Monday, November 25, 2013

A thousand eyeballs

Wow! For those of you who came along on the weekend, our heartfelt thanks. We were completely overwhelmed with positive responses to the new gallery. On Sunday alone we had over 500 people through, many spending a great deal of time looking at each and every artwork. That's over a thousand eyeballs cast through the space in 5 hours. Amazing.

Mardi conducted a guided tour of the collection on Saturday afternoon, to an enthusiastic crowd of art-fans. We got to learn about which artworks are on display for the first time, gained insight into the artists and their backgrounds, and developed a better understanding of the nature of public collections. One of our attendees recognised his father's business in a photograph by Eric Thake while others were keen to decipher the layout of the Barkers Road series of artworks undertaking by Ian Armstrong over four decades. Selina Ou's photographs were devoured for clues about meaning and Mathew Greentree's mixed media work was particular popular.

It was lovely to see a great many of the tour attendees return for the big Sunday open day, bringing along family and friends, and taking the opportunity to look again at this large body of work. There's 65 artworks to take in, which means multiple visits are almost certainly necessary to digest everything. Some people took the chance to read the Marker book as they perused the artwork, ensuring they could get a fuller appreciation and understanding of the works and their histories.

Paper Play - our public program conducted by the wonderful Sayraphim Lothian - was also incredibly popular, with dozens of youngsters (and their parents) diving into magazines, maps and coloured papers to conjure up creative collages. The challenge was put out to make anything you liked, as long as it had some part of a map in it. We had some really great art produced, which we pinned to the wall and celebrated for the kids.

The Community Project Wall was also a very popular destination, and we sold two paintings by the talented John Bates. VATMI Art and Design have put on a strong showing of their work, some of which is also on show in The Emporium and also proving very popular. We have some exciting news about the Community Project Wall, which we hope to share with you all very soon, say stay tuned! The Emporium has been very busy already - check here for information about some of our range - but needless to say, with present buying rising high on everyone's agenda in the next few weeks, The Emporium is a perfect place to visit for those needs!

John Bates, Melbourne Triptych  *SOLD*

The gallery is now officially open and running regular hours. You can drop on by, Tuesday to Friday we're open 10am to 6pm and on the weekends we're open 11am to 4pm. See you soon!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Launch Week

This is the big week that so many people have been waiting for. There's been  years of planning going into the refurbishment of the historic Hawthorn Town Hall, which now officially becomes the Hawthorn Arts Centre. Town Hall Gallery is very excited to fling open its automated doors and welcome you to come inside, spend some time with our fabulous art, and soak up the atmosphere of a world class venue right here in Boroondara.

Gallery One, with entrance on left and looking down to Gallery 2 on the right
The doors will open at 10am on Friday the 22nd of November, and the curatorial team and our wonderful volunteers will be here to say hello, beaming brightly with a combination of exhausted excitement and anticipatory anxiousness! Actually, we might well just be enjoying the artworks ourselves, reflecting on the adventure that's been undertaken and the plans we have in store for the future of the gallery.

Our public programming is just one aspect of our plans for Town Hall Gallery, but an incredibly important one. It's not just a case of putting great art into the spaces and allowing audiences to see it. That's a key task of a public gallery, of course, but there are ways in which we plan to provide a fuller and more rich engagement with art, its ideas and its people.

The first public event to get things rolling will be the guided tour of the exhibition, Marker: Ten Years of the Town Hall Gallery Collection. Mardi will be discussing the way in which the collection has come together, sharing her experiences of acquiring the various works and giving a valuable insight into the nature of public gallery collecting. This would be an ideal opportunity for collectors, artists and art lovers to learn more about how and why artwork is brought together for the purposes of building a living public repository of cultural resources. The talk is completely free, open to all, and starts off at 1pm on Saturday 23 November - contact us to make sure you get a place.

On Sunday 24 November we'll be presenting: Paper Play: Cut. Fold. Draw. Colour. Paste. Keep. RepeatGuided by Sayraphim (Sayra) Lothian, come plant yourself at one of our workstations in the Community Art Space and draw, cut, collage or assemble your own paper-based art pieces. Aside from the wonderful opportunity to flex your creative muscle, you'll be hard-pressed to pull yourself away from the windows and the rather spectacular views out to the city from the upper reaches of the building. Bookings aren't necessary for the event, which runs from 11am until 3pm. Equipment and materials will be here for you to utilise, and it could be a great opportunity to bring the kids and make some art!

Following the launch week, we have two further events scheduled. On Saturday 30 November, Mardi will lead a panel discussion on issues around public gallery collections. The no-doubt lively conversation will offer a variety of views from the artist, donor, gallery and collectors perspectives. The panel kicks off at 1.30pm and is expected to run until 3.30pm. This is a free event and one not to be missed! Book your place and get your questions ready!

And then, just in time for the holiday season, you can make your very own set of Eric Thake inspired Christmas Cards. Under the direction of our expert printmakers, you'll be carving and printing your own unique linocut cards for your friends and family. Enjoy an in-depth look at the works of Eric Thake featured in the Marker exhibition, and then immerse yourself in the land of lino printing. Lunch and materials will be provided. Date and time - Saturday 7 December, 11am until 4pm; Cost - $40 ($25 students); Bookings necessary!

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!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Emporium at Town Hall Gallery

Hey there THGers, great to see you again! I trust that you’re just as excited as we are about the new Hawthorn Arts Centre and impending gallery relaunch.

We’re busily preparing to open our doors for November 22, but I thought I would let you in on a little secret. It’s called “The Emporium at Town Hall Gallery” and it’s our new retail store!
An example of the beautifully crafted wares of 'Made by White'

Located in the front foyer of the Hawthorn Arts Centre, right near Customer Service, “The Emporium” stocks so many delicious goodies from local and international designers and artists. Just in time for Christmas, our beautiful new store will open on November 22, so you can fill your brains and hearts with art and then fill your world (and your family and friends’ worlds if you’re feeling generous) with treasures.

Ellery Fox
If you aren’t already aware, Ellery Fox is Nina Cavicchiolo. The gorgeous Melbourne made and designed necklaces are full of life, colour and are a bold addition to any outfit. We are in love with the shapes and twisty-bits of Nina’s gorgeous necklaces. With new additions all the time, we’re proud to stock Ellery Fox’s beautiful objects in store. VIVA LA HANDMADE!

Supertrooper Studio
Supertrooper Studio has been on the scene for a little while now, so if you haven’t heard of them we’re here to rescue you from an embarrassing conversation later. Based in the Northern beaches area of Sydney, they are on a mission to celebrate Scandinavian design in every way possible. Their tea towels, posters and cushions are intricately designed and eye-catchingly bold. Cityscapes, animals and kitchen utensils are smacked onto their high quality materials and they truly do have something for everyone. One of our favourite items is the Melbourne city poster, the perfect gift for a friend or adornment for your own home.

Genius design by Supertrooper Studio
Emerge Designs
The woman behind Emerge Designs is Emma Greenwood. Crafting beautiful handmade leather goods, we are big fans of her vintage postage stamp luggage tags, which will be in store from opening day. Emma is passionate about the fussion of leatherworking, jewellery and textile arts to make one of a kind wearable objects. We love the postage stamp leather belts and look forward to her exciting new Christmas range!

Made by White
Created by two sisters based in Sydney, Lyndsay and Kelly, Made by White is 100% Australian made and proud of it! We’ll be stocking their gorgeous brooches, earrings and necklaces that are quirky, cute and just a little bit too much fun. A favourite amongst the team would have to be the llama brooch - he just looks so relaxed and happy! Lyndsay and Kelly draw their inspiration from everywhere - from fairytales to nature and animals. We know you’re going to love their unique designs.

It’s almost mandatory for women in Melbourne to own a plethora of tights and leggings, and to wear them regardless of the day or season. We have become obsessed with OK OK, the brainchild of Emina Dzananovic, who started the brand in Melbourne’s northern suburbs in 2007. Designed in Melbourne, OK OK creates high end hosiery with flair - think great patterns, unique colours and a bit of sparkle.

Where do I begin?! We have some amazing products in store for you. From beloved favourites like Moleskine and Claire Fontaine, to surprise new additions, we’ll have you covered for all things writerly. We love words and we love writing, so you’ll be in safe hands with us.

Did I mention we will also have some gorgeous Palamino pencil sets? Yes, that’s right, only the best for our THGers. We’re working with some amazing suppliers to ensure that only the most high quality paper goods and drawing utensils will be at “The Emporium”.

We are still receiving stock and look forward to sharing all of our gorgeous products with you soon. “The Emporium” will be open during gallery hours from November 22 2013, so make sure you drop by and check it out!

Also, if you (or someone you know who is fabulous) are interested in becoming a stockist, please email