MCA Curatorial Assistant Kelly McDonald joined MCA Young Ambassadors on the evening of Wednesday 13 March for wine, cheese and a private viewing of Gemma Smith and Jamie North: Innerouter, the two inaugural exhibitions in the new Sarah Cottier Gallery space in Paddington. Gemma Smith discussed the process she undertakes in the production of her works; how they begin as loose drawings or doodles that are then layered with repetitive layers of paint in order to produce paintings whose tight composition camouflages the haphazard nature of how they come into being. Jamie North provided a wonderful insight into the experimentation with materials and techniques that led to the current form of his sculptures.
Kelly McDonald reflects on the night with MCA Young Ambassador Winsome Wild.
KM: Sarah Cottier Gallery is now housed in a bigger, brighter Paddington gallery space specifically designed to showcase contemporary works and has two large galleries so that two artists can be shown simultaneously. What do you think of the new venue?
WW: I loved it – it’s beautiful and spacious. I also like the fact there are two galleries, one big and one small – and opportunities to see two exhibitions and make connections between the two shows. Many contemporary galleries just have the one enormous white cube, and not all contemporary work is big! There’s lots of natural light and if I was an artist I would love to show work there.
KM: Were you familiar with the work of Gemma Smith or Jamie North before this event?
WW: No I wasn’t. I’m relatively new to Australia and to Sydney and am still getting to know the work of Australian artists.
KM: Did your understanding of the works change following the discussion with the artists?
WW: I’m not sure it did really! What I did like was to hear a little more about the context – so each of their practices as a whole. Jamie particularly talked about some of the work he had done in the past – and I really enjoyed that, because that increased my appreciation for the work – what ideas he was exploring, and where the piece had come from in terms of his wider practice.
KM: Jamie North discussed the future of his sculptures and how they may change over time given the nature of the organic materials used. Did that make you think about how the work might exist outside of the gallery context?
WW: I think the work would be beautiful anywhere, but I rather liked it in the gallery context – made it quite surreal.
KM: What upcoming MCA Young Ambassador events are you looking forward to?
WW: I am pretty excited about all of the upcoming events! I think everyone loves the visits to artists’ studios, since it feels like such a treat to be invited into a space that you would never normally get to see…
Visit the Sarah Cottier Gallery website for more information on the artists and exhibitions.
You can also visit Jamie North’s website
The Young Ambassador program is supported by Ray White
Posted by Kelly Stone