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Meet the Makers is back to Fitzroy and Collingwood

artists, spaces

Meet the Makers is back!

The first edition of the event, in 2013, was such a success, with all activities at full capacity, that I was fortunate to be awarded another grant from the City of Yarra.

I curated the 2014 edition to incorporate different spaces, studios and mediums, while continuing to be a great program for all in the community to participate.

This year Meet the Makers welcomes its first international artist, Ryan F Kennedy. Kennedy was walk to art’s first New York artist in a residence, back in 2009.

You can meet him at Fehily Contemporary (Collingwood) on Friday 28 March. This and all the other activities (view program below) are free and bookings are essential. Reserve your spot early so as not to miss out!

When: Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 March
What: A weekend of inspiring art events
Where: Fitzroy and Collingwood
How much: All free
Bookings: Essential (limited places); wisit Meet the Makers‘ website for details

What is Meet the Makers?

  • An oportunity to spread the word about unique individuals who make the City of Yarra cultural and diverse.
  • A carefully curated weekend of 9 events in studios, independent spaces and businesses in Fitzroy and Collingwood.
  • A way of providing people with knowledge of art practices and processes through activities in which the participant can meet the maker and gain a greater understanding of artists, art spaces and creative businesses.

2014 program

NGV, looking at Tiepolo (iPad drawing), by Melbourne artist Rebecca Jones
iPad drawing by Rebecca Jones: meet the artist on Friday

Thursday 27 March
6pm–8pm – Strange Neighbour (Fitzroy) – Sarah Duyshart (visual artist – installation)

Friday 28 March
6pm–7pm – Redbox Studio (Collingwood) – Rebecca Jones (visual artist – iPad drawing)
7pm–8pm – Fehily Contemporary (Collingwood) – Ryan F Kennedy (visual artist – weaving installation)

Saturday 29 March
12pm–2pm – Slopes (Fitzroy) – Artist Market curated by Jared Davis
2pm–3pm – Gertrude Contemporary (Fitzroy) – Jess Johnson (visual artist)
5pm–6pm – Porcelain Bear (Collingwood) – Gregory Bonasera (ceramic artist)

Sunday 30 March
2pm–3pm – Studio (Collingwood) – Chloe Vallance (visual artist)
3pm–4pm – Second Story Studios (Collingwood) – Regan Tamanui or Haha (visual artist – stenciling)
4pm–5pm – Strange Neighbour (Fitzroy) – Sarah Duyshart (visual artist – installation)


Work by Chloe Valance: meet the artist on Sunday
Work by Chloe Valance: meet the artist on Sunday

Visit Meet the Makers‘ website for details and booking information.

The City of Yarra and Liquorice Studios proudly support Meet the Makers 2014.

See you there!

Biennale’s highlight: visually, conceptually and structurally outstanding

artists, spaces, Venice tours

October has been a wonderful visual month. I had the opportunity to explore Italy’s La Biennale di Venezia – International Art Exhibition once again, and an overload of images keeps popping into my mind.

The experience of going to Venice is like no other, even after having been there many times before. The reason Venice holds a special place in my heart is the locals! Their knowledge of where to reside away from the massive tour groups who take over the small lanes of this magical city is gold.

My walk to art group was fabulous (no dramas and no Louis Vuitton cases without wheels to carry), and we all had 3 passions in common: exploring art, drinking prosecco and eating baccala (salted cod).

But let’s talk about art. The highlights for me were Chile, Russia, Portugal, New Zealand and of course the hidden pavilions in disused palazzos.

installation by Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar at La Biennale di Venezia – International Art Exhibition

The Chilean Pavilion, which was a site-specific installation by artist Alfredo Jaar, was visually, conceptually and structurally outstanding. It was silent yet loud in critically commenting on the Biennale organisational structure for exhibiting art.

All people from all walks of life watched, engaged and participated, as they viewed an army green model of the 28 pavilions from the Giardini della Biennale rise from the depths of the water (identical army green) to then sink beneath and disappear.

This work had so many layers; it was simple in approach, complicated in technique and creative in conceptual execution.

Is it worth going to La Biennale? Always.

Are the expensive Bellini at Harry’s Bar worth it? Absolutely!

Until the next Biennale… Ciao!

NGV: a commitment to Melbourne’s contemporary art and design

artists, spaces

Under the new direction of Tony Ellwood, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is being revitalised, embracing contemporary art and design, and reflecting on art in Melbourne and art in our community.

Melbourne Now opens in November 2013 and will run to March 2014. The exhibition will:

  • cover contemporary art, design, architecture and fashion
  • feature 130 local artists and 30 curators
  • be located at its 2 locations – St Kilda Road and Federation Square.

This is a huge project and one that will bring the Melbourne scene to the state gallery. There will be associated forums, public and media events, plus talks by various artists. The public will be able to participate and enjoy a very different experience that will hopefully create a great deal of enjoyment for all.

Represented and unrepresented artists are participating, and it will be great to view works from artists such as Laith McGregor and Lauren Berkowitz (photo).

Manna, 2009, by Australian installation artist Lauren Berkowitz

Since 2006 walk to art has taken thousands of people to exhibition openings and art spaces, educating the wider community on the richness that Melbourne has to offer.

Instead of the usual blockbusters, such as Monet or Dali, for which the NGV is so renowned, the state gallery is being ambitious and showing a commitment to Melbourne’s contemporary art and design – and this is very exciting.

Melbourne Now
National Gallery of Victoria

NGV International
180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne (view location on Google Maps)

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
Federation Square (view location on Google Maps)

Daily from 10am to 5pm, except Mondays and Christmas Day
22 November 2013 to 23 March 2014
Free entry


Art in changing times: commercial galleries and collector groups

artists, spaces

Melbourne has a busy and interesting arts scene all year round, but, during winter, it takes effort to step out into the cold nights and head to a forum or opening. This month the focus seemed to be on the commercial gallery and collector groups.

On 21 July I attended The Local Collection public forum at Fehily Contemporary, in Collingwood. Then, on 24 July, the night of Nite Art (when more than 20 commercial, independent and artist run spaces in the CBD and North Melbourne welcomed the public), I went to a forum at West Space titled “Is the Gallery Space Dead?”

Both events were interesting with panels consisting of collectors, art dealers, online galleries, artists and curators. In both forums participants highlighted the fact that the art world in Australia and selling art has changed and has been changing over the past 5 years or more.

  • Art spaces no longer can rely on the exhibitions or even the stock room.
  • Commercial spaces are sharing resources, joining forces and also including project spaces.
  • Art fairs have become another expense, but also another platform to a wider international audience and source of income.

Art fairs such as Auckland Art Fair (7 to 11 August 2013), Sydney Contemporary (19 to 22 September 2013) and Hong Kong Art Basel (15 to 18 May 2014) are a fun way to explore and visually learn.

A collector group is also a great way to learn, and to purchase art if you don’t wish to do it alone.

  • A collector group is a group of 12 to 15 people who have an interest in art.
  • Each member contributes dollars at the start and continues to contribute over a period of 7 to 10 years.
  • The group meets around 4 times a year with a few events in between.
  • The work is rotated every 6 months between each member’s home.
  • When the group concludes everyone gets to share in the collection.

Ambassador Beard (2011), by Abdul Abdullah

Interested in being part of a collector group? Contact with Fehily Contemporary. They recently exhibited “Celebrating A Collection Half-Finished”, showcasing the art acquired by The Local Collection so far, an example of what a collector group can accomplish. “Ambassador Beard”, by Abdul Abdullah, was among the artworks.

Art as a visual journey of one’s life

artists, New York tours

It takes a little while to “come down” after being in New York City. I start to have flashbacks as I reflect on the amazing works and spaces that my group of art explorers and I saw during the most recent walk to art New York, in May and June. It takes a little while to digest everything completely, and I have to be careful as I seem to start my sentences with “in NYC…”

The 2013 edition of walk to art NY was fabulous and I am incredible grateful to have wonderful participants – enthusiastic, open and patient – as we trekked all over Manhattan and Brooklyn.

One afternoon we had a special visit to The Elizabeth Foundation to see the work and studio space of Tamiko Kawata. A generous, gentle and intelligent artist, she has dedicated her time to the creation of beautiful wearable art, sculptures and installations. Tamiko creates her works through experimenting with materials that reflect her life and thoughts. Small, unpretentious and valueless things from daily life often become the primary medium. Tamiko looks for another language, energy, chaos and harmony, within quiet stillness.

I was fascinated by the Safety Pin Series in which Tamiko spends hours threading pins together to form wearable art and sculptural structures. Coming from Japan, Tamiko had never seen or used a safety pin before arriving in the United States. The artist used to fold everything before her first child was born. What a pleasure to listen to her journey, from a young adult landing in New York, finding work, meeting her husband, learning a new language and understanding what a hot dog was to her senior years as a practicing and exhibiting artist in this wonderful city.

Work from the Safety Pin Series by artist Tamiko Kawata (part of walk to art New York 2013)

The Safety Pin Series has become part of a continuous body of work. Tamiko imports pins from Japan and spends hours constructing her art. “I came from Japan in my young adult life, and I feel my works are often intuitive reactions to the American life that I have happily adopted; my art making is a visual journey of my life.

“Observing our environment is an exciting daily practice, and nature’s phenomena… such as water, mist, shadows, wind are strong inspirations to form my works.”

We all walked away thrilled to have met Tamiko. That afternoon she not only shared her studio space and her art with us… Tamiko shared her spirit and her passion.

As I wrote, it takes a little while to “come down” after being in New York City. However, it takes no time to fall in love with it. Over and over again.

Art travellers: overseas or in your own city

artists, Melbourne tours, New York tours, spaces

It’s that time of the year again (and it’s fortunately been like this since 2008): I am about to hop on a plane and head to the United States for walk to art New York.

So this is time to re-search artists, studios and art spaces, and read cultural online newsletters. Friends have emailed new places and must go bars… and I’m trying to catch up with the latest eateries and coffee shops. All of this needs to go into the little black book before I leave Melbourne!

If you are not joining our group this year (I hope you can make it in 2014), but would like to go overseas to enjoy art, how about Asia? If I were not going to NYC my destination would be the Hong Kong International Art Fair, between 23 and 26 May. This is the first edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong.

There will be a number of Australian galleries there and it is a fabulous way to engage in the international art scene – you can get an an overview of what’s happening around the world in just 3 days! Art fairs are interesting not only because significant galleries are invited to participate, but also local galleries tend to curate strong exhibits to attract the art lovers in town.

If you have no plans to travel, why not be a traveller in your own city? These are great shows to see in Melbourne:

Anna Finlayson – Shhh (The Hexagon Trip)
Sarah Scout Presents
Level 1, 1a Crossley Street, Melbourne (view location on Google Maps)
Thursday and Friday, 11am to 5pm; Saturday, 12pm to 5pm
Until 18 May

image from Rhys Lee's Still I'd Sea exhibition displayed at Utopian Slumps in Melbourne

Rhys Lee – Still I’d Sea (image above)
Utopian Slumps
Ground floor, 33 Guildford Lane, Melbourne (view location on Google Maps)
Wednesday to Saturday, 12pm to 6pm
Until 25 May

Ben Quilty The Fiji Wedding
Tollarno Galleries
Level 4, 104 Exhibition Street, Melbourne (view location on Google Maps)
Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm; Saturday, 1pm to 5pm
Until 1 June

White Night Melbourne: art from dusk to dawn

artists, spaces

This Saturday, 23 February, from 7pm to 7am, White Night comes to Melbourne. White Night started in France in 2001 and has been to Brussels, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Toronto, Paris and Rome.

White Night Melbourne

What is White Night?

From dusk to dawn you will be able to enjoy more than 80 free events celebrating music, food, film, art and light, with more than 300 artists across 40 sites.

The event’s program can be collected around town and is also available on the White Night Melbourne website.

These are some of the sites where many visual and performing artists will be:

    • St Paul’s Cathedral
    • Forum Theatre
    • State Library of Victoria
    • Flinders Street Station
    • The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
    • Degraves Street
    • Flinders Lane.

Trams will run all night, and Melbourne’s CBD will be active with light projections, music and performances till 7am.


November: busy time in Melbourne’s arts scene

artists, spaces

November is a busy time of the year in the Melbourne arts scene:

  • graduate exhibitions
  • annual exhibitions
  • open days
  • the commercial galleries leaving the best to last.

Here are a few places to go, places to be seen and exhibitions worth viewing:

Wednesday 14 November 2012
Metro Gallery – E.L.K
Time: 6.30pm to 8.30pm
Where: 1214 High Street, Armadale (view location on Google Maps)
The exhibition will be on until 1 December 2012 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 5.30pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 11am to 5pm)

Friday 16 November 2012
Gertrude Contemporary – Gertrude Studios, 2012
Time: 6pm to 8pm
Where: 200 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy (view location on Google Maps)

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) – Art Bar (special evening of art and live music)
Time: 7pm to 11pm
Where: 111 Sturt Street, Southbank (view location on Google Maps)

Saturday 17 November 2012
Utopian Slumps – Nathan Gray
Time: 4pm to 6pm
Where: 33 Guilford Lane, Melbourne (view location on Google Maps)
The exhibition will be on until 8 December

Australian Tapestry Workshop – Open Day
Time: 10am to 5pm
Where: 262–266 Park Street, South Melbourne (view location on Google Maps)


Monday 19 November 2012
Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) 2012 Graduate Exhibition
Time: 6pm to 8pm
Where: 40 Dodds Street, Southbank (view location on Google Maps)


Thursday 22 November 2012
Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP) – Kodak Salon
Time: 6pm to 8pm
Where: 404 George Street, Fitzroy (view location on Google Maps)


Saturday 24 November 2012
Craft Victoria – Open Day
Time: 10am to 5pm
Where: 31 Flinders Lane, Melbourne (view location on Google Maps)

Gertrude Contemporary – Open Studios
Time: 1pm to 4pm
Where: 200 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy (view location on Google Maps)


Wednesday 28 November 2012
RMIT 2012 Master of Fine Art Exhibition (view flyer, PDF file, 1 page, 341KB)
Time: 5.30pm to 7.30pm
Where: Building 49, Gossard Project Space, Level C, 67 Franklin Street, Melbourne (view location on Google Maps)
The exhibition will be on until 5 December (Monday to Friday, 11am to 6pm; Saturday, 12pm to 5pm)


Friday 30 November 2012
Australian Print Workshop – Impressions 2012 Fundraiser
Time: 6pm to 8pm
Where: 210 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy (view location on Google Maps)

Melbourne’s festival season celebrates the best of art


Finally the spring sun is shining and it’s festival season in Melbourne.


Melbourne Fringe Festival 2012 – 26 September to 14 October

It all started in 1982, when the Melbourne Fringe Arts Network was formed, mainly consisting of performance artists supporting independent and experimental events.

Thirty years and some 50,000 artists later, the event focuses its 2012 edition on framing the city’s “independent arts culture in all its creative and vital glory.” This year the festival celebrates the past and anticipates the future of arts in Melbourne.

Free booklets can be obtained at various art shops, cafes and cultural outlets. Tickets can be purchased online at the Melbourne Fringe Festival website.


Melbourne Festival 2012 – between 11 and 27 October

Melbourne Festival 2012

The Melbourne Festival is 17-day marathon of dance, opera, theatre, film, visual art, music, forums and outdoor events.

The artists and performers are hand chosen by Artistic Director, Brett Sheehy, from Australia and around the world.Tickets are available at the Melbourne Festival website and participating venues.


Artery – Did you know about Artery?

Artery is the Australian Council’s online source of news and information about artists, events, projects and trends that shape the Australian arts landscape.

Commercial galleries, warehouse space and hotel installation: that’s art in Melbourne

artists, spaces

Melbourne Art Fair for 2012 has come and gone, and it was a little quieter than its 2010 edition. However, still very successful with $8 million in sales and 27,000 visitors. For the invited commercial galleries, it is a significant investment, not only in time but also dollars.

An event like this can be overwhelming and cause some visual overload. Personally, I prefer exhibitions that are on at the same time as the fair, are free and available to everyone. Not Fair Art Fair Primal Mutation, launching undiscovered and emerging artists curated by Melissa Amore, Ashley Crawford and Sam Leach, was entertaining and a fabulous use of 1000 Pound Bend’s warehouse back space. I loved the laneway entry and it was exciting to see such a quirky artistic space in the CBD.

One of my favourite exhibitions was at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins (25 Collins Street, Melbourne;  view location on Google Maps). Gosia Wlodarczak was the sixth artist welcomed by the hotel’s annual Artist in Residence program.

She has previously exhibited at the Singapore Biennale, the Drawing Centre in New York and at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane (view image). Over July, Gosia produced a drawing installation on the hotel’s lobby windows. Guests were able to watch the artist draw and people were invited to observe her performance.

image from Gosia Wlodarczak's Frost Drawing series exhibited at GOMA

I first came across Gosia at a performance at Fehily Contemporary in Collingwood. Gosia’s drawings are spontaneous and flow freely. The work tells a story, it is an observation of the immediate surroundings.

Unfortunately the window installation is not up anymore, but her exhibition is on at Sofi’s Lounge until 8 October 2012.