Victorian artist Mark Niglia's 'Jarlath' is one of the 30 works on display at Hanging Rock Winery.

Hanging Rock Winery’s Art in the Vines exhibition is underway, showcasing 30 unique works from local and international artists to bring the vineyards to life once again.

Now in its fourth year, the exhibition was created from a desire to add a special element to the winery’s cellar door experience, attracting works from established and upcoming artists to become the biggest sculpture exhibition outside of Melbourne in 2021.

General manager Ruth Ellis said the focus for this year’s exhibition was to be open to as many different works as possible to help artists following travel restrictions and difficulties as a result of COVID-19.

“So many of our artists live in Melbourne or New South Wales and they haven’t actually been able to get to their studios,” she said.

“On the flip side, they may have pieces that were destined for [significant shows], so they’ve got these amazing feature pieces and they want somewhere to show it.

“Having a theme [as in previous years] would really mess that up.”

The exhibition typically runs from October to March, however the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020 and 2021 meant the previous exhibition lasted much longer than anticipated.

“Realistically, last year’s [exhibition] only finished a couple of weeks ago,” Ms Ellis said.

“Either sculptors couldn’t come get their pieces or there’s been no one to see them anyway.

“Normally there’s almost an entire rotation [of sculptures] every year and there’s not too many permanent ones, so we’ve had to be flexible and hold onto a lot of them for this year.”

With about 80 per cent of the exhibition’s audience typically comes from metropolitan Melbourne, the winery is eagerly anticipating the full easing of restrictions and is keen to welcome people back to regional Victoria.

The exhibition is a free event and is set to run until April 25, 2022. It features works from multiple Macedon Ranges artists including Tim Jones and Anton Hasell.

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