unlike anything she'd ever encountered before.
"As a curator, my approach to exhibitions starts from a point of research, taking time and consideration to understand the artists practice and then attempt to locate it within a local and international art history," she said.
"To have that aspect of my usual decision making removed was a challenge, however it also ensured a fairer process as it levels out the playing field."
She said she was very impressed with the variety of work that traversed a range of subject matters, art making traditions and mediums.
"Overall, the works entered showcased some innovative approaches to art making traditions which I'd attribute to the thriving arts scene in the Bay of Plenty region," she said.
The fourth biennial awards and exhibition at Tauranga Art Gallery, which started in 2010, has been generously supported by The Venetta Miles Trust. Venetta Miles was one of Tauranga Art Gallery's original donors, and with these awards she is being remembered for her foresight and generosity.
Tauranga Art Gallery received more than 100 entries for this year's awards, of which 32 works were selected as finalists. If not sold prior, all selected artworks can be purchased from Tauranga Art Gallery during the time of the exhibition. The show can be seen from August 12 until October 16, 2016.