As their new website states, they are group of artists adapting to a post-gallery situation.
A cluster of artists around the Fremantle area have banded together to create what they call a decentralised hub of independent artists in response to the tight art market and the closure of several leading galleries around Perth.
They have instituted a regular open-studio event to be held on the second Sunday of every month, hoping that word of mouth, social media and their regular openings will build a loyal art-trail following.
Some of them are partners in life as well as art. George Haynes and Jane Martin, for example, are opening the doors to their home and studio in Spearwood while Jon Denaro and Bec Juniper are doing the same in Hamilton Hill.
“One hopes that one’s studio workplace has a certain charm to it,” Haynes says.
Also showing their work is the Bicton artistic dynasty of Robin and Jo Reid and their sons Mike and Tim MacFarlane Reid. The trio of Penny Bovell, Eveline Kotai and Penny Coss are inviting people to drop into PEP, their warehouse studio in Hamilton Hill.
The art slump will see North Fremantle neighbours, Perth Galleries and Gallery East, close this month with Claremont’s Greenhill Galleries to follow in February. Mosman Park’s Galerie Dusseldorf is set to close in mid-2013 and the directors of Goddard de Fiddes in West Perth are taking a sabbatical.
Greenhill director Paul Swain says he is maintaining his business online, holding the odd “pop-up” exhibition and returning to study for three years while waiting for the market to pick up before re-opening a bricks-and-mortar gallery.
Swain says he is already doing 20 per cent of his business online. He sold two Jasper Knight paintings this week sight unseen and another major work by Jason Benjamin recently to a client in Ireland.
“When I redesign the website, that figure of 20 per cent will go up,” he says.
Such is the state of the local scene that the Association of WA Commercial Art Galleries is winding up after 25 years, although Circuit, its what’s-on quarterly guide, will continue.
AWACAG chairman David Forrest, from Gallery East, says the decision means WA commercial galleries will lose their collective, informed and representative voice.
As some commercial galleries close, new galleries have entered the scene such as Emerge Arts Space, Venn Gallery, OK Gallery, Melody Smith Gallery, Moana Project Space and Feast Your Eyes.
Run by Sarah Blangiardo and Ariane Palassis, Fremantle’s Feast Your Eyes will open this weekend with Kings Crooks Castles, the first solo exhibition from emerging Fremantle artist Twenty Eleven.
The Adelaide Street premises houses a gallery, educational workshops, retail space, and the beginnings of a resource centre for artists and designers.
“The space we have is fairly run down and is partly subsidised by the Fremantle City Council which has supported us to create something we have always wanted — a multi-facet space for the design and art professions,” Blangiardo says. “It’s a sad time for galleries and this is why we have snapped this opportunity up.”Second Sunday Studios is on from 11am to 4pm this Sunday. Details: secondsunday studios.com; Feast Your Eyes opens at 6pm tomorrow at 4/64 Adelaide Street Fremantle. Kings Crooks Castles runs until December 22. Details: feastyoureyes. net.au.
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