Art Month goodness

| March 17, 2014

Art Month Sydney celebrates the diversity of contemporary art in Sydney this March. Mel Thatcher has ventured out to galleries and art studios and shares what she has discovered so far.

I think I am officially in love with Art Month. Although it was more than tempting to stay within the warm dry cocoon of my house the first weekend, I did brave the rain, and it was well worth it. I got to discuss the intricacies of building bower birds from found objects and also got to listen to graffiti artists talk about taking their art practice indoors. All in all it was a pretty educational day, really!

Saturday, 1 March, marked the first day of the Marrickville Open Studio Trail (MOST). This Art Month event sees artists of the local area open their doors to the general public, so we can get a sneak peak behind the scenes of their creative process. It’s on every year, and I miss it every time, but not this year!

My first stop was the eclectic Bower Re-Use and Repair Centre in the Addison Road complex. At the Bower nothing is thrown away! Everything is repaired, restored, reused and resold and it’s an absolute treasure trove for artists, collectors or those looking to furnish their homes with something other than the Ikea aesthetic.

The Bower at the Addison Road Centre Marrickville

It was at The Bower that I got chatting with local sculptor Fiona Arnold. Arnold, who normally works from her apartment, had taken over The Bowers Mens Shed workshop for the duration of MOST, and was having a ball in the extra space. She was working on a sculptural piece created from discarded timber and steel and took us through her process.

Fiona’s works start with the story of finding the object, continues with research into the history of the object and ends with the re-purposing of the object as a sculptural form, giving it new life. I just love that. This work – the bower bird – will be taking centre stage out the front of The Bower when completed, so another visit is most definitely on the cards to see it in its finished form.

The anatomy of a Bower Bird. Artist Fiona Arnold gathers the found objects in order to assemble her latest creation

Time disappeared in The Bower, and I had to say goodbye to the MOST trail and head on over to Chippendale for Drawing the line, a talk hosted by kiwi street artist Askew One who posed the question “Does street art have a place in the gallery?” to a pretty unreal panel starring Scott MarshBeastmanLister and gallerist Tim Olsen.

The answers were as varied as the panellists themselves. Highlights for me included Lister’s description of his public interventions and Marsh describing the difference between graffiti and street art (he said it’s like the difference between snowboarding and skiing for those who were wondering). The event was capped off with live art in the window of the McLemoi – host gallery of the event.

Drawing the Line. Artist talk at McLemoi gallery & artworks by Beastman & Numskull

There was a certain unplanned connection between the two Art Month events I attended on the weekend. An artist who takes discarded items from the street and re-purposes them into sculptural works, followed by a group of artists who take pieces of the street, re-purposing the urban landscape into a gallery space for their works. It felt good to meet and listen to people passionate about what they do. Like I said, I think I’m a little bit in love with Art Month. I wonder what the rest of the festival will bring?

Art month runs until 23rd March – there are hundreds of events to attend. Click here for more info.

Photos © @The_Arty_Type


An edited version of this blog first appeared in The Arty Type and is republished with the permission of the author.