Monday, November 11, 2013

On Your Mark(er)s ...Get Set ...

The launch of the Town Hall Gallery is but moments away and the frenetic behind-the-scenes activity is ratcheting up a notch with every passing day. All of the artworks from the collection that have been selected for 'Marker' have returned to the shire from their secret lair, deep underground in the northern suburbs. Sixty-five artworks were unpacked, laid out in the gallery and then through a process of visual tetris, jigsaw puzzlery and highly attuned curatorial acuity (it's a thing, truly it is!), the layout for the first show has been set in place.

With three gallery spaces to work across there was some carefully crafted combinations of artworks that were corralled into place. Today, the fantastic team at ExhibitONE have been charged with presenting the artworks in their best possible light. They've been measuring, lifting, moving, guiding and diligently working their installation skills to implement the THG's curatorial vision, all mapped out by Mardi's keen eye.This is the very first time a screw, nail or hook has been put into the fresh new walls and there's a palpable sense of excitement. It's almost as if the gallery itself is feeling the pride of its new inhabitants, pinned to its chest like badges of honour.

The very first artwork to be set into place was a captivating portrait by a renowned Australian icon of landscape painting. I won't give away who the artist is but it may come as a surprise to many, as his landscapes are incredibly familiar and his portraiture is less well known. This particular gouache painting is fantastic, full of feeling and bound to trigger a response. The artist has a selection of artworks in this show - another brilliant figurative painting, two etchings and a piece of earthenware. Really a fabulous selection of his oeuvre and an important body of work to have in a collection.

That's what is especially exciting about this show - the opportunity to present the collection in a large space, all together as a collective group. Town Hall Gallery has steadily and carefully gathered together a wonderful asset for the citizens of the City, and for all the visitors who make their way to the Hawthorn Arts Centre. The artworks provide a valuable educational resource, a living repository of cultural information. The collection supports the work of artists, with a particular focus on those who have lived, worked or made connections to the area, and provides stimulation for audiences through education, inspiration and contemplation.

Accompanying the artworks themselves is a great publication which can be purchased at the gallery from the opening launch and afterward. This beautiful art book features researched backgrounds into the artworks and artists; premium quality images of the art; forwards from the likes of Glenn Barkley, Tony Ellwood, Cherie McNair and David Walsh; and insightful essays by Mardi and Marion. Cleverly designed and brilliantly bound, it's more than just a great memento of the show - it's a desirable object in its own right!

There's less than two weeks until launch weekend, and we really can't wait to see you there!

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