IN THIS ISSUE
Dickerson Gallery has re-launched its website with a new design and added functionality. Gallery Director, Sam Dickerson, says the refreshed site has been months in the planning. ‘We spent a lot of time thinking about how clients use our website. Ultimately, we decided that it needed to offer a clean and contemporary design, but also had to be easy to navigate.' The new site has some additional features, including a section called ‘Available works' and a new section for Stock Artists. ‘Our new and upcoming exhibitions are clearly a key focus of the site. But we also have an extensive stock room - and the new site allows us to show more fully what's available to clients,' said Sam. There's a new function, allowing clients to view artworks in full-screen format consecutively. The ability to sign up to receive the newsletter electronically has also been improved. Each one of the Gallery's artists has their own home page, including new artists to the gallery such as Yvette Bacina, Regan Tamanui and Beverley Veasey. Log onto www.dickersongallery.com.au - and email us your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beverley Veasey is new to Dickerson Gallery's Melbourne stable of artists - but she is far from new to the art world. Veasey is an accomplished photomedia artist who staged her first solo exhibition in 2002. From 14 October - 1 November Dickerson Gallery (Melbourne) will hold an exhibition of Veasey's Habitats #2. This series expands upon a theme that has informed the photographer's work over the past few years - humanity's relationship with the animal kingdom. As a preview to this exhibition, Beverley Veasey took the time to answer some questions about her chosen theme, and her development as an artist.
Q: You have exhibited extensively since the 1990s. Could you tell me how your interest in photography came about?
A: I became interested in Photography at Art school. After studying painting for sometime I found I could realise my ideas more quickly with photography. I was also interested in collage and work that incorporated both found images, my own photography and painting.
Q: Your upcoming show with Dickerson Gallery continues with a theme that you have developed over the past few years, and are now widely recognised for This work focuses on the animal world; specifically the way in which humans interact with it. Can you expand a little on what it is you are trying to achieve through these images? Was it a particular passion for animals and the natural world that inspired this further investigation?
A: I am fascinated by the natural world and its inhabitants and sometimes despair at the impact we are having on the world around us. Natural History#1 and #2 grew out of this interest and a desire to comment on the way we interact with other animal species. I also wanted to raise awareness of a number of endangered species that often go unnoticed. The Habitat work continues the ideas and seeks to draw attention to some of the man-made habitats we create to house other animal species.
Q: The two series, Natural History #1 and #2, feature animals in a void-like setting, stripped of any recognisable content. When taken out of their natural environment the context in which we see them changes dramatically. I believe this is where these works are most successful - the balance between the fragile and the powerful.
A: The minimalist backgrounds in Natural History #1 and #2 are designed to celebrate and highlight the animals featured in the image free from all the usual distracting elements found around them. The intention in doing this was to present the animal itself for contemplation. Devoid of their usual surrounding the backgrounds do tend to make some of the animals look fragile and I guess that is the point. Increasingly, many animals are vulnerable to habitat destruction and other man-made threats.
Q: I imagine the process of creating these images would have been difficult? Did you photograph real animals, or source existing material? There is an old saying ‘never work with animals or children'. Did you find this to be true?
A: Natural History #1 and #2 was photographed on location in animal sanctuaries and zoos around Australia. The work was shot on medium format film, so one never really knows what one is capturing till the film is developed. There were a few animals in the series that were either elusive or not terribly co operative, so I had to return to the location a number of times. Eventually you capture something that can be used in an image.
Q: How is it then that you set them amongst these ethereal backdrops?
A: I photographed the backgrounds separately and then combined them with the animals digitally in post production.
Q: The use of cool greys in a monotone palette emphasises the delicate nature of the subject - as if without colour, they are without life. Is this the motive behind your more recent series moving into the black and white genre?
A: Not really. I find black and white helps remove the subject from the familiar way in which we are used to seeing it. It also refers to the documentary tradition in photography which seeks to document what is there, or not there in the case of the Habitat work.
Q: Your most recent series ‘Habitats' features animal enclosures at zoos and museums - albeit without the animals. Are these real exhibits in Australian institutions? How are you able to shoot these displays minus the star attractions - that is, the animals?
A: The man-made spaces featured in the Habitats work are all found at animal sanctuaries and zoos around Australia. Often when one visits these places one has to play "spot the animal" so it was quite easy to photograph the spaces without the animals present.
Q: In many ways, there is a striking similarity in message between Natural History and Habitats - and yet the photographs are polar opposite in subject - can you elaborate on the connections between the two series?
A: The Habitat work is a continuation of the ideas that formed the basis of the Natural History work. It continues to explore my interest in the natural world and the ways in which we interact with it.
Q: You have an exhibition at Monash Gallery of Art. Can you tell me a little about how that came about?
A: The former director of the Monash Gallery of Art, Jane Scott saw the Natural History work at the Centre for Contemporary Photography some time ago. Monash Gallery then acquired some works for their collection and it was on the basis of this I was offered a show.
Q: One thing I find interesting is that you prefer to have your work exhibited unframed. Is there a particular reason behind this decision?
A: Showing photographs unframed has become a fairly common practice. As I have galleries in four states, so from a practical point of view it is much easier for me to transport and store unframed works than shipping and storing framed works. More importantly it gives the purchaser the opportunity to make their own personal decisions on the framing of the works.
Q: Where do you see this body of work taking you next?
A: I will continue to work with themes that explore the natural world and the ways in which we shape and interact with it.
Erika Gofton - finalist in the Mosman Art Prize and The Eutick Memorial Still Life Award
Jason Cordero - finalist in the Waterhouse Natural History Prize
Honor Bradbeer - finalist in the Hutchins Art Prize
Beverley Veasey - selected to hold an exhibition of the ‘Habitats' series at the Monash Gallery of Art, 15 September - 25 October. Melbourne Gallery Manager, David Hagger will be delivering a talk on the show to Gallery members
Samantha Everton - one of the feature artists at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale. 4 September - 4 October. Visit www.ballaratfoto.org/ballaratfoto.org
Melbourne Gallery Manager, David Hagger, has been invited to curate an exhibition as part of the ACGA's Emerging Curators Program. ‘Reductive' will feature works by prominent Australian artists working in hard edge abstraction, minimalism and the pop art movement. November 17 - 29, at the ACGA Gallery, Federation Square.
Great news for small business owners. Purchase a new art work for your business by the end of 2009, and it may be eligible for a 50% tax break. A number of conditions regarding eligibility apply. In general terms, the investment allowance is a tax break for small businesses buying new eligible assets costing more than $1000 before the end of this calendar year. The scheme is designed to encourage business to invest in new plant and equipment. Art has been nominated as one of the assets for which the tax break may apply. To find out whether your business may be eligible, consult your accountant,
Dickerson Gallery at Fed Square
Thank you to our clients who responded so enthusiastically to Dickerson Gallery's first exhibition at the ACGA Gallery at Federation Square. The selection of new works by senior Australian artist, Robert Dickerson, were extremely well-received and we look forward to holding future exhibitions in this space, which lies in the heart of Melbourne's thriving Federation Square precinct.
Collingwood Arts Precinct Open Day
You're invited to the next Collingwood Arts Precinct Open day on Saturday 3 October. The Open Day is a free event that includes an escorted walk through eight contemporary galleries (including Dickerson Gallery) in Collingwood. Phone Dickerson Gallery in Melbourne for more information on (03) 9416 0031.
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