Here we go. Collector's Space. My favourite #artmonth show. The third time it's getting reviewed on the Big Lamington. Will it deliver again this year? Will Glenn Barkley ask me next year? Will I find it? All serious questions!
First up, some details you need to know. This has moved. Again. The space is now downstairs at the Ray Hughes gallery on devonshire street. Handy if you feel like a pork & fennel sausage roll from the bourke street bakery, although less handy for a midweek assignation. Hence I joined the crowds on Saturday. Now, there are a couple of novelties for this year. A nice touch was mixing up all the art between the collectors, previously it had been quite compartmentalised. I see the itchy hand of the curator at work here. Another great move was getting some artists involved. Nell and Noel McKenna both sharing their collections. Other collectors included this year are corporate type Sue Cato, random IT type Clinton Bradley and random collecting couple from the north shore Max & Gabrielle Germanos.
82 works are listed in the room sheet, and I only have a paragraph to spare so go have a look-see for yourself as this is only going to hit the high notes. Well I usually like a big Danie Mellor, and Sue Cato's certainly ticks that box. Actually a lot of her collection ticks the boxes despite the curators intro (saying that collecting is not box ticking). Shaun Gladwell, Bill Henson, Guan Wei. Tick, tick, tick. I can tell by reading the names that Sue is a little older than me, this is a collection of a certain price range. I thought the same when trying to piece together the Germanos collection. Mclean Edwards x 3 and a Euan Macleod. It does say something to collect in depth, and I respect that. But in saying that they must really love Mclean Edwards! My favourite non-artist collector was definitely Clinton Bradley. Without the ability to play swapskis like Nell he has the collection that I could most empathise with putting together. Loved his massive Michael Parekowhai (yes I can pronounce it!), pictured top (Cosmo McMurtry). I can't believe he actually has this in his place. I mean he can't have kids, they would love it, I just mean there would be no room for it! It was great, and very timely given Easter is just round the corner. I wouldn't have guessed Parekowhai, but maybe Parekowhai channeling Koons. I also liked his Louise Weaver lithograph, recognised the Koji Ryui mini sculptures from Sarah Cottier and appreciated his collecting the 'harder' to categorise work like a powerpoint from Agatha Gothe-Snape.
Okay, I lied. I could squeeze in another paragraph. That's just because I'm now swapping to the artists collections. I think Glenn had another reason to mix up the art on display this year. If only to disguise how enamoured he was of the artists collections. With 82 works from 5 couples you would expect about 16 works each. But Nell & Kylie Kwong have contributed 30 works and Noel McKenna has 26 (yes I counted the room sheet, that's the dedication it takes to make it as a quasi-anonymous art blogger these days!). Now what I liked about the artist collections was the randomness of them. I also loved to look at a piece and try and guess whose it was. To me, Noel's collection had a strong connection with his own work. You could see a piece and think, that looks like Noel's. Just look at that picture 2nd from the top, a grouping from Noel's collection! The highlights of the McKenna collection in my opinion were the Rugby World Cup teapot by Alma Smith (pictured above) and what I think is an Ann Wallace piece (pictured below). I also liked his XXXX bottle top curtain. From Nell & Kylie Kwong's collection I enjoyed seeing what Nell has traded for, including a Lionel Bawden pencil work and a Laith McGregor bronze. Nell has kept a few of her own works including a nifty igloo with eyes (pictured 3rd from top) but my favourite of hers was probably one of the smallest, a 7 x 3cm Philjames of Mr Freeze.
Points: well, I know some people think art should be about ideas not money* but to the Big Lamington art is about points! Now, don't take it personally collectors, but this is what I would swipe if you had an open house ... 3 points to the big bunny (not Nell, the Parekowhai. 2 points to Noel's teapot. Shame it was 2003. I'd love a cricket world cup version from 2007. Maybe tiki mugs! 1 point will go to Nell, probably for the igloo (it kind of also reminds me of the Phantom's skull cave!). I also love how she framed all these notes from folks like Fred Tomaselli and Dick Bruna as art. Again a great random show, as Glenn would say 'art is the winner today'*. Looking forward to 2016 #artmonth already!
* art month have produced a lot of pastel business cards with Glenn Barkley quotes. If you see them grab one, certain collectors items in themselves.