One of the perks of starting my own gallery is surely being able to choose the works I want to exhibit in it's space. This exhibition was conceived with that in mind and it was something to look forward to at the end of my first year of running Gallery 139. I must admit that it's been the best decision I've made, to leave the security of a council job and to leap straight into owning and running my own business. It's not brave, as many have said to me, for me it's quite the opposite. Art and putting together exhibitions have been what I've been doing since my first year at Hunter St TAFE (Newcastle Art School) in 1997. That's nearly 20 years of practice. I'm not one to jump into risky things, I like the low road, I prefer the ferris-wheel to the rollercoaster and I'd rather consult the map before the trip than during. Of course, this doesn't always happen, but that's what I'd prefer.
Unfortunately, Gallery 139 is not physically big enough for all my wants! And time won...again and a few of the works/artists I wanted to be included in this Director's Choice are not, but besides that, I'm pretty happy with this exhibition and I'm looking forward to spending time with it until the exhibition ends. If you get the chance to visit, please do. There is a wonderful text-based work on the back wall made in 1993 by Lezlie Tilley which I've been eyeing off in her studio all year and there is the striking black and white "Veiled Woman...." linocut printed from 1999 by Vera Zulumovski and the bright, colourful suburban land inside the 2005 head of Peter Lankas. Sitting beside my desk is a gentle portrait of The Drawing Room's Ann Caddey painted by Rachel Milne on site during her artist residency at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery. Rachel has managed to capture Ann's likeness and austere personality in just a few quick and untainted brush strokes.
I've placed one of the black gallery chairs opposite the "Forest" collaborative painting by John Earle and Jason Lowe, so that when I feel like a break and change of view from my desk, I can sit and look at the way these 2 painters have worked together to capture the light in a darkened forest landscape. The more I look, the more I feel as if I can almost smell the trees and leaves. I could ramble on here about all the works but I'd rather you come in and take a look for yourself.
~ Ahn Wells
Lezlie Tilley appears courtesy of Brenda May Gallery, Sydney
Rachel Milne is represented by King Street Gallery on William, Sydney