End of 2014 Gallerist Musings

2014 - The year that was! It was a huge year for the gallery with lots of shows and some new insights on advocating for the Arts and Artists outside of cities.
We have had a punishing exhibition calendar this past year, reflecting our more ‘generalist’ 'art gallery' nature - mostly solo shows. Some highlights included AnA Wojak’s retrospective of over 3 decades, Stuart Cussons’ most beautiful “Surface Tensions” of painterly works with a three-dimensional and highly-resolved, minimalist edge and more recently, Matthew Shepherd’s “Worlds Apart”, photography that approaches the finest, contemporary art practice in terms of distilling the subject matter into something that is both recognisable and ambiguous in reality, and which evokes an emotional connection on some level.


AñA Wojak - "3 Decades"
(WARNING: Images may be a 'no-show' with older web browsers, particularly Internet Explorer)

Stuart Cussons - "Surface Tensions" - all set up for the national launch of the Toyota Kruger latest model.


Matthew Shepherd - "Worlds Apart"

There have been group shows too. Most notable to us were “Difference, Desire … Destiny” at the beginning of the year - our first ‘adults only’ exhibition due to its overt, sexually-charged content - and “Of the Heart”, a group show of Lismore-only artists. The latter was very special to us as it brought together many artists who we have been affiliated with for some time and introduced Anna Nordstrom and R.J. Poole (partners in life, as well as in art) to the gallery. Both brought something artistically special in their respective, individual works of painting/montage (by Anna) and photography (by R.J.).


R.J. Poole - "My Heart" from "Of the Heart"

Anna Nordstrom - "Ways of Seeing" from "Of the Heart"

The gallery also accommodated the Annual RED Inc Art Exhibition this year which took over the entire gallery (almost) for a couple of weeks, with over 40 artists and 200+ works.

As much as we delight in presenting exhibitions and sharing in a celebration of the artists involved at our exhibition launches, each has been a huge undertaking - even though it may not look like it sometimes! Each show takes about three days to catalogue, consider and curate. Sometimes the hanging is done in a day - sometimes five days, like the RED Inc show. Then there are the website updates and 'getting the word out' exercises.

This coming year might see us cutting back a bit on the exhibition programme as there is only so much time and energy available to us to devote to the gallery plus our respective “day jobs”. We also want to do things well and there have been times this year when we thought we should have done better. I suppose in any endeavour there is always this sort of questioning or self-analysis, and given the time of year, it’s perhaps a good idea to take stock and review - without too much unproductive self-flagellation, as well as undeserved self-praise.

2015 Will see us being much more selective about the work to be exhibited. We don’t mind if the artists are just starting out or have long careers. We will be looking for the best of their current work - in whatever media or genre in which they work. This has always been foremost in our thinking, but there has been occasion when we have got caught up in the ‘vanity show’! It’s easy when you are an advocate for any particular artist - appreciating their work, their style, their thinking etc! Credibility is everything though, so selection processes are vital.

We hope to continue to conduct pop-up exhibitions at The Art House at Newrybar and launch an endeavour that will support art display and acquisition by businesses. More news on all that soon-ish.


Just part of the inaugural exhibition at The Art House, Newrybar

So no standing still in 2015! Looking forward to continuing to support our artists and spreading the word of their artistic talents plus maintaining our relationships with our audience and all who have supported the gallery and us this past year. There are heaps of you out there and we really appreciate all that you have done and continue to do for us.

Special thanks and mentions to some of our major supporters, including arts advocates, people/friends, art-buyers and gallery helpers - Arts Northern Rivers (the whole awesome team), Lismore Regional Gallery (Brett, Kezia & the Friends), Lismore and Nimbin Tourism (particularly Fingal, Andrew & Mitch), Lismore Mayor and constant social media spruiker, Jenny Dowell, Byron Plantation, The Art House (Newrybar), Regional Arts NSW, Common Ground Byron Bay and elsewhere, The Channon Village, Aidan from Moving Art, Natsky & Nick, Peter W, Wendy W, Sue & Tony, Lyn & Richard, Marcus, Kirra P, Lisa & Sylvian, Shane & the 'Bangalow Boys', Robert & Alan, Deb & Shane, Karen & Courtney, Bruce, Ian, John T, Theodore, Stuart & Christine, Peter & Ros D. (Ros, we are thinking of you, especially!), Scott H, Lindsay H, Matt & Brie, Sharne & David, Jeni & Robin (& Kit), Adrienne (from Modanville) and Fiona M.

This list is by no means exhaustive - even though it may seem like it!

There are our artists too! Every artist's work has been exhibited regularly - some have sold; some haven't. We have no idea why! There are many too, who have done all sorts of things on social media, like SCU Visual Arts Club, Lennox Arts Board, Serpentine Gallery, Nadine from Art Piece, Byron Observer (excellent blogger), Northern Rivers Dreaming (also excellent blogger), Fine Art Kangaroo Island, plus many others and many who were just there in person or on the phone - when needed.

Our genuine thanks and admiration to/of you all.

We are not aiming to be the region's "premier" or most "prestigious" fine art gallery. We think these descriptions are well-earned by our regional art galleries, although they are terms adopted sometimes by other enterprises. We would like to be bloody good though in what we do - including the artists' work that we offer here, what we offer to artists, plus the experience of the art - and the place - for the viewer/visitor! Maybe a way to go in some respects, but we are sure trying to navigate the right path - or paths!

Hopefully 2015 sees augmented respect for art and creative endeavours that exist outside of major cities. We all need to contribute to that though - earn the respect (as if we haven't already!) and start or increase the challenge to the city-centric paradigm of what is credible, cutting-edge (a loathsome, often shallow and value-laden term), authentic and 'quality'. Actually, they are all perhaps value-laden terms! Just because we are in the country, doesn't mean that artists and arts-endeavours are NOT continuing in development and seeking excellence in what they do! Participation is important - city or country - but too often 'participation' seems like it is the only or main KPI or marker of success in regional areas. We celebrate participation, but we can't allow it to be our main benchmark. In the arts, we are not an island. We need to strive for quality and find and nurture the authentic 'voice' of what is beautiful, worthwhile, grating, inspirational, frustrating or just plain unfair or wrong - personally, environmentally, socially, culturally or politically - in what is expressed or represented in art - the ARTS. What is universal … what is it that is authentic to us, here?

Thankfully, so many of our artists DO just that! Applause from us!!

Anyway, hopefully you know what we mean!

Happy New Year! Hope it's awesome - in a good 'awe' sort of way - for all of us.