March exhibition



“The last ten years have seen the rise of a new phenomenon in the exhibition and sale of contemporary art in Australia – the home gallery. Positioned between the costly and sometimes rigid model of the commercial gallery and the let-it-all hang-out freedom of artist-run-spaces, home galleries offer an alternative viewing environment/model in which artists, curators or gallerists can display new bodies ofs work, or more typically combine the work of several artists, usually unrepresented. Displaying art in a domestic environment is nothing new. Most art is made to be lived with, at home. And artists have often exhibited their art in a home context, a kind of off-Broadway tryout for new work, playing to a sympathetic audience of friends, family and fellow artists. Enlightened patrons have also sometimes filled this role by providing exhibition space at home. Nowadays, the home gallerist is more likely to be an enthusiast, curator or would be-gallerist without the financial wherewithal, or interest, to stump up for the premises, staff and stable of a regular commercial gallery – but with passion and enthusiasm to find and exhibit new artists and works that may have been overlooked.”

“A different imperative motivates Adelaide freelance curator Vivonne Thwaites, whose gallery artroom5 occupies rooms in her house in Henley Beach. Trained as a painter and printmaker, Vivonne later worked at the Art Gallery of Western Australia and for the Australia Council. From 1990-2000 she curated Artspace, the visual arts venue at the Adelaide Festival Centre and was later curator of the South Australian School of Art (SASA) Gallery. Over the last decade she has independently curated a series of exhibitions for South Australian university and art school galleries in which material from museum collections and archives is re-interpreted by contemporary artists, most notably Holy Holy Holy for Flinders University and Writing a painting for Uni SA. Vivonne first showed artists at home as part of the Adelaide Festival Fringe in 2004. As The Occasional Gallery, it was launched with a show called Real. Not real, curated by artist Dawn Kanost and featuring Marc de Jong, James Lynch, Sarah Crowes, Fergus Binns and Akira Akira. Later that year came another exhibition, with James Cochran (the artist who went onto fame after painting the David Bowie mural in London), Alan Tucker and Helen Fuller. It began again in earnest in 2008, with six to eight shows a year in two or three clusters. Vivonne started artroom5 out of ‘frustration at the many good artists with nowhere to show’. It also gave her the opportunity to practice her craft: ‘I had curated Artspace for many years, had been an independent curator, and had run the SASA Gallery. So I think I needed to keep doing shows, as a kind of personal expression, and to keep in touch with artists’, of whom she knows many: I follow their work … I can see potential early. I am quite aware that sometimes I am showing people a bit early, i.e., they still have a way to go, but I feel I can participate a bit in directing an artist’s practice, encourage a certain vein in their work, show them with complementary artists.”

John Cruthers in Art Monthly, issue 246.