Finding beauty in likely and unlikely places

Two quite different but equally compelling bodies of art created by Melbourne Grammar School students are currently hanging in the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) as part of the 2023 Top Arts exhibition.

An annual event, Top Arts showcases some of the most outstanding works of art created in VCE Unit 3|4 Art or VCE Unit 3|4 Studio Arts in the prior year.

Studies in connection and loss

Family, love and connection lie at the heart of Hugo Martin’s (OM 2022) exceptional art works on display at the Top Arts exhibition. Using a combination of digital drawing and oil painting, Hugo’s series titled Father and Poppy visually represents Hugo’s relationship with these important figures in his life.

By isolating images of his father and grandfather and making them dominant in his designs, Hugo has seemingly captured some of his finest memories as beautiful pieces of art.

In contrast, Elio Ongarato focused on finding beauty in things lost or broken through his photographic series Transience which is also on display in the exhibition. Currently a Year 12 student at Melbourne Grammar, Elio studied VCE Unit 3|4 Art while in Year 11.

As a starting point, using well researched techniques, Elio took photographs of car wrecks in a car yard. He searched for small details which demonstrated the fragility of life and, through thoughtful image construction, presented the beauty which could be uncovered in their abstraction.

Inspiring others to follow

Hugo’s and Elio’s inclusion in the Top Arts exhibition reflects their talent and dedication to their craft. Their success is also having a positive impact on others at the School.

On a recent excursion to view the exhibition, Henry Sutton, a Year 11 student currently studying VCE Unit 3|4 Art said: “It is motivating to see people who have had access to the same resources and the same opportunities as me being recognised for their work. It provokes me to ask – if my peers are able to do this, what can I do?”

“Seeing the work of other students hanging in the NGV makes it seem like a career in Art might be a possibility for me,” adds Tom Sangster, a Year 11 student who is also studying VCE Unit 3|4 Art this year.

You can read more about Hugo’s and Elio’s stories and view single pieces of their exhibition pieces here.

The 2023 Top Arts exhibition is currently being staged at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square until 9 July 2023, with free entry.

Studying Art at Melbourne Grammar School

Hear Year 12 student, Hugh O’Brien, talk about how he pursues his passion for Art at the School.