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September 14, 2009 | by  | in Visual Arts | [ssba]

A Timely Celebration


It’s our very own Adam Art Gallery’s birthday and you’re all invited to the party. To mark the tenth anniversary of their opening on 21 September 1999, the Adam is holding a special exhibition focused around a unique birthday celebration on 19 Saturday September.

To mark such an important occasion, curator Laura Preston has invited eight artists to create a context for the party: to engage directly with the gallery’s walls for the ten days prior. The gallery opened to the public the same day the artists were let loose on its walls, allowing visitors a unique view into the process involved to get each work to a finished product.

In true Adam style the exhibition looks at topical, timely themes that concern contemporary art practice, providing artists with a platform to explore how these issues relate to their work. The show delves into the idea of time—past, present and future—an important artistic concern and also an interesting concept for the gallery to consider at such a point in its lifetime.

The artists were chosen for their interest in duration and different approaches to the concept of time. Although each artist comes from a painting background, they are dissimilar in almost every other aspect, providing a diverse range of cultures, age and artistic perspectives. Their diversity continues in their artwork. Whilst some are taking inspiration from their past work, others are turning to the future, exploring new media, all the while engaging with the specifics of the gallery site.

On the first day of the exhibition I entered the gallery to find Jeena Shin surrounded by drawings, sticky tape, pins, paint and pencils, carefully marking out the bare bones of her design for the Congreve Foyer. In Fractus, the artist is examining the constant movement and change of a work, first as the artist creates it, then as the viewer perceives it and also the constant changes inflicted on its physical environment. She reminds us that in many things the only constant is the inconstant.

Around the corner, Simon Morris was laying out the foundations for his work Coloured line, there and back, which will take place systematically over the entire ten-day period in the awkward, narrow space of the Upper Chartwell Gallery. The artist will carry out a pre-conceived pattern stretching the length of the wall, whilst also adapting it in response to the daily constraints of the surroundings.

As the week progresses so will each artwork. A focused hush has already enrobed the gallery and a sense of anticipation abounds. Entering the space you cannot help but feel somewhat like David Attenborough observing rare creatures in their natural habitat. Or perhaps like a guest who has arrived too early to a party. Despite appearances, the party is in full swing and will reach its peak this Saturday night.

If you haven’t yet explored the gallery or are well overdue a visit, now is an excellent time to take a fresh look. The tenth birthday exhibition marks an important milestone in the gallery’s life, celebrates the here and now, and signals the start of an exciting future.

Adam Art Gallery
Next to the Student Union Building,
Kelburn Campus

Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm

10th Birthday Celebration
19 September 8-11pm
$5 door charge


About the Author ()

Fiona was named "Recessionista" in the ASPA Fashion Awards 2009 for her Takaka op-shop frock and spray painted shoes. She co-edits the arts section and also likes to write about women and other stuff.

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