We have just pulled down and dissembled a large collection of artists’ bits and pieces belonging and precious to Carolyn V Watson, Sam Eyles and Jude Roberts. Organic ephemera indeed. These bits and pieces were the construction parts of the “temporary studio” in the main gallery space at Jugglers Art Space for 2 weeks for these three artists. While they worked away, we watched. We watched, enthralled at “the process.”
The “White Cube” is the familiar enclave for gallerists, artists, collectors and art lovers but winds of change are stirring up new ideas, some are inspiring* ,some are in the early development phase and some, need to be let go. In general, my view is that the underlying organic nature of how we operate at Jugglers is what needs to be the driver for change. There is something helpful in predictability but there is also a certain “stuckness” that hovers around constant predictability. The influence of the ephemeral nature of graffiti has helped me catch onto the coattails of organic change and let it re calibrate our DNA over and over again. Graffiti could never be thought of as held in by the “white cube” but the evolution of graffiti and other art styles onto the street is that it is on the streets in massive forms and onto canvas, hung in white cubes. An interesting evolutionary phenomenon.
The story of this new adventure at Jugglers with these three artists is simple enough. We had a cancellation, an empty space and the need for a solution. Never leave the main “white cube” space empty! One of our curatorial goals here is that each year we look for and invite artists who have a strong and more developed practice, are “mid-career” and who, by the very nature of their works, attract art lovers and collectors. The solution to our cancellation dilemma seemed to be to offer a discounted deal with a range of artists who fulfilled this mid-career criteria and who would also promote drawing as a lead up to the 2017 Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing. The final cut came down to these three and then Carolyn birthed the process idea.
Jude Roberts with visitors
It is relatively straight forward enough, if there is plenty of lead time, to attract this calibre of artists but what about something different from them, Carolyn suggested. “What about letting art lovers into our heads, into our private making lives?” This was a courageous idea that for visual artists who protect their privacy tenaciously was a step into the unknown. Our Q and A on the first Saturday with Cultural Flannerie’s Carrie McArthy around “Getting into the Artist’s Mind” opened up our minds to their minds and the subsequent conversations over a cup of tea were animated.
The two weeks of coming and going for these three along with managing other work and studio practice was very successful. They almost seemed to co-alesce and it was indeed an easy relationship. Visitors dropped in, the Q & A was a highlight, as was the dinner for 9 guests who joined us all for the closing event.
We, at Jugglers, are more than a gallery. We are a community of folks who love to be around art, artists and art making where we attempt to make sense of the world together. The unpredictability of this means an intentional focus while such a focussed commitment to this new idea during these two weeks meant our intentionality was given an incredibly big lift.
Carolyn V Watson is a visual artist well known for a range of works in mixed media via sculpture, drawing and painting, with focussed themes around animals and animal behaviour. She has been a finalist and a runner up place getter in the Jugglers Art Space Inc Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing and has been the manager of Oxlades Art Supplies at Queensland College of Art for the past 13 years.
Dr Jude Roberts is an artist whose work encompasses an inquiry via drawing into the state of the sub-artesian basin in central Australia, particularly where she lived in Mitchell, Central Qld on a property for 20 years. She is a lecturer at Queensland College of Art.
Sam Eyles is a professional artist and part of the founding team of a new artist run initiative, Bib and Brace in Tenerife, Brisbane. He also manages a team of creatives involved in Micah Projects, an organisation that works with homeless people in Brisbane. Sam was part of the Jugglers’ management team up until 2011, and before that had been an artist in residence at Jugglers from 2004. His art practice includes painting and drawing and mixed media in abstract forms.
L to R: Jude Roberts, Sam Eyles, Carolyn V Watson
*See “How an OMA-Designed Art Museum Just Opened in a Remote Town in the DRC” ARTSY posted on Jugglers Art Space Inc FB on May 13, 2017.