These photos were taken on a walking tour I hosted in Newcastle’s Hunter Street Mall to East End laneways in 2014.
This month I had the pleasure of being invited to open an exhibition, titled Editioned – Prints From The Collection, curated by Madeline Holborow at Orange Regional Gallery. As a Printmaking major back in my university student days, when I had the chance to work alongside Maddie at ARThive, I was absolutely excited to see what works on paper were hiding out in the Orange Regional Gallery collection and the show did not disappoint!
I arrived early on the Friday 21 October so that I could have some time to visit the space and see this curious collection that I would soon be delivering a speech on. I was pleasantly taken aback by the facilities surrounding the gallery including sculptural works and the newly renovated museum. Upon arriving upstairs to Editioned I was impressed by the way Maddie had managed to bring together so many different styles and mediums of work.
I met with the newly appointed Gallery and Museum Director Brad Hammond whom told me more about their collection and the idea of inviting others in to curate works, a very welcome change of programming that I have been familiar with when concerning public art galleries. The atmosphere was refreshing and invigorating, welcoming different perspectives on the spaces and the collection.
The works featured a range of artists, quite a few that I have admired since first discovering them at university such as Arthur Boyd, Sydney Ball, Charles Blackman and Wendy Sharpe with works dating from the 1970’s through to 2005. I am pleased to leave Orange Regional Gallery with a renewed passion seeking out art and will be looking up the artists I was not personally familiar with such as Errol Smith as the woodcut series portraying artists such as Gauguin, Schiele and Van Gogh were striking.
I am honoured and inspired to be part of the opening for Editioned, not only because it was a regional gallery near my own home town of Mudgee, but also because it instilled a level of faith in myself as an arts worker that public galleries do not have to be closed off institutions, which had primarily been my experience whilst studying. When I started ARThive gallery there was little hope of interaction within the programming of the Newcastle Regional Gallery, yet years later in a different regional gallery setting, the doors were open for interaction and ideas. The conversation with Brad about fueled with enthusiasm to keep the programming engaged with contemporary artists and the wider community, which is clearly happening with Editioned, the first of many exhibitions to be curated by an invited guest.
To see Orange Regional Gallery engage Madeline, a pivotal leader in the Orange arts community as an artist, gallery owner and all-round mover-and-shaker, provide recognition in her work to establish Corner Store Gallery whilst also an opportunity for further professional development curating contemporary art is commendable and rewarding to be part of.
The following day I visited her gallery and tried my best to see everything on the list of things to visit. You definitely need more than a day in Orange to discover all that is to offer which is lucky because Editioned is on show until 15 January 2017. Take trip to the country and be pleasantly surprised.
Many people ask me, ‘What is it that you do?’
Since late 2008, I have been involved with Renew Newcastle (RN). It has made such a full contribution to my artist career and lifestyle, here in humble, Newcastle.
It still surprises me that some people may not have heard of (or seen) RN. For myself, and the many individuals that have been engaged with RN, it has been a life-changing experience.
My first involvement began when mustering interest with local artists to form an Artist Run Initiative (ARI). ARThive gallery, collective and studios was the result of my independent research and the collective efforts of over seven artists. We made ‘good’ in a building that was left empty, forgotten by the city. We swept, sanded, puttied, drilled and labored away for weeks to create a gallery space for ourselves, and new artists who could see the potential in our DIY space.
The experience of forming our own collective space was very empowering. We went from being Uni students to practising (emerging) artists. We were holding artists talks, curating group shows and ‘living the dream’ in our own ‘place’. This was the stuff we read about at Uni; artists forming their own groups and working towards a bigger goal. Ours was to have a scene worth staying in Newcastle for. Often, graduation meant a time to leave for bigger waters in places like Melbourne.
ARThive has been running since 2009 and continues to be a place for local artists to experiment with their art practices.
Today, there’s no need to flock to the big smoke. Newcastle has its own scene that’s abundant with the best kind of culture; DIY.
You may have heard about the grassroots movement happening in the Newcastle CBD?
Well, it’s kind of a big deal.
This Thursday, 29th March, is your chance to see it for yourself. Come along for some drinks from 5pm at the Renew Newcastle HQ, located at 3 Morgan Street in The Hunter Street Mall.
The evening will include an introduction from RN Founder, Marcus Westbury, followed by a guided walking tour of the latest RN shops and galleries.
All the RN spaces in the Mall area have special opening hours until 7pm so you can buy or browse for unique, local and handcrafted gifts, fashion, homewares, art.
Discover young, independant local fashion designers; contemporary jewellery, a vintage photobooth and lo-fi photography gallery; Roller Derby sticker design; delicate paper illustration; millinery; and fantasy clock sculptures which have to be seen to be believed!
Now is the time to visit your own ‘Hunter Street Mall’ backyard and discover the ‘buzz’ that has a lot to do with this amazing organisation, Renew Newcastle.