The three artists are long-time friends, each with an arts practice that has developed over a number of decades following studies together at the National Art School.
Read more about the exhibition and each of the artists HERE.
The exhibition is launched on Saturday, 5th April at 3pm. All are welcome. Call or email to RSVP or click on the image below and RSVP using the form link on the Exhibition page.
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 McDonell, 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, so if you interested in coming along, please just RSVP by clicking HERE.
Click on the image below to enlarge and for more information visit the exhibition page - HERE.
(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.
The exhibition, entitled "Stripes - A Touch of the Wild", continues Rikki's exploration of wildlife in art, drawing upon inspiration that arose during a recent trip to Africa and manifested in the unusual medium of scratchboard.
Scratchboard is a clay coated hardboard panel that is then coated with Indian ink. Using various sharp tools to scratch into the ink layer, the clay underneath shows through. For added dimension, coloured inks can be added to the white clay areas revealed and then scratched again for additional highlights and volume.
A medium with an early history in the printing of single-colour books and newspapers, scratchboard has seen a renewal in recent years at the hand of artists, entering the field of fine art.
Rikki is a great exponent of this art form, winning the top award (Gold - Best in Show) for the Open category at the 2nd International Society of Scratchboard Artists (ISSA) show in Vancouver earlier in 2013. Those of you who have seen some of her scratchboard work previously will be able to attest to its visual impact and the intricacy of each piece.
The exhibition is to be launched on Sunday, 15th September. Click on the invitation below for details. It's a great opportunity to meet Rikki and have a chat about her work. More information and images associated with the exhibition are here. Lots more to be added!
It's been quite a massive undertaking and, if nothing else, has coalesced so many great local arts resources and events for presentation to the public - local and of a broader audience.
At our gallery, we haven't really done all that much that is special, other than ensuring that we plug into the Arts in August program and take every opportunity to promote the program as a whole, plus individual events.
We participated in the village tour of arts happenings, with David giving a guided tour of the gallery, our current exhibitions and our many local artists. Last weekend, we also hosted the Channel Seven Sydney Weekender crew for filming in the gallery (to be shown in October, we think). They filmed The Channon Markets, the Lismore Regional Gallery and many other spots around Lismore, including places to stay, like the gorgeous Elindale House in Lismore. Lots of our artists work on show there too!
More interviews coming up this weekend!
Arts in August is still in full swing. Click on the image below to see more of what's on for the remainder of the month.
Imbi's exhibition, entitled "Unchartered Territories", curated by The Channon Gallery, was launched int he Arts Northern Rivers exhibition space on Wednesday evening, 10th July, to a tiny but enthusiastic crowd. The weather was horrible which probably had something to do with the poor turnout, but on the bright side, it was easier to chat to people - and the artist - and there was no jostling with wine-in-hand to view Imbi's beautiful work.
Just a few of pics below of the launch. More to see on Arts Northern Rivers' Facebook page and their on-line gallery at this LINK.
Imbi's exhibition will be available for viewing at Arts Northern Rivers, 2/5 Bruxner Highway, in Alstonville (turn-off from the new bypass) until the end of August. Since the work is distributed throughout exhibition and office space, it is best to give them a call on 6628 8120 to check on timing. If you are an artist or involved in creative endeavours, it could also be a welcome opportunity to check out the wonderful work that the Arts Northern Rivers people do in this region.
They create their work often in isolation and in a very private, introspective space. Their process of creation is their own, just as their outcomes are. There may be influences that are apparent, common themes with other artists, and sometimes a familiarity in expression. Authenticity is not always a given, but with the artists we know, their work seems to be very much their own and drawn from their own experience and individual process.
Then a quandary arises - how to give over the work of the artist to a gallery to exhibit on their behalf? The output of their creation is so close to them - as it should be - that the act of entrusting to someone else seems an anathema to the process of creation in the first place.
This is the very reason why the artist needs to step back. They are too close to the work, and in some cases, it is a body of work. Sometimes it demonstrates a progression and not necessarily a series of 'finished' outcomes. There is much that is worthy, but then, sometimes, the odd piece that is unresolved, but held dear by the artist. In short, every work created and offered, is not always the best to represent that artist, despite the effort and emotional attachment imbued in it.
Goodness knows we are still learning this. We try to learn as much as we can of the artists and their work - often, each piece of their work - from the artists, themselves. We also learn from our mentors, many of whom are 'mature' artists, from collectors and the diverse art-loving public who enter our doors. (We tend to ignore the input of the non-art-loving public looking for pots, doilies and something painted on velvet!). We also trust our 'gut' , our initial visceral and emotional responses to the work and the 'relationships' we form with the work as we become more familiar with it. We try to understand how the work adds distinction and how it 'converses' with works of other artists - in-house, elsewhere and from history.
Then there is the physicality of the gallery. Gallery curators know their exhibition spaces better than anyone. They know how their hanging systems work and how their lighting brings the best response from certain types of framing, media etc. The gallery understands the impact of the first impression of walking through the door - what scale, massing, negative space and image can impart.
The Artist knows their work that has been so lovingly created - and sometimes created with a sense of both ease and apprehension. The Curator knows how to exhibit it and how to posit it in reference to the physical space, and where appropriate, the work of other artists. This reference can be physical, philosophical and sometimes as lurid as commercial! Regarding the latter, sometimes potential buyers of art compare and weigh up value of what is available to view - the expense of work by a mid or late career artist versus something more affordable by an artist who is emerging or early in their career - given that compared works are 'liked' similarly by the potential buyer. We always maintain, though, that if you don't love it - don't buy it - no matter who the artist is!
This is the reality of running an independent gallery with NO government funding or NO support other than by the sale of work by artists who entrust their work for exhibition and sale. The work almost always speaks for itself, but sometimes, we need to put in our two cents worth too - usually when it comes to weighing up options and teasing out what works are really loved by a potential buyer - and not necessarily the spurious inclinations to match various items of decor.
Artists should have input into the nature of the exhibition associated with a review of their work (i.e. a historical catalogue of their arts practice), with installation and where there is a strong linear narrative - but little else! As an aside, most artists we know, are not linear - but cyclic and helter-skelter!
Artists do need to let go, when they are invited to exhibit in ANY gallery. Let the curator love the work and exhibit it to its best, responding to an understanding of physical constraints and opportunities of the gallery in which it is exhibited, and the nature of the work. There are alternatives to giving over this 'control' - renting gallery space and paying for marketing, websites, printing, launches, catering and the like, in lieu of commission on sales. That's a huge risk for the artist though. This path that has been recommended to us as a venue, but is distasteful as it does nothing to advocate for, or celebrate talent, distinction or excellence in the Northern Rivers.
Why be involved in the visual arts in this place, if it can't be based on some sort of integrity that acknowledges that of the arts and artists that reside here?
Independent galleries take those financial risks mentioned, ALL of the time - often cognisant of the commercial potential the artist's work (for that is their only method of recompense) but more often than not, just solely on the belief in the artist and their work. In our case, the latter is VERY often! Some other independent galleries do this too. Some play it really safe and are purely about what sells. That's fair enough. Everyone should be able to earn and eat.
We try to acknowledge any specific request by an exhibiting artist in relation to their exhibition, but in the end it's our gallery. We pay for it (and each and every exhibition) and stick our neck out every single day that we occupy our space. Artists need to relinquish a little vanity, despite the amazing efforts in the creation of their work. Beyond that, it is the gallery that provides the venue and staffing to convey the work of the artist to others - and hopefully sell it to those who fall in love with it.
Please afford a little respect to the gallery (any gallery), just as we/they do for each and every artist - as well as as followers, collectors and visitors. We do respect the work. Just about all galleries worth their salt do.
If we didn't have any respect for the artist, their work wouldn't have the opportunity to be in this gallery … at all!
The weather was damp, to say the least, and the launch event crowd a little smaller than usual, but Julie's work was enthusiastically received and the atmosphere was brightened considerably by musicians, Donato Rosella and Sam D'Aprila. They played a multitude of instruments beautifully.
We thank all those who attended, and the many who travelled quite a distance in the inclement conditions to get there.
Some photos from the launch and the exhibition may be viewed at the link below (opens in a new window). Julie's exhibition continues until Sunday, 28th July.
Our exhibitions are "Wabi - the quality of voluntary poverty", a solo exhibition by Stuart Cussons and "Perpetual Possibilities", a group show by emerging artists (and good mates), Annique Goldenberg, Leanne Stewart Haugh and Heather Matthew.
In his solo show, Stuart Cussons explores the 'philosophy' of Wabi which values a simple and austere beauty. This concept has underpinned Stuart's work for some time and is manifested in his deceptively simple 2D and 3D works.
More information on Stuart's exhibition is available on our Exhibition pages, here.
Our group show, "Perpetual Possibilities" brings together works by Annique Goldenberg, Leanne Stewart Haugh and Heather Matthew who explore shared memory (between artist and viewer) and shared perceptions (again between artist and viewer) of their individual subjects - landscape, water, environment, time and the universe, and the way we access them, 'read' them and come to understand them.
More information on 'Perpetual Possibilities' is available on our Exhibitions page, here.
While it was perhaps the hottest day we had had since the height of summer, it was a very relaxed atmosphere, with people spilling out of the gallery onto the footpath as well as viewing the work inside and chatting to Steven, Imbi and Tony.
We were thrilled to have other exhibiting artists there as well, including Stuart Cussons, Susan Gourley, Shaun C Murphy, Paul Raguszka, Matthew Shepherd and Anne Wheeler and sometimes exhibitor, Scott Harrower. It was also great to have the company of Mayor, Jenny Dowell plus so many familiar faces.
Thanks to all who attended! Special thanks to those who bought some art too!!
Some photos taken at the event are at the link below. Photographs by David Corazza and Fiona McConnachie.
We thought it timely as we are increasingly called upon to make the odd presentation to tourism delegates, plus it shows new artists what to expect before they land here. We have a few of the latter on our books who haven't ventured out this way yet!
Hopefully it also demonstrates that while we may be a small country gallery in the 'middle of nowhere' (a perception of some), we are also perhaps a destination for viewing quality work from local artists and an adjunct and support to the significance of the Northern Rivers as a place of great creative diversity and interest.
It's probably best viewed in YouTube so that you can make the screen a bit bigger.
With over 40 of Soren’s amazing pieces on show, attendees revelled in the diversity of size, form and mood apparent in Soren’s work. Many new faces were there and some long time supporters of the gallery were also in attendance - thanks to you all!
Marika Bryant, artist/writer opened the show in great form and our dear friends, Deb and Shane from Richmond Hill Sauces were on hand for great stories, as well as offering a taste of their delicious sauces and other condiments.
Many people approached us during the evening and commented positively on Soren's art and its presentation; comments that were genuine, as we sold seven pieces that evening. Again, thanks to you all for supporting our artists.
The show has caused quite a buzz in this very early stage, and we urge you all to come and see Soren’s beguiling work. It’s not your usual show; his pieces vary in size and are modestly priced. If you are considering acquiring a wonderful original artwork or just want a great visual experience, this is probably a good show to catch up on.