Gallery collection houses many treasures

Posted on 1 March 2013


There are many treasures to be found in the back rooms of Latrobe Regional Gallery and you’re invited to browse two new exhibitions drawn from these treasures.

Latrobe City Council’s arts director, Julie Adams, said that the gallery has a collection of over 1500 artworks that come in all shapes and sizes.

“The first work was acquired in 1968, even before there was a gallery, and ever since then the collection has grown to include paintings, sculptures, works on paper, ceramics and glass.

“It is not possible to have all of these works on display all of the time, but we regularly exhibit sections of the collection. For the curators and technicians who work at the gallery, the collection is part of their daily lives.

“We all have favourites and we are constantly seeing these artworks in different ways. The collection is a fantastic record of not only Australian art but also reflects different ways of thinking and changes in society through the decades,” Ms Adams said.

“Many of the works have been influenced in some way by the Gippsland region, either being made by artists who live here or have visited or who have been inspired by the built and natural environment.

“Currently there are two exhibitions on show that have been drawn from our own collection. Shelley McDermott, gallery technician, has a unique view of the collection as her job is to physically handle the works, hanging exhibitions and making sure that they are stored correctly when not on display. This means she is ‘up close and personal’ with a broad range of works, large heavy sculptures or paintings to the most fragile tiny glass work.

“One of the exhibitions, Semblance, shows works on paper from the collection and has been curated by Shelley. All of the works in the exhibition portray the face in some way,” Ms Adams.

Ms McDermott said her selection was inspired by Sonia Lawson’s work Night Watchman.

“This work depicts a black horse against a dark background, with a human face layered over the top. I spend a lot of time in the storage areas looking at works, and almost have a catalogue in my head. Some of the works in this exhibition were easy choices, works that I had admired previously. Other works I spent time searching around for and some I found by happy accident,” Ms McDermott explained.

The other LRG collection exhibition currently on show is titled Transition. In 1989 Mandy Martin visited the Latrobe Valley and subsequently made a number of large expressive paintings inspired by the built environment of this region.

Ms Adams added that it seemed timely to show all these works together.

“Not only because the gallery recently acquired another work from this series, but looking at these paintings provides us with a prompt to think about our place, what it means to us and how we think about it in relation to the past, the present and the future.

“It is really interesting that these paintings seem to generate polarised responses - people either love them or hate them! The great thing is, they get people talking about the things that are important to us,” Ms Adams concluded.

Semblance continues until 14 April and Transition continues until 26 May.

The gallery is open 7 days a week and entry is free.

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