Art and wine col­lab­o­ra­tion un­veiled

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

Sue Davis Pho­tog­ra­phy.

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.

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