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From the Gallery Director - Susi Muddiman

July 2020

Title wall you are here 2020
You are here - BSA wall
Emma Walker
EmmaWALKER
Intervolve I 2020
oi and mixed media on board. Purchased through the Tweed Regional Gallery Donations Fund, 2020, copyright the artist
It has been wonderful to see so many visitors in the Gallery since we re-opened to the public on 3 June. It is so gratifying to know that so many of you were keen to revisit the Gallery after the closure. From the surveys that visitors have been completing for us, we also know that we have welcomed many new visitors as well, which is so encouraging. The Gallery DownTown has been busy too welcoming visitors, who have the bonus of checking out the exhibitions and artists’ studios of the M|Arts Precinct.

Thanks so much to our wonderful volunteers who have been on deck helping the staff out with the wide range of new duties associated with operating the Gallery in this period of ‘new normal’. We certainly wish for you all to feel and stay safe during your visit, so we are very grateful to our supportive volunteers who are helping us to achieve that on a daily basis.

It was a joy for the Gallery to host the stunning exhibition 'John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new', and visitors’ responses to the artwork. The artist’s work was literally breathtaking, and I so enjoyed seeing visitors being captivated by the extraordinary detail of the work and learning so much from the video featuring the artist and the materials he uses. All of the Gallery staff were thrilled that we didn’t miss out on the opportunity to host this exhibition as a result of the COVID-19 closure, as it was one of the highlights of the Gallery’s program. This exhibition was developed and co-presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia, in association with Maningrida Arts & Culture. I hope that many of you had the chance to see the show, as it is one that I’ve no doubt you’ll remember for many years to come.

I’ve recently been on a road trip to Dubbo with my sister, nephew and niece. It was quite a different road trip from those I remember from my younger years, with days filled with games of Eye Spy and my father’s pop quizzes. These days with the younger generation it’s more about how much data is left on your phone plan and where you can get decent wi-fi connection…… Our destination in Dubbo was to visit the zoo, (which is fabulous – I think the hilarious and mischievious lemurs and meerkats were my favourites) but while I was in Dubbo I had the chance to visit the Western Plains Cultural Centre for the first time. It was great to see my colleagues there and talk to them in person about how they have adapted to these strange times we are all encountering. I always enjoy being a visitor in another gallery too. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing their exhibitions on display, especially the beautifully curated show from their permanent collection. Inspired by their proximity to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo, the Dubbo Regional Gallery’s collection primary focus area is animals in art. This theme seeks to explore issues surrounding the representation of animals in the visual arts. Animals are also viewed as metaphors or symbols, so there’s a treasure chest of interpretations to explore. From the vibrant blue budgerigar by artist Ben Quilty in the foyer, to the quietness of Arthur Boyd’s dead fox, I saw some striking works from Dubbo’s great collection. This exhibition made me reflect on the relevance of our current collection exhibition here at Tweed, as it showcases where we live and the great artworks by the many talented artists who live and work in our region. There’s no doubt that regional galleries are storehouses of gems in the visual art world. Our show, ‘You Are Here: art of the region’ explores artists’ different interpretations of the unique landscape and characteristics of the region. Artists include Margaret Olley, William Robinson, Angus McDonald, James Guppy, Karla Dickens, Guy Maestri and Hiromi Tango. The exhibition includes historical and contemporary works and covers a vast range of media. I know you’ll enjoy seeing this exhibition.

That much –anticipated Prize, Australia’s favourite portrait prize, The Archibald Prize, is coming to Tweed early next year! The Gallery will be launching the tour of The Archibald Prize 2020 here on 22 January 2021, and we know this exhibition is eagerly anticipated by our audiences. First awarded in 1921, it is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious art awards. The Prize of $100,000 is certainly a conversation starter and we’re thrilled to be included on the tour. Under the terms of the Will of the late J.F. Archibald dated in 1916, the prize will be awarded to best portrait ‘preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in art, letters, science or politics, painted by any artist resident in Australasia during the 12 months preceding the date fixed by the Trustees for sending in the pictures’. It’s always so exciting to see the finalists, and there’s the additional prizes of the Packing Room Prize and the ANZ People’s Choice. Definitely something to look forward to on our calendar. Keep an eye out for further information on our website and social media platforms.

By the time this issue of artifacts is out, there’ll be some big diggers on site working on the Margaret Olley Memorial Garden. Designed by a talented local firm Plummer Smith, the garden will enhance our grounds, pay homage to Olley’s love of gardens and include terraces from which our visitors can enjoy the beautiful vistas offered from the Gallery’s spectacular site. The terraces will be made from bricks in patterns resembling the intricate designs of the kilms in Margaret’s home studio. The garden will meander around the southern end of the site, around the Nancy Fairfax Artist in Residence Studio and create a link to the Line in the Landscape walkway on the western side of the Gallery.

Until next time

Susi

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