With the world facing a tough financial climate, and technology continuing to evolve at rocket speed, the landscape is changing for artists and gallerists.
With the world facing a tough financial climate, and technology continuing to evolve at rocket speed, the landscape is changing for artists and gallerists. Artists are becoming much more savvy at creating online markets, often promoting and pushing their work outside the commercial gallery structure. The need for artists to find new ways to broaden their audience has led to a spike in temporary and innovative spaces popping up around Adelaide. It’s not surprising that the international hotel giant Hilton has jumped on board this phenomenon, enlisting the experience and expertise of former gallery manager and artist Sophie Hann. Level One of Adelaide’s Hilton Hotel had a previous incarnation as a gallery space when the now defunct Greenhill Galleries filled its walls with art, but Hann’s concept is quite different. The gallery occupies a vast space; it’s more than 100m in length and about 20m wide and is the lobby area for the Hilton’s numerous conference rooms, which attracts around 70,000 visitors a year. “I have a huge audience to start with but then I want to also attract an art audience who are going to go there and know that there will be fantastic art and not be disappointed,” explains Hann. Hann is looking at running five group shows a year, each with about a 10-week duration. The focus will be on contemporary art with a minimum of two local artists in each exhibition. “As a pop-up gallery I’m not purporting to be a commercial art gallery. If you are a commercial art gallery, you’re representing artists in a major way. But this way I can contact any artist from anywhere whether they are represented or not.” The exhibition schedule kicks off with Vanishing Point, which features an impressive list of artists (Troy-Anthony Baylis, Penny Coss, Elisabeth Cummings, Euan Macleod, Idris Murphy and Paul Sloan) brought together under the theme of landscape. “This is the first theme. I think I will branch out with the other themes and not have something so generic. It was just a good starting point.” While Hann has gone for a generic theme, the artists don’t approach the landscape in a generic way. Sloan’s artworks focus on colonial Australia while Cummings uses colours and textures to represent the beauty of the landscape. According to Hann, Baylis is talking about not being territorial of land. “An artist goes into the landscape and then they walk away and that’s it. They had an experience, they are not claiming ownership. I love that idea. I think it’s really interesting.” Hann is especially excited about showing the work of MacLeod who, she believes, has not exhibited in Adelaide before. She has managed to score six of his works for the opening exhibition. “To get someone like him and show his work, I am really excited about that.” If Hann continues to attract this calibre of Australian artists then Level One Gallery will be more of a permanent fixture than a pop-up gallery and Adelaide will no doubt see more spaces like this emerge. Vanishing Point Level One Gallery Thursday, July 3 to Wednesday, August 20 levelonegallery.com Images 1. Adam Hill portrait 2. Tony Anthony Baylis – Installations for tomorrow 3. Unknown