Little Creatures donated the 2012 BARI Festival* 35 cartons of beer. They want us to swoon in the art with their beer and last night we served Little Creatures, as usual, even before BARI has started! And swoon we did at Jugglers Art Space at “Veneer“, a first solo show for well known Brisbane artist and Jugglers artist in residence, Guido van Halten. Guido has shown in group shows and painted around the world large “mural” style works that collector and PhD candidate retired Art Teacher Peter Fonoglio said just grabbed him. Collectors are fussy about what does and doesn’t grab them. Guido didn’t quite care that work sold as much as friends and art lovers were immersed in his work and so for the past two weeks he reworked the whole of the Jugglers inside space, tunnel and public art area. Filmed by QUT student Yannick Blattner, this whole process wiped out story lines and graf writers latest work and transformed the space into a white cube and then into a green shade multi tag wall paper show room, then to be finally reworked by Guido into large scale van Helten public art works.
Art galleries, art spaces and museums are getting a bad wrap for limiting expression options and for promoting a kind of elite separation of emerging arts practice from the chosen few who have leapt through the unwritten hoops that a small group of curators and buyers have ticked off on. There is a reality here and that is that the commercial consumer art market is highly competitive and fussy buyers are really fussy and when big dollars are at stake then lots of hoops are justified. Jugglers is not a commercial gallery. It is not driven by that value. True, we benefit from the 22% commission on sales but on one sale at $180 it hardly makes a difference in our cash flow. We are about what Guido wanted last night – a place for his friends and art lovers to “swim” in, where his work could be celebrated, where he, as an artist could tell his story. And we were immersed in his story. Held by the clear spring Brisbane sky in our magical outside space we were held as well by Guido’s painterly works. Artists are forever trying to catch the inspiration as it sneaks into awareness. Jugglers tries to catch the same inspiration, to serve the vision, to facilitate the fruit of labours. If in the meantime we can make a bit of brass to keep the doors from closing that’s worth a “Cheers” and another Pale Ale from Fremantle.
*October 5 – 12 [www.bari.com.au]