Art and wine collaboration unveiled
Rutherglen Estates General Manager Marc Scalzo and curator Jamie Durrant at the opening of new cellar door and Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery.
A new winery tourism and Aboriginal art project was launched at Rutherglen Estates last Thursday which aims to add a new dimension to the winery.
In something of a cultural coup for the region, Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery at Rutherglen Estates, presents a ‘powerful and creative collaboration’ between the iconic winery and major Aboriginal arts collector, Hans Sip.
Mr Sip, who is also the director of the gallery, said he could not imagine a better home for his collection than Rutherglen Estates.
“The shared synergies, values and connections with the physical and social landscape, resonate strongly throughout our close collaboration,” he said.
“Over the past 18 months our common pur- pose was to create an immersive experience for cellar door visitors.
“A seamless fusion of cutting edge cellar door and state-of-the art gallery has achieved that.
“It is fitting that the new home of Aboriginal Exhibitions should be where fine wines are created and fine art shown.”
Quarterly exhibitions will launch with each new season and feature artworks from more than 90 Aboriginal artists, represented in Mr Sip’s diverse collection.
Rutherglen Estates General Manager and Chief Winemaker Marc Scalzo said the respectful repurposing of the 1880s winery building, to house the new cellar door and art gallery, had left the rustic walls, beams and well-trodden floor, mostly untouched.
“The sympathetic refresh of the historic cel- lar has allowed the art to breathe new life into the once forgotten space, creating warmth, texture and a perfect backdrop for the significant art works,” he said.
“The idea came out of a casual conversation with local friend, publisher and curator Jamie Durrant.
“We were just kicking around some ideas for the new cellar door space and now 700 canvases and artefacts later, we are privileged to be part of a collaboration that helps carry the Aboriginal culture forward, for each generation to understand and appreciate.”
Mr Scalzo said as curious and experimental winemakers, “creativity is part of our DNA, the source of new ideas and the lifeblood of our winemaking process”.
“Embracing provenance has always been a key driver in our approach to winemaking, so it seemed like a natural fit to let art amplify the ambiance,” he said.
Close connections to their Murray River homelands and the sacred nature of the river, are some of the themes explored in works by Latje Latje and Yorta Yorta artists in the first exhibition, Dhungala -Trevor ‘Turbo’ Brown and Craig Charles, which runs from October until early 2018.
Future gallery programs will include a series of ‘wine and art conversations’, led by knowledgeable speakers, and in the longer term, a series of artists-in-residence workshops and events.
The gallery’s curator Jamie Durrant said the gallery at Rutherglen Estates represented one of the most significant Aboriginal arts and winery tourism projects the nation had ever seen.
The Hans Sip collection includes paintings, prints and artefacts produced by artists from all over Australia.
“The collection is unique in that Hans Sip maintains, where possible, close personal connections to the artists and their families,” Mr Durrant said.
“Hans Sip is one of Australia’s most prolific and respected Aboriginal art collectors.
“His knowledge, vision and choice in collected works is impressive and as gallery curator I’m simply blown away by the enormous possibilities pertaining to preparing classleading exhibitions that are set to draw large crowds from both national and international audiences.
“I’m excited at Rutherglen Estate’s keen vision to invest in the art gallery space, and in its combined cellar door development.”
Rutherglen Estates’ new look cellar door and art gallery. Sue Davis Photography.
Rutherglen Estates General Manager Marc Scalzo, art collector Hans Sip and curator Jamie Durrant toast to the official opening. Sue Davis Photography.
Rutherglen Estates Winery officially opened its combined cellar door and art gallery last Thursday. Sue Davis Photography.