UPDATE: ARTS VS SCIENCE will take place at CITY HALL in Lismore due to wet weather. The same program applies! Be there!
Lismore's Arts in August is throwing up all sorts exhibitions, performances, different types of arts practice, workshops and other events. The Arts vs Science Riverside Festival on the 24th August has us particularly intrigued though. We are perhaps more interested in the resonances than what separates the Sciences and the Arts. "The Arts vs Science Riverside Festival adds some magic to National Science Week by bringing together the arts and science communities to explore the role of arts and science in understanding and managing our natural world for a sustainable future." (Southern Cross University, http://scu.edu.au/space/index.php/84/)
There has been a long history of artistic practice and technique to document scientific discovery, although it probably wasn't called 'science' back in the early Renaissance, just as art was probably not called 'art'. For example, Leonardo da Vinci used beautiful charcoal and ink sketches to record human and animal anatomy. He also used his technical skills as an artist to show the workings and forces at play in his 'contraptions' and inventions. The latter predates the study, theory and laws of physics, however his understanding or conceptualisation of mechanical forces, propulsion and fluid dynamics, albeit rudimentary, are very much rooted in what we would call today mechanical engineering which is based on the science of physics.
Leonardo Da Vinci, sketch of one of his 'robotic' inventions.
Taxonomic illustration has also long been the realm of those with artistic skill to document nature - plants and animals of different species, families and phyla etc.
Do these forms of 'art' enter into the conceptualisation process of scientific discovery - the questions that frame hypotheses, postulate mechanisms and 'answers', and enter into the development of enquiry as part of what we may understand as scientific method? Did Charles Darwin use such material - artistic depiction and illustration of details of the natural world - to develop his Theory of Evolution? Did Leonardo conceive of his understanding of human physiology (the workings beyond the structural demonstration of anatomy) and his inventions from exploring his documentation and ideas visually?
Leonardo Da Vinci, sketches of human anatomy.
These questions have always been of interest - plus the bigger ones about the similarities and differences in the thinking of artists and scientists. Five hundred years or so ago, there were no "artists" or "scientists" - or at least, the words were not there to define them. They were just thinkers, but framed within doctrine that was often considered within the teachings of the church. Conversely, sometimes this 'thinking' was considered challenging to religious doctrine and was therefore viewed as heresy.
The interplay between various approaches to 'thinking' as applied in science or in the arts and creative endeavours has always held a personal interest. I trained many moons ago as a scientist and worked for nearly 15 years in scientific research and more mainstream scientific application in diagnostics associated with immunodeficiency and haemopoietic neoplasia (i.e. leukaemias and lymphomas). The thinking was very lateral and objectively-driven, but at a time when molecular biology was in its infancy, the mechanisms, interactions and interplay within complex networks of cytokines, chemical transmitters, cellular receptors etc were almost always interrogated and somehow understood through drawing and visualisation as part of the 'scientific method' - at least, from my own personal experience. Visualisation may have been more diagrammatic in these instances, but it was still a very useful 'language' to understand and communicate complex processes, deconstruct them, as well as indicate or conceive of certain questions, unknowns and avenues to inform further research.
A total career change to Landscape Architecture brought together "science" and "art" in much more concrete ways. The very nature of designing the landscape required the application of scientific knowledge regarding natural systems, soil chemistry and biology and horticulture. The "art" side of things revealed itself in the generation of design - the aesthetic conceptualisation of the 'whole' and its components - the physical experience of 'place', ephemeral qualities, cultural associations, memory (whose memory?), social layers and what may be understood as the 'spirit of place'. One could not generate a design without a fundamental understanding of site and its geomorphology, but also its human meaning and potential.
About 10 years ago, a friend, Landscape Architect, Barbara Steiner completed a Masters by Research entitled, "Planting strategies for toxic sites expressed as environmental art". This work was very much science-driven - the science of phytoremediation (i.e. the use of plants to remove toxins and pollutants from contaminated soil), but the application was very much from her visual arts and design backgrounds, with her 'arts' thinking 'painting' an holistic landscape using planting as her medium to express that artistic thinking. Barbara's design knowledge and skill was incorporated in the addition of layers of function and form - social, cultural and economic layers - and applying a "systems" knowledge that addressed the pragmatics of management, maintenance, disposal and the evolution of landscape, including its detoxification and remediation over time.
Science and art were inextricably linked in the processes of landscape intervention as a biological "machine' to drive sustainable outcomes and site re-creation. In this example, 'art' may be manifested as environmental art with the patterns formed by plantings as an expression of toxicity types and levels over a site or the various processes at play to remediate parts of a site, eg. monocultures, mixed meadows or structured plantings of trees, shrubs and groundcovers. It may also be manifested as interpretive environmental art - again through pattern-related expression of the processes at play or by introducing other elements such as sculptural forms/structures or 'graphic' elements to convey or be a part of underlying processes of rehabilitation.
Land art and rehabilitation of toxic site - Thames Barrier Park, London. (Design by Allain Provost, Groupe Signes, Paris and Patel Taylor, London).
Landscape architecture - design and plant selection for phytoremediation & rehabilitation of former industrial site - plus human use and appreciation - Lanschaftspark, Duisburg-Nord. (Design by Latz + Partners, Germany).
This is all a rather limited and simplistic discussion of the relationship between science and art in the context of phytoremediation, and more broadly, landscape rehabilitation, as one example of the application of science and art, but hopefully it indicates some of the inextricable threads of scientific and artistic thinking that may co-exist in managing the man-made world to approach environmental sustainability. This extends through professions such as Landscape Architecture, Environmental Science, Design and Management, Urban Design and Architecture, where theory associated with "green infrastructure" and best practice in design for ecological sustainability, as a scientific foundation, has increasingly become part of the 'art' of design and an informant and generator of design and aesthetic outcomes.
"Creative practices of ecology construct alternative forms of relationship and hybridisation between people, place, material and Earth" (James Corner, Landscape Architect, 1999).
There is so much more to think about here! We can only recommend getting along to the Arts vs Science Riverside Festival to explore relationships between science and art, and the many disciplines of each.
It is particularly important at this time in this country to participate in actively thinking about how we view science and art - their methods and applications. There seems to be so much pressure on both Science and the Arts to find a voice that is 'taken seriously' by both government and certain sections of the mainstream media. I won't get into the politics here, but there seems to be an emerging paradigm where science, the scientific method and what constitutes scientific theory (as opposed to the lay understanding of 'theory') are subject to disproportionately ill-informed and over-blown 'opinion'. The Arts have often been subject to misunderstanding and their value maligned in similar ways, although perhaps their relative subjectivity makes them an easy target. Arts and Humanities still have valid methodologies of research, data collection and analysis, however, with fields of endeavour that have just as much importance as pure science (eg. the social sciences, anthropology etc). Fine arts extends all of these fields by bringing humanity and nature together, expressing, questioning and challenging our relationships with each other and that with our physical world.
It's a fascinating topic and wonderful to see Southern Cross University opening up all sorts of discussion and thinking regarding science vs art.
The Arts vs Science Riverside Festival takes place under the auspices of the Northern Rivers Science Hub, Riverside Park, Lismore on Sunday, 24th August, from 10am to 4pm - as part of National Science Week and Lismore's Arts in August.
UPDATE: ARTS VS SCIENCE will take place at CITY HALL in Lismore due to wet weather. The same program applies! Be there!
The Channon Gallery launched it's Arts in August exhibition, "Of the Heart" last Sunday - just to make sure it was ready to go from the start of August. The exhibition celebrates all of our Lismore artists and features works from two new artists to the gallery, Anna Nordstrom and R. J. Poole - both exceptional in their very individual arts practices.
Now in its second year, Arts in August demonstrates its rapid coming of age, with all sorts of wonderful events, including bus and walking tours of exhibitions and cultural venues, the Bentley Art Prize, the interactive "An Afternoon of Artful Actions" on the 9th and the "Art vs Science Riverside Festival" on the 24th.
There is no excuse for the people of Lismore not to enjoy something 'creative', as the diversity is extensive. For people in Byron Bay, Bangalow, Lennox Head, the Tweed and elsewhere, a jaunt to Lismore might give a glimpse cultural values, experiments and excellence in all forms of the Arts that bubbles away west of the coast all of the time.
More information on all events is available at http://artsinaugust.com.au/.
Thanks to Lismore and Nimbin Tourism and their main supporters drawn from local business, the Lismore City Council and Creative Lismore.
Thanks also to Liz Shepherd from Dogwhistle Creative for her talents in setting up the website, the video below and the gorgeous graphic design associated with Arts in August!
There were lots of local followers of these two artists in attendance and others from Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Melbourne.
There is a lot more information on the artists and their work on our Stock Room pages - click HERE to have a look.
Below are a few photos taken at the exhibition - all by Marie Cameron ("A Woman with a Camera"). Marie takes photographs to promote people and events. Phone her on 02 6689 7329 or contact via email at a firstname.lastname@example.org.
Various works by Paul Roguszka and Laszlo Biro
The Tower by Paul Roguszka
Rainbow Pumpkin by Laszlo Biro at the end of the hallway
Paul Roguszka and Laszlo Biro standing in front of some of their stunning works
Works by Paul Roguszka and Scott Harrower (in a group showing at the rear of the gallery)
More of the group exhibition at the rear. Paul's work was spread throughout the gallery to give it some space.
Lisa admiring more of Paul's smaller pieces.
Paul and Peter
Happy gallery-owner, David.
Artist, Laszlo Biro, and just a couple of his beautifully-executed paintings.
Visitors from afar - Vanese and Vance.
Lisa and Paul's "Caldera Screen" - tactile, robust and beautiful (both of them).
Some of the crowd. They always end up on the street!
There are heaps of discounts on accommodation, meals, shopping and entertainment. Click on the link below to see them all.
The Channon Gallery is participating by offering substantial discounts on accommodation and meals in Lismore with the purchase of art. It encourages people to visit the gallery, which helps us, but also spreads the 'love' to other businesses in Lismore and hopefully assists the programme to encourage people to spend some more time here.
You do have to purchase art in order to take advantage of the special deals, but if you are that way inclined, we have a great diversity of works in different styles from some of the best of our local artists, plus a few from further afield. Click on the deals below to find out more, including applicable conditions (both should be close to the top left of the linked page). They run from now until the end of October, 2014.
Please note that it is possible for you to use the "Accommodation on Us" voucher with other offers provided by Accommodation Places in Lismore, as redemption of the offer by the gallery is completely independent of that by others. Potentially you could have a 2 or 3 night stay in Lismore for virtually nothing if you use our offer with another! We're happy to advise on places to stay, particularly in and around The Channon.
All images are from the Lismore Art+Food promotion pages - designed beautifully by DogWhistle Creative.
They are different in that one is all finely and meticulously crafted woodwork and the other is almost 100% figurative works. The latter by Laszlo Biro continues on from the high proportion of figurative works in our current, rather sumptuous exhibition, "3 Decades" by AñA Wojak.
The exhibitions are "The Greater Gourd" by Laszlo Biro and "Unique Signatures" by Paul Roguszka. Both artists are local (Casino and Blue Knob areas, respectively) and demonstrate excellence in their individual practices.
The launch for both exhibitions is on Sunday, 15 June at 3pm. Please come along, but RSVP would be appreciated.
We are really interested in this as Lindsay Hunt , a local artist and one of our gallery's stalwarts, is in the show. There are also a host of artists from Northern Rivers and the Mid-Coast.
The exhibition continues until 10 June. More information is available on the Arts Northern Rivers website.
Some photos are below of the opening (and featuring some of Lindsay's works). Many thanks to Julie, Zoe and their associated organisations for permitting us to share them here.
Our formal exhibition programme so far this year has been very diverse and focussed on presenting quality work by local and not-so-local artists. So far we have exhibited amazingly sublime works by Stuart Cussons and a group show of works by Soren Carlbergg, Graham Mackie and James Willebrant - all of high quality and very different to exhibitions elsewhere in Northern Rivers.
Our current exhibition is the first survey that we have done of an artist's visual arts career. Yet again, it is something very different in content to anything we have seen before - or exhibited before.
The work of AñA Wojak covers a period of just over three decades and explores an arts practice that is rooted very much in her eastern European origins, her relationship or exposure to religion, her interests in eroticism and her environment, and her artistic inspirations, drawn from many quarters including the abstract expressionists of the 1960s and later, including Mark Rothko.
Curatorially, there was not so much of a selection process, other than limiting too much repetition and endeavouring to use as many works as possible that covered AñA's career. It was very important, however, to present the work of the artist - not so much in a chronological way - but in the best way to present her work and give in to the splendour that her work evokes.
The word, "splendour", is not something that we would normally attribute to our exhibitions, no matter how beautiful they are. With AñA's exhibition though, the sum of the various parts add up to something that is indeed splendid. There is a richness and unique texture across the exhibition that comes from her use of metals, gold-leaf, rich oils and recycled timbers. There is boldness to her figurative works and a softness to her assemblage - and a haunting, luminous beauty to her abstractions on steel.
There is nothing in this exhibition that has been executed on canvas or linen, and the alternative "materiality" conjures an exhibition that indeed evokes splendour ... even awe.
The parts of the whole are worth looking at too, of course, and represent clear artistic attitudes and practice at various points in the artist's career.
It's really very interesting. To see a 'journey' and an evolution of artistic thinking is really quite special for anyone interested in art.
It's a very special exhibition, indeed - both the parts and the sum of the parts!
AñA's artistic practice continues - hopefully for a few more decades yet!
More on AñA's exhibition - HERE. For complete works available by the artist, please look in our STOCK ROOM.
Cities provide a rich field to explore the Arts, and the visual arts in particular. They are the homes of State art museums, fancy and not-so-fancy commercial galleries and interesting arts co-operatives.
Regional artists exist throughout the country and are both diffuse and concentrated. They are no less talented or worthy of advocacy, in comparison to their city ‘cousins’. Some are also fortunate to be well-represented in cities.
Government-run regional galleries, aside, there are a plethora of endeavours run by individuals, couples or groups of people in regional areas that act to advocate for local artists and support local culture through the visual arts. Their support often extends to investing their own cash and much time to do this. It often relies on people of goodwill, including volunteers and a small cohort of local art-buyers to keep things going. For those with extended and hard-won networks, there are regular or sometimes-buyers from outside of the local region as well.
The variety of galleries in our own region of Northern Rivers is pretty startling. There are commercial galleries like us, who have a regular exhibition programme and specialise in local artists. There are craft and art galleries, community-run enterprises, arts collectives and galleries run by sole artists. We all do something a little different, but we are all not in it for the money! That’s for sure!!
But then, we do need to at least be able to financially secure for what we do for local arts - eventually.
No matter what model of art gallery is being executed, a business plan is a must. This may be an evolving document, but it should clearly articulate what you are doing and why. We dislike the nomenclature, but a “vision” or “mission” statement accompanied by a rationale is very helpful.
Some idea of local opportunities and constraints (the SWOT analysis) is also helpful. It begins to tease out what may distinguish the gallery - how it offers something different to “competitors”. We tend to think of this as how we contribute to diversity and maybe also quality, in certain genres of the visual arts.
From this comes an understanding of aims to achieve the “vision” or “mission” of the endeavour and what objectives there are to fulfil those aims, acknowledging issues raised in the SWOT. This starts expanding into day-to-day objectives like presentation, cleaning away cobwebs and dust (a challenge out here in The Channon) and the way people are greeted when they enter the gallery. There are the more global issues too, like workplace health and safety, insurances, artist selection criteria and providing provenance documentation for sold works that live beyond the gallery and acknowledge the artist’s extended life as a creative force and perhaps also as a commodity (icky term, but it DOES happen).
Every gallery needs some sort of criteria for selection of the artwork that they exhibit - even community or co-operative ones. It is important to reputation and the general assessment of quality of the arts of a region as well.
There are a host of strategies and actions that need to take place to realise objectives. Some are more obvious and some take a bit of knowledge, advice or trial and error. Marketing is an example of the latter examples, and it can include blogs, social media and advertising - and all sorts of permutations and combinations.
It all sounds huge, but really, it’s just sitting back and thinking things through a bit - and documenting it, no matter how rudimentary. It’s amazing how it can expand upon a few revisits, a little more thinking and perhaps the odd glass of wine!
No matter how we might all advocate for the arts via our galleries, we all need a sense of what we are doing, why we are doing it and how we actually will do it. It’s not all about being hard-nosed business people. We all want great things for our artists though, and the visual arts in these beautiful places outside of cities.
Networks are very important too, and we are very fortunate to have links and some very close ones with local government, commercial and community arts advocates and galleries. Some of our artists, too, proffer some pretty insightful advice for which we are truly grateful.
Regional galleries play a significant role both locally and nationally. They are an interface between the local and its cultural exponents and creators. They are also be a window on regional artistic endeavours, and hopefully excellence, to the world!
We are still working on this. Advice is welcome! Likewise, we are up for conversations and sharing of knowledge and experience with others.
There is so much that regional arts practice, individuals and endeavours, can offer this nation and beyond. Cities are great, but they are just a part of the whole - not the whole, itself! Just ask some of the buyers of our art who come from the city!
5 April to 4 May, 2014
This exhibition by these three artists and friends from art school was recently shown at the Grafton Regional Gallery. We will be revising the show though, and adding works not previously shown. Different spaces demand different works to create a different experience!
The move further north in the Northern Rivers brings the exhibition closer to Soren's home here and gives us an opportunity to see the works of his mates, Graham Mackie (from the Grafton area) and James Willebrant - perhaps the most celebrated of the three due to his strong showing over the past 30-40 years in reputable galleries in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
There are very different styles from the three artists, who all went to art school together and have remained friends over the past 40 years. The works of all three are accomplished, with works on show that should appeal to a broad audience as well as individuals who like to really think about the art.
On the 11th and 12th March, the gallery was closed to act as a venue for the national launch of a new model of a vehicle in the Toyota stable.
The two days saw national journalists, flown into Coolangatta, for a 'mystery' drive in the new car through the Northern Rivers, landing for lunch at The Channon Gallery. The drive would have been an excellent way of putting the SUV through its paces - winding, scenic roads with plenty of rough bits!
There was a huge effort to convert the front of the gallery into a dining area. Maggie and Baz from BAM Promotions and Weddings set up the furniture (all great quality) and The Larder from Byron Bay did the rest, with prep areas, bar tables and buffet tables. Their food and service throughout both days was truly excellent! This is a bit of a rave, but the standard was so high - and all produced and executed in just a couple of hours each day.
Stuart Cussons' exhibition provided a sublime backdrop and porcelain items by Dawn Thirlaway and Michael Hallam helped add a 'Lismore artist' touch to the dining tables. More art work by artists from Lismore and Northern Rivers were on display out the back of the gallery, as well as a couple of large pieces from artists elsewhere to add some scale.
The whole promotional journey and event was organised by The Project Group from Sydney, and from what we could see, it all ran like clockwork. A big thanks to Kate Smailes from The Project Group for seeking us out and including us.
Anyway, it was something a bit different in the life of the gallery and eye-opening in terms of what can be done with so little, in such a short space of time and with such high quality!
A few snaps from the two days are below.
Currently we have Stuart Cussons exceptional work showcasing in the gallery.
It is a reason to celebrate, but also brings with it, not inconsiderable vexation. Why?
Well, if I may be candid, it underscores two things that I hate about the “Art world”. The propensity for some people to be visually lazy; and the assertion that the work is simplistic, obvious, and could be deftly fashioned by a child; unsurprisingly, the lazy viewer’s child.
I don’t get it. Why they don’t get it.
If Stuart’s work were in the Tate/Whitney/MOMA, (or even GOMA, only 200km away!), it would be greeted very differently I suspect. At least in such spaces, most folk would stop, engage with the work, and at least think: “I don’t really understand this (or like it), but it’s here in this ‘important’ place, the work must be of some significance, and so I’ll persist and spend some more time with it”.
Hey, I could be wrong, but I do suspect that a major gallery brings a gravitas that does indeed help the appreciation of the artwork in many people’s eyes.
My point is that I’m naive enough to argue that the work should be admired and respected regardless of the vessel containing it. The reality is that presentation, and the blessing of the Art Gods, (critics, curators, and people that know about this stuff), does indeed matter; and the public respond in kind. Packaging has for centuries, been at the heart of consumption. And for God’s sake spare me the pious bullshit that Art is NOT for consumption - it is, it’s an industry Virginia, and it needs engagement on a commercial level for artists & galleries to survive. We’re a great distance from the Whitlamesque funding utopia these days. Have you checked the priorities of the current corporatist Junta government? (End of rant).
I suppose I’m troubled by lack of quiet enjoyment and reflection of the work by many people entering the gallery. Oh, to be sure, some folk do spend more than 5 seconds admiring the work and at a point between then and 5 minutes, walk away just a little more curious, a little more uplifted, and perhaps, infected with wonderment. The rest, zoom past the epic panels, oblivious to the great subtlety contained within them. How I want to leap at them and urge them to look again, with quietude, introspection, and surprised discovery!
If you haven’t seen Stuart’s work, I strongly urge you to do so. If you cannot physically be here, please go online and (imperfectly) witness them; we have a youtube interview with the man as well!
Stuart’s artwork cannot rationally be described as “simplistic”, it certainly can not be accused as being “obvious”; and it most assuredly cannot be replicated by one’s child; however strong the temptation to invoke some misguided Freudian Ego extension may be! The exhibition is literally stunning. It not so much sings as quietly whispers. It is a whisper that haunts.
As a non-artist, I stand in still, respectful awe at these things on the wall. I am certain that I could NEVER fashion such marvelous things of quiet, profound beauty.
Art needs to be admired, witnessed, pondered upon. As the old axiom goes, “Art without an audience is meaningless”.
But what do I know?
At the end of the day it could be that people simply don’t like the stuff ... it’s a funny ol’ world innit?!
The exhibition is comprised of works that continue Stuart's exploration of painting and working in 3D, with all new works made up of painted works on panel which were assembled at the gallery prior to the exhibition. The exceptions were a small work and a sculpture in steel - a 'self-portrait' with a very modern twist!
Stuart's exhibition presented us with some very bold (and large) pieces - each with its own sense of tranquility, quiet sophistication and slight tension. The works really required their own space and it was a great opportunity to pare back the gallery quite a bit and totally refresh it, following on from our summer showings of a large number of artists and their works.
Stuart's exhibition continues until the end of March. It may not be for everyone, but just about all who have seen it so far, have said how beautiful it is. We concur!
A selection of diverse works by a number of artists are on show at the rear of the gallery.
Some pics from the launch are below.
We have just started to publish some 'room simulations' of a few choice pieces of artwork from each artist to the Artist Stock Room pages to allow for a better understanding of the size and proportions of artwork and how they work with rooms when they are hung. The photos of rooms for use in this endeavour were purchased from Fotolia (Stock Photos) and are probably a bit different to the typical household, due to their minimal character. They do seem to help visualise how an artwork might actually fit (or not) into one's own abode or office, though.
We won't be posting room simulations for each artwork - just a selection to give an idea of various sizes and shapes. We've only just begun on this, so there are still quite a few artworks and artists to go!
Some examples are below.
A Soren Carlbergg piece.
A diptych by Steven Perrin.
A stunning work comprising panels by Stuart Cussons.
A piece by Marika Bryant.
A piece by Lily Kelly Napangardi.
A quintyche by Yvonne Mills-Stanley.
A perfect setting for this piece by Lindsay Hunt.
Another by Lindsay Hunt.
A piece by Imbi Davidson.
A piece by Greg Mallyon.
Another work comprising panels by Stuart Cussons.
There are the usual ways, like upfront payments via cash, EFT and credit card, but a way to make things more affordable is to purchase by lay-by. Typically this requires a 20% deposit and instalments made over 3 months, but sometimes terms can be extended.
The Channon Gallery offers most items on lay-by and extended terms on certain items (subject to approval) and 'home lay-by' (take-home upon payment of deposit) to approved purchasers. Shipping costs can also be stretched over an extended period, where they apply.
Some art work can be pretty pricey, depending on the artist and the size of the work, but with a median price of $880 for the art work that we exhibit here (i.e. half is under $880 and half is over), the lay-by option can really help in the acquisition of something original and special.
Anyway, it's just a thought, wherever you might view art. If you love it, there are ways that its purchase might just be possible!
To all who have passed through our doors, admired the work of our artists, 'liked' us on Facebook, glanced at our website and, especially, advocated for us either locally or nationally - we thank you all and wish you all a wonderful Christmas or whatever particular event you may celebrate at this time of the year. Our culture is wonderfully diverse, but equally wonderfully, the highpoint of summer (in Australia) brings people together to commune with each other, demonstrate goodwill and consider with gratitude the highlights of the year.
At The Channon Gallery, we have so much to grateful for - our artists, visitors and the people who purchase our artists' work. The place is pretty special too and there are many who continue to act as strong advocates for us and what we do here. To name just a a few Mayor of Lismore, Jenny Dowell, Councillor Isaac Smith (Lismore City Council), Peter Wood and the whole gang at Arts Northern Rivers, Brett Adlington, Director of the Lismore Regional Gallery and his staff, Mitch Lowe and Andrew Walker plus the ladies who work at Lismore & Nimbin Tourism, Kirilly Perdergast from Common Ground Byron Bay and Lismore, Simone and Liz at Elindale House B&B in Lismore, Wendy and Peter at Byron Plantation luxury self-contained accommodation, all of the crew at Apartments Inn at Byron Bay and Paula & Paul from Lakesong Pet-Friendly Accommodation at Lennox Head.
There are many more to thank as well, notwithstanding our Facebook 'likers' and people who regularly comment, share and like our posts. That's you Jenni, Anna, Natsky, Maria, Maria, Susan, Susan (not a stutter), Daniel, David, Misch, Matt, Christine, Heather, Laidy, Shirley, Leunam, Lisa, Zdenka, Virginia and Lyn. We hope you know who you all are! Just a bit reluctant to post surnames. Apologies also if we missed anyone!!
Right here in The Channon, Fiona McConnachie has been a treasure. A volunteer helper, labourer and curator, Fiona continues to bring her Arts background, humour and muscles to keep us going. We couldn't be more humbled and grateful for her input!
Finally, but certainly not in the least, are our artists. We won't name them all as they are all listed on our website - and they are all great! Marika Bryant, Lindsay Hunt, Stuart Cussons, Sue Adler, Matthew Shepherd, Susan Gourley and Soren Carlbergg have all made a difference with their friendship throughout the year and have been a real boost to our sometimes failing energy levels! Thanks also to Marika for her assistance in re-organising the gallery post-renovations ... and for lending us her husband!
The Year That's BeenAt the beginning of the year, we thought that we would cut down on exhibitions so that there was one every two months. This was to give us a breather, due to the effort it takes, front and back of 'house' to mount an exhibition, plus the expenses associated with solo or duo shows, launches etc. Anyway, that all went out the window!
Some of the highlights for us this year are:
Steven Perrin's solo exhibition in March-April;
the Imbi Davidson and Tony Leitch duo show around the same time;
Stuart Cussons solo exhibition of absolutely sublime works in April-May;
a trio show of works by Annique Goldenberg, Leanne Stewart Haugh and Heather Matthew - all fantastic and so different - also in April-May;
Julie DeLorenzo's solo exhibition in July-August with works that were a huge departure (and a very welcome one) from her more well-known practice;
a solo exhibition we curated for Imbi Davidson at Arts Northern Rivers at Alstonville;
Marika Bryant and Karyn Fendley exhibiting together in August-September;
Rikki Fisher's solo exhibition, September-October, and
more recently, the Julie Corbet and Marie-lise Laviolette exhibition held over November to early December.
There were also a few group shows which allowed us to slot in a whole lot of new work and new artists. It's been great to welcome works by Kelly Sullivan, Paul Raguszka, Mitchell O'Mahoney, Dan McDonnell, Susan Gilmour, Laszlo Biro, John Thomas Turner and Steven Giese, plus continue to show works-as-they-come from our existing artists who continue to stick with us.
On a profoundly sad note, the Northern Rivers lost artist, Dawn Thirlaway to cancer. We miss her still but are lucky to have so many of her wonderful works in porcelain to view and exhibit. There was so much work from Dawn's estate to catalogue - and we aren't quite finished yet - but so much of it is now on display for everyone to appreciate. We're thinking of you Amber, and your Mum, particularly at this time of year.
Fiona McConacchie & Dawn Thirlaway
Lastly, the other big news from 2013, was that we put in some new walls, tracks and lighting in our rear gallery space. This has only really been fairly recent and we are still coping with the ramifications of altered spatial quality, but we are pretty pleased. We can finally hang more work - plus smaller work - out the back without it being lost in the void that it was.
Stop by and have a look soon! New exhibitions are just underway (check out the EXHIBITIONS page) and there's a lot of new work.
In the meantime, 'Happy Holidays', stay safe and we look forward to engaging with you in 2014.
Difference is all about identity; sexual identity.
This is acutely the case for many gay people. They are defined by their difference and in stark contrast to the heteronormative paradigm that pervades society. Some welcome that difference and many others seek to ‘normalise’ themselves into a more mainstream existence or just end up going that way. Neither is wrong. On one hand, there is the confirmation of human rights and the ability to share the laws, rights and opportunities that apply to heterosexual unions. Then, regarding the latter, there are also those who wish to reside at the edges of mainstream culture and recognise other modes of relationship, conjugation and engagement in the sexual side of life. This is always personal, but may be embraced as an almost anarchistic sensibility - why try to fit a 'square peg into a round hole', after all? Why be concerned with square pegs and round holes at all?
Desire - what we humans crave sexually, visually, emotionally.
People, bits of people, circumstances.
This is as individual as there are individuals, but there are commonalities as well as divergences in what constitutes desire - how lust is satiated and the enigma of where real affection may lie within this - whether it does at all.
Desire is what propels us, as sentient beings and as sexual beings. It gives life purpose. In the gay world, it is often the modus operandi - not always, but OFTEN. It may be seen as hedonistic, but is often a mask for just being and engaging or connecting with another human being. The context may be very different (largely) to a heterosexual experience of dealing with desire and its accompanying rituals - dinner, conversation, flirting, slow walks, seduction etc - to put it in maybe a cliched, but altogether not inaccurate way. Gay people do this too, but there are many opportunities and occasions where it is much more visceral and so much more about ‘carpe diem’ and ‘go-for-it’ when there is opportunity. Desire is also about so much more - possessions, status and cash etc. Despite the latter being so, we are focusing more on the sexual and ‘what-comes-naturally’ in this exhibition, though.
Destiny. Both self defined and imposed by the Gods.
Looking for love & partners; the futility, (sometimes), and intense longing when you are different - finding a lover, and more importantly, finding yourself.
Destiny is perhaps also a function of time and geography. Depending where you are or in what time you have lived, your destiny is shaped by your context, your culture … Sometimes that very thing breeds persecution and human rights abuses. Conversely, it sometimes shapes a cultural ‘tolerance’ (a less than optimal word) that every human being can expect just for being human.
Throughout history, humanity has dealt with religious and state persecution (eg. the Nazis), and continues to deal with newer threats in the world in regard to people who are not heterosexual or do not fit the heteronormative ‘picture’ of humanity whether they are straight, gay or otherwise. These threats are obvious and some are very slippery and almost invisible as a real threat in the delivery of their message. Respectively, they include a number of African regimes, the Westborough Baptist Church, Putin and the anonymous purveyors of sexual alienation and discrimination in Russia, and Tea Party sympathisers in Australia and the US.
This exhibition manifests components - and thinking - of all of the above. It does not endeavour to be all-encapsulating, despite the profound nature of what it means to be identified as 'different' sexually. There is also an emphasis here on male sexuality and homosexuality. This is not necessarily by choice, but is part and parcel of what our artists have offered us - artists who are homosexual and artists who are heterosexual. They all see the confusions as well as universal themes - and some very specific ones - when it comes to exploring sexual identity, the nature of desire and how that colours one’s destiny.
There is a hegemony associated with these issues and they are being played out now in our society. There are ‘warm and fuzzy’ notions of equality (and rightfully so, in a human rights context). There is also the suggestion of what is lost by ‘normalising’ difference and diminishing diversity to form some sort of homogeneity. There is the confrontation with what may be seen as ‘acceptable’ sexual practice - the conduct of sex - no matter how it occurs - with marriage, between partners or more anonymously in the search for an answer to desire or something more.
Is it anyone’s business? Really?
Concurrently, we happily celebrate 25 years of Tropical Fruits in Lismore - their championing of the GLBTI community, and support of acceptance, or at least tolerance, of those beyond heteronorms. Lismore Regional Gallery is currently hosting an exhibition of 25 Years of Inclusion, a collaboration between the Gallery and Tropical Fruits Inc. Their exhibition continues until 26 January, 2014.
Please note; Difference, Desire & Destiny is a restricted exhibition due to the inclusion of a few works of a homoerotic and somewhat explicit nature that are unsuitable for children - and may be offensive to some adults.
More information on the exhibition is available by clicking on the image below.
The launch is at 3.00pm on that day.
(Image: “The Company Secretary”, Lindsay Hunt)
I told you in my last post that the latency would be removed, and, so, here am I waxing lyrical again!
The renovations continue to delight & vex us in equal amounts. The front gallery has been re-hung (thanks to Peter), and we have a grand selection of wonderful art to view whilst we continue to work on the rear space; so please, come and drop in, say hello, and admire the selections we’ve chosen.
Today, we had a visit from two lovely travellers from Cambridge. They were delighted with what we had on show, and what we had to say. Coming from the cultural richness of Europe, they had many insightful comments regards our venture.
One of the recurring comments we receive from visitors from cities, here and beyond, is that they are somewhat surprised that we we do what we do, and indeed, where we do it. And this intrinsically raises the question:
Art outside the cities ...
What's good about it? Why bother?
Just this week, we have sold paintings to collectors located in the eastern seaboard of the USA. They found us and our artists via our extensive web presence - wonderful (and kind of surprising)!
Nonmetropolitan regions attract artists and other people working in the creative sphere.
(Not) surprisingly, the country provides succor and inspiration.
It generates community. That happens in the city too, but the environment is maybe more competitive and a little relentless in a number of ways.
It breeds networks, groups and individuals who work that little bit harder to generate an audience and patrons.
It generates creative means of entrepreneurship for the limited audience.
It generates creative partnerships.
That happens in the city too. Sometimes, it is more organised there, through institutions and programs/grants. Sometimes it is through more independent means through a centre of gravity/critical mass that a city can generate.
In the country, it is often more ‘made’ and deliberate, through seeking out, talking, word-of-mouth and getting out there. Local government helps too, as do regional peak arts bodies/organisations.
Exhibition launches in the country are maybe not quite so fashionable, compared with the city, and are not seen as something of a society event. They are social and are as much about catching up as viewing art and celebrating the work of local artists.
Artists are the same though. They still evolve and follow their own paths - no matter where they reside. Maybe their paths end up a little differently to their city cousins as their influences may diverge. We haven't seen that though. City artists still paint rural landscapes. Regional artists still produce work that could reside in the realm of urban art, for example; and we happily have a number of works of this leaning. There is all that which is in between as well.
Art happens everywhere. Quality is to be found everywhere - just as mediocrity is.
Regional areas are another source of artistic treasures and there are many non-artists in those places who are committed to advocating for them and their producers. Government-run galleries do it, as do independent/commercial galleries, community galleries, artist-run initiatives (individual and collective) and arts organisations (Arts Northern Rivers; Accessible Arts!!).
We are both happy and delighted to be a part of this!
Give them all a try. Give us a try!
Live long & prosper!
An overdue ‘word’ from the Company Secretary.
(Image: “The Company Secretary”, Lindsay Hunt)
It’s almost the end of 2013. Can you believe it?!
We’re little more than 2 years young and it feels strangely odd, yet satisfying to see how far we’ve come in this short time. The past 12 months especially have been a time of trials, surprises and indeed, wonder.
A small gallery with hopes and dreams, in the middle of nowhere no less, is still here and doing well; much to the delight of our artists, patrons and ourselves. Our biggest challenge (how I hate that word), has been the past month or so when we have realised that we had a need to re-think our space (amongst other things).
We have embarked upon re-shaping our rear gallery space in the hope of best utilisng our wall space. If I had a dollar for everyone who has walked in there proclaiming in an almost breathless fashion:
“Oh, what a lovely feel!”. Yes, it may have had so; but it has been a vexing place to hang effectively since day one. So, finally, it was time to do something about it. Make it more practical, utilitarian, and optimise what can happen back there. It needed a fresh coat of paint - literally & metaphorically.
New walls have been erected that enable not only more space, but allow a more coherent flow of vision for the viewer. We now have 2 discreet eyelines for people to enjoy. Stage one is almost complete; stage two … well it’s coming … this all takes time and money and not an inconsiderable interruption to the day to day operations here. It’s hoped that by November, the first stage will be complete; new walls, paint, electrics, illumination etc. etc. An eight seater table has been installed allowing patrons to sit and browse our website/catalogue whilst at the gallery; a fast big screened iMac is there to do your bidding. (Please remember that we have free WiFi whilst you are here, and we invite you to use your laptop/tablet/phone if you should choose to do so. We may not have mobile coverage, but we do have a fiercely fast internet available!).
A huge thank you is in order to our loyal partons over the past 12 months - you know who you are!
An equally sincere thanks is due to our artists who have believed in us and helped to make The Channon Gallery continue and grow.
If you are one of our few thousand of Facebook followers, an enthusiastic thank you too for keeping our online presence real and invigorated - we love your contributions. And those of you who haven’t physically been here yet, a warm and open invitation exists for you to drop in; we would love to meet you.
This blog post is long overdue I realise, and it’s sobering how the sheer amount of day to day work in a gallery can easily prevent a regular post. For those of you who expected more posts recently, my apologies, and my sincere promise that this latency will be a thing of the past, again, thanks to all who keep believing in what we do and how we do it; really - thank you.
Live long and prosper.
Our thanks to local builder, Paul Willis (ph. 0439 776 241) and his assistants, Heinrich and Nigel.