One thing Morwell artist Mira Halpern-Wilson took away from her tertiary studies was the way a clay sculpture starts is not necessarily where it finishes.
"The unpredictability of it, I love it ... that [sculpture] that's got people climbing up it, I didn't know if the people were going to fall off or if they were going to stay," Ms Halpern-Wilson said.
The Federation University Visual Arts graduate is one of two in her cohort to receive the Latrobe Regional Gallery Emerging Artist Award and both artists' works are displayed in the main gallery at arc Yinnar.
In another piece little figurines peer out from windows, "just looking out onto the vast expanse of what their future might be".
Ms Halpern-Wilson looks to clay with a similar uncertainty when she begins and said it changes over time as she works with it slowly, not drying it too quickly and risking cracks.
One of her works started as two tubes which morphed together to become a single vase-shaped piece which collected cats, dogs and chickens inspired by her own interest in rescuing animals.
"For my sculptural ones, they're all based around the idea of rescue and escape," she said.
A person, seemingly bleeding from lacerations over their body was based on the famous photograph of a young Kim Phuc fleeing a napalm attack in the Vietnam War and shares a similar pose.
"But I couldn't make it stand up so I decided to sit it down," she said.
Ms Halpern-Wilson questions the point of Australia's mandatory detention policy with sculptures of asylum seekers, however, half of her exhibition simply is there to be "pretty".
In one piece she used doilies she bought from an op shop to create patterns and for another she has painted imagery of forests reminiscent of Australian sculptural artist Merric Boyd.
The other award recipient, Foster artist Juliette Reeve looked to the cosmos as inspiration for her acrylic resin pours.
"What I'm trying to portray in the work is we are part of nature, the universe and we should hang onto it; it's precious," Ms Reeve said.
The exhibition continues at arc Yinnar until August 5.