Art col­lec­tors unite at a Syd­ney din­ner.

Belle - - Belle Promotion - Pho­to­graphs DAVID WHEELER Words HARRY ROBERTS

An in­ner-Syd­ney cel­lar door was the in­dus­trial set­ting for an art­ful din­ner with a cast of art pa­trons who shared works from their own col­lec­tions, serv­ing guestswith food for thought.

There was a serendip­i­tous meet­ing of minds when the pri­vate col­lec­tions of four Syd­ney art lovers con­verged at this year’s Col­lec­tors’ Space. The third it­er­a­tion of Art Month’s an­nual ex­hi­bi­tion, which com­prises the ac­qui­si­tions of our most pas­sion­ate art pa­trons, the show was a rare oc­ca­sion for works by lead­ing con­tem­po­rary artists to face off in un­ex­pected con­ver­sa­tions. “The artists are very much here with us,” re­marked Art Month artis­tic di­rec­tor Barry Kel­doulis when Belle hosted a Reader Art Din­ner to toast the ex­hi­bi­tion. Set within Eveleigh Cre­ative Precinct, a dy­namic new cul­tural hub in in­ner-city Red­fern that was among the key venues for Art Month’s 2016 pro­gram, Cake Wines’ cel­lar door pro­vided a sleek, in­dus­trial foil for an even­ing that probed the art of col­lect­ing. Ar­ranged on raw concrete walls, a se­lec­tion of works loaned by this year’s col­lec­tors – Sally Dan-Cuth­bert, Court­ney Gib­son, Danny Gold­berg and Jasper Knight – min­gled with ar­rest­ing re­sults.

Here, the mon­u­men­tal tableaux of pho­to­me­dia artist Rose­mary Laing, shot amid vast desert land­scapes, were jux­ta­posed with a more in­ti­mately staged ar­range­ment lensed by her con­tem­po­rary, Elaine Cam­paner, while Syd­ney painter Gemma Smith’s tan­gled ab­strac­tions found a strik­ing echo in the loop­ing com­po­si­tion and neon hues of a can­vas by Bri­tish mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary artist Ed­die Peake.

Sally, Jasper and Danny joined Barry in a dis­cus­sion that painted a vivid pic­ture of the col­lec­tors’ en­dur­ing pas­sions. Hav­ing made a ca­reer in ad­vis­ing in­di­vid­u­als and in­sti­tu­tions on art pur­chases, Sally said that her own guid­ing prin­ci­ple when it comes to col­lect­ing is, in fact, highly in­tu­itive. “The art col­lec­tions I help oth­ers put to­gether prob­a­bly have more rhyme and rea­son than my own,” she said. “All the works we have col­lected are things that we love. It came from be­ing im­mersed in art from an early age and want­ing to con­tinue [that], and from mar­ry­ing a man who’s happy to hu­mour me and join me in that jour­ney.”

For Danny, too, build­ing a col­lec­tion has been some­thing he likens to a jour­ney. Five years ago, he and wife Lisa shifted their focus away from lo­cal prac­tice and have since amassed a spec­tac­u­lar sur­vey of Euro­pean and US art. “We thought we might make a dif­fer­ence if we could en­able Aus­tralians to see the here-and-now of in­ter­na­tional art,” he said. “That be­came the vi­sion: to col­lect con­tem­po­rary art with a view to it be­ing seen.” The Gold­berg Col­lec­tion has toured ex­ten­sively, most re­cently with ‘Stars + Stripes: Amer­i­can Art of the 21st Cen­tury’. “A lot of us prob­a­bly travel and we might get to go to a ma­jor mu­seum in New York or Paris,” said Barry. “What I love about Danny’s col­lec­tion is that I’m see­ing work by emerg­ing artists we may not get the chance to fer­ret out of the artist-run spa­ces or smaller in­sti­tu­tions where they’re show­ing.”

As well as be­ing an ac­claimed and in uen­tial artist him­self, Jasper runs two gal­leries, in­clud­ing Syd­ney’s Chalk Horse, giv­ing him a unique per­spec­tive on the re­la­tion­ship be­tween artist and col­lec­tor. “I’ve al­ways run gal­leries be­cause I like be­ing sur­rounded by artists,” he ex­plained, “so if I’m not be­ing an artist then I’m col­lab­o­rat­ing with artists, paint­ing with them or talk­ing to them.” Many of the works loaned for Col­lec­tors’ Space had been gifts from fel­low artists or works he had traded for his own. “When you swap an art­work, you can never sell it be­cause you’ve made a bond with the artist. So you’ve got it for life.”

This spirit of cre­ative ex­change is em­bod­ied by the unique cu­ra­to­rial premise of Col­lec­tors’ Space, and was re ected in the cross-pol­li­na­tion of tal­ent that brought Belle’s Reader Art Din­ner to life. Chef Gre­gory Llewellyn, owner of New­town’s Hart­syard, com­posed an in­no­va­tive menu that re ected the zest for ex­per­i­men­ta­tion ev­i­dent in the works on show, while re­main­ing in sync with the laid-back, down­town vibe ex­uded by the cel­lar door. Matched with pre­mium Cake Wines, his hearty fare was an art­ful ac­com­pa­ni­ment to an even­ing abun­dant with food for thought. art­month­syd­;

This page, from top Cake Wines’ Red­fern cel­lar door was the set­ting for the din­ner. Tantrix Tan­gle by Gemma Smith from Jasper Knight’s col­lec­tion. Op­po­site page A work by Elaine Cam­paner from the col­lec­tion of Sally Dan-Cuth­bert hangs above ta­bles...


This page, clock­wise from top le A Rose­mary Laing work hangs in the din­ing room. Danny Gold­berg with an Ed­die Peake work. Din­ner guests. Jasper Knight with Gemma Smith’s Tantrix Tan­gle.

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