Follow the Sydney Contemporary blog to access behind the scenes exclusives and join us on our journey in the lead up to the September event…



Are you ready for Australasia’s international art fair?  For the first time Art Money interest free loans will be available to fair-goers, making buying art more affordable and accessible to all. Launched in April 2015, Art Money has taken off around Australia, with first time art buyers through to established collectors embracing the program with enthusiasm. Art Money creates flexibility, allowing you to extend your budget, pay off a work over time without interest and offset the guilt of a big purchase.

Think you might like to give Art Money a try? You can sign up for a loan on the spot at the Fair, but we suggest applying for pre-approval on the Art Money website beforehand so you’re ready to go when you find a work you can’t live without.

Pre-approvals are valid for 30 days. Apply now to be pre-approved for the Fair!

Art at Night : Paddington and Woollahra





It goes without saying that Glenn Barkley is a national treasure. He’s an independent curator, writer, artist who recently co-founded The Curators’ Department, with Ivan Muñiz Reed and Holly Williams as well as experimental ceramics studio with with Bev Shroot and Rachel McCallum. He was previously Senior Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (2008–14) and curator of the University of Wollongong Art Collection (1996–2007) and was the Artistic Director of Art Month in 2014.

Throughout his extensive career he has always maintained his love for contemporary ceramics and is a celebrated ceramicist in his own right exhibiting with Utopia Art Sydney. This year Sydney Contemporary will showcase the work of a number of ceramicists including Stephen Benwell (Niagara Galleries, Melbourne), Brendan Huntley (Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne) and Bundit Puangthong (Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane) just to name a few.

We caught up with Glenn to find out why he fell in love with the medium and what his tips are for collecting.


I helped to establish with Bev Shroot and Rachel McCallum. I felt there was a need to establish a studio where there was less emphasis on pottery production and more on art making. We have just opened and had a great response with all the studios booked out and an exciting program of workshops coming up soon!


I have collected ceramics for a long time as well as curating and writing about the medium. I included ceramics in exhibitions at the MCA – including works by Toni Warburton in one of my first shows the Australian survey show Making it New. My mother-in- law Lyn Havilah was also a production potter so ceramics has always been around in one form or another!

Stephen Benwell, Roman Holiday, 2015, courtesy of the artist and Niagara Galleries, Melbourne


I think that some parts of the art world are at a particularly porous stage – there is an embrace of a lot of artists and art forms that maybe weren’t  so acceptable 5 years ago. Ceramics is a part of that.

I think the other interesting thing is there is an embrace of a particular type of practice – quite visceral, hand build and sculptural mainly – and I think the next phase is bringing in the more refined elements of the ceramics community.


One of the first major things was a watercolour by Noel McKenna we commissioned for my wife’s birthday of her horse Chelsea – a work we really cherish.


I think just seeing the galleries stands and getting a chance to have a sense of where arts at right now. Also Installation Contemporary but I’m biased as The Curators Department is working on it!


I think that Sydney Contemporary is bringing a lot of great ceramicist together – from the senior artists Stephen Benwell through to younger practicioners like Justin Cooper and Ramesh Mario Nitheyendran. I’m also a huge fan of Lynda Draper who is incredibly influential on a whole lot of younger artists – you’ll be able to see all these artists work at Sydney Contemporary!

Linda Draper
Lynda Draper, Starman finalist 2014 Woollahra Small Scuplture Prize, courtesy of the artist and Gallerysmith, Melbourne


A Kirsten Coelho still life. (Kirsten will have work at This is no Fantasy )


The tip for anyone collecting is to LOOK and then LOOK again. Get to know which galleries are showing ceramics and get on their mailing lists. Get advice when you need to. Read books and journals.

VS-HI-Fortune Teller FRONT
Vipoo Srivlasa, courtesy of the artist and Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane


Getting out of Sydney and going to the south coast – it’s only 2 hours away!



Sydney Contemporary: Art Money Pre-Approval

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 4.27.58 pm
Kirsten Duncombe used Art Money to buy a work she fell in love with.

Planning to buy some art at Sydney Contemporary? It’s time to apply for Art Money pre-approval! For the first time Art Money interest free loans will be available to fair-goers, making buying art more affordable and accessible to all. Launched in April 2015, Art Money has taken off around Australia, with first time art buyers through to established collectors embracing the program with enthusiasm. Art Money creates flexibility, allowing you to extend your budget, pay off a work over time without paying interest and offset the guilt of a big purchase!

Art teacher Kirsten Duncombe recently used Art Money to purchase a limited edition Sarah Mosca print from Galerie pompom. “I like the story behind the work, the artist’s concept, which involves her walking through the mountainous Abruzzo region of Italy, with single sheets of large-format colour negatives attached inside her clothing, across her chest. “These days we spend money on all sorts of things – nice shoes, trips away – which is great. But once you realise that you can buy art and just pay a bit off every month, and you can have this thing forever, on your walls – that’s the best thing.”

Think you might like to give Art Money a try? You can sign up for a loan on the spot at the Fair, but we suggest applying for pre-approval via the Art Money website beforehand so you’re ready to go when you find a work you can’t live without.

Pre-approvals are valid for 30 days. To be pre-approved for the Fair you should register anytime from August 15 up until September 9th.

Visit the Art Money website for more information and find out more about applying for pre-approval here. View which exhibiting galleries currently offer Art Money and make sure you check back – new galleries are added each week!




Portrait Web

Melissa Loughnan has had an amazing career in the art world for someone so young. It all started in 2007 (aged 24) when she opened up a not-for-profit space in Collingwood, Melbourne called Utopian Slumps. Since then she successfully turned that space into a commercial gallery in the CBD which she ran for 5 years. She’s now a consultant who manages public art projects, consults to private clients, writes, and performs freelance curatorial work.

We caught up with Melissa who is our Melbourne VIP Liaison to find out how she started her career and what her tips are for starting a collection.


I first opened Utopian Slumps in Melbourne in 2007 as a non-profit curator-run gallery. I was close to completing my Masters in Art Curatorship and had been looking for a space to curate exhibitions in. I was offered very affordable rent for a space in Collingwood and, at the age of 24 and with no financial backing or business plan, decided to open a gallery. I spent the first three years applying for grants unsuccessfully, and realised that I may never win the hearts of the funding bodies. In 2010 I shifted the model to a curator-run commercial gallery and re-opened in Melbourne’s CBD. I operated the gallery in the CBD for a further five years, coming to represent eighteen emerging and established artists from Australia and New Zealand. At the end of 2014 I closed the gallery and at the beginning of this year I restructured Utopian Slumps to a consulting agency, through which I manage public art projects, consult to private clients, write, and perform freelance curatorial work.


I bought a Newell Harry drawing from Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in 2006.

Mitch Cairns_Painting in Increments_2014
Mitch Cairns, Painting in Increments, 2014, courtesy of the artist and The Commercial, Sydney


Sydney Contemporary’s VIP Program is pretty exciting, from private house tours of major collectors’ homes to tours of artists’ studios.  I’m also looking forward to Talk Contemporary, especially ‘Talent Borrows, Genius Steals – Appropriation in Art’, ‘Post Internet Art: Understanding the New Art Movement’ and ‘How Australia Sees Itself Through Art’.


In terms of the artists who will be exhibiting at Sydney Contemporary, aside from former Utopian Slumps artists Jake Walker and Amber Wallis, whose new works I’m really excited about seeing; I’m most looking forward to seeing Mitch Cairns and Emily Hunt at The Commercial, Tony Garifalakis at Hugo Michell Gallery, and Matt Hinkley at Sutton Gallery. In terms of artists in general, I was recently in New York and really loved seeing Ester Partegas’ new work at Foxy Production and Brian Kokoska’s exhibition at Johannes Vogt.


A Hany Armanious from Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, in particular one of the cast sculptures from his 2013 exhibition, or his black, white and yellow UV dye on carpet piece from his most recent exhibition.

Matt Hinkley, Untitled 10, 2014, courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne


Visit as many galleries as you can (commercial, artist run and institutional) and start following the artists’ careers that you respond to most. Once you’ve seen a few bodies of work from them you’ll become more confident in your decision-making and know when you see an artwork that you have to have.


While Melbourne has an amazing food scene, Sydney’s got some great offerings too. Yum cha and Thai food are always on my Sydney to do list, and I had an amazing meal at NOMAD last year, so I’m keen to get back there when I’m in Sydney next. The bar at Golden Age Cinema, around the corner from NOMAD, is also run by some friends of mine and has a great cocktail list.



Collecting prints and works on paper with Akky van Ogtrop

Akky Portrait

Akky van Ogtrop has had an impressive career! From studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Netherlands, to working at the Biennale of Sydney and now the president of the Print Council of Australia, curator, art historian and valuer – Akky is a true testament to the cultural fabric of Australia.

Although her career has been diverse she has always come back to her passion for print-making and works on paper.

We sat down with Akky (the curator of the new exhibition sector for 2015 – Paper Contemporary) to find out how it all started and to get some tips on collecting the medium.


I graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands, majoring in printmaking , and have a Masters Degree Fine Arts, Sydney University, with the Thesis on Dada.

One of my first jobs in Australia was as  Manager of Stadia Graphics Gallery in Sydney, one of the first and foremost galleries in Australia to specialise on works on paper. I learned an enormous amount about Australian printmakers and got to know many of them.  Consequently I became a member of the Print Council of Australia in the early eighties.   I became committee member as a state representative, then vice president and am now  il presidentee.

I worked for a number of organisations including the Biennale of Sydney. But I always came back to art on paper,  as I love the medium.  As a result I founded the Sydney Art on Paper Fair in 1989,  the first art fair in Australia with the focus on International and national Works on Paper . However after organising 10 art fairs I needed a break and the last fair finished in 2005. Now 10 years later I am very excited to be able to put the Special Paper Contemporary Segment  together as part of Sydney Contemporary.

In 1988 I established Akky van Ogtrop Fine Arts, specialising in Works on Paper by 19th and 20th Century Masters, as well as contemporary Australian and international artists.  I work as curator and art historian and I am a Valuer Australia Government’s Cultural Gift Program.

Noel McKenna 'Dog 3 legs' -web
Image: Noel McKenna, Dog, 3 legs 2014, etching and aquatint, 26.5 x 34.5cm, Represented by Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney, courtesy of the artist and Cicada Press


Drawings, watercolors, collage , limited edition prints, posters, photographs, artists books,  zines.   All works of art on/ or made with/ from paper


Contemporary art mirrors contemporary culture and society, offering a rich resource through which to consider current ideas and rethink the familiar. The work of contemporary artists is a dynamic combination of materials, methods, concepts, and subjects that challenges traditional boundaries and defies easy definition. In a  globally influenced, culturally diverse, and technologically advancing world, contemporary artists working in the printmaking or any other paper based  medium include these  new technologies  to further their ideas etc. Artists today explore ideas, concepts, questions, and practices that examine the past, describe the present, and imagine the future. In light of such diversity, there is no simple or singular way to define the importance of works of art on paper in a contemporary context


A  strong representation of galleries, printmaking workshops and art publishers  amplified by a comprehensive and entertaining program of talks, workshops, symposia and tours, which provide up close, personal and professional insights into artists practice .

The workshops are conducted by masterprinters , alongside artists making their own books and zines.


I am biased of course but the possibility to demonstrate print making,  artists books making as well as zines will be such an eye opener for the visitors. There is still so much ignorance about these mediums and undervaluation.  But when people can see the process and the interns work and skills as well as thoughts they will be surprised.

The participating galleries and print work shops are from around Australia and the best there are :showcasing some of Australia’s best including works by Emily Floyd, eX de Medici, , Mike Parr,  Judy Watson   Glen Mackie and   Daniel O’Shane  and wonderful works by Japanese artists  such as  Hamanishi.


It  is difficult to make a choice as there are so many  to chose from. But  I am always  excited when I see that printmaking , artists’ books  etc. are making an impact and are seen as an important  part of the whole artistic oeuvre of an artists’ work.

3. Rose Nolan YouSeeWhatI'mSaying 2012
Image: Rose Nolan, You See What I’m Saying (twice over print version) 2012, screenprint on Magnani Corona 310 gsm, 100 x 70 cm, edition of 25, Published and printed by Negative Press


I collect both international as well as Australian works of art on paper, but my main interest was and still is  Dada, the Bauhaus period,  constructivism, FlUXUS  etc. and over  the years I  collected many works from that period.

If I could have a choice now,  it would be a work on paper or artist book  by the Russian artist El Lissitzky.   He was a great designer, photographer, typographer, polemicist and architect. He was an important figure of the Russian Avant Garde, helping develop suprematism with his mentor, Kazimir Malevich . His work greatly influenced the Bauhaus and constructivist movements.  He experimented with production techniques and stylistic devices that would still go on to dominate the 20th and into 21st graphic design.

Sadly for me his work has become so scarce and rare, very valuable and very expensive.. so that leaves me only with a very small artists’ book which I bought about 20 years ago…


View the widest range and  for you, the most interesting  of  works of art on paper.  Buy the works you really love, enjoy and  live with. Choose  works by artists  that keeps you interested and on your toes.  Works on paper have a wonderful intimate directness. When you start collecting I am sure you get hooked on this rich medium,  used by so many great artists from Rembrandt to Picasso to Jim Dine   to  Mike Parr….


It’s so secret that I do not have a clue…..



Introducing Art Money, interest free loans to buy art

Art Money is designed to make owning and enjoying contemporary art accessible to everyone. It’s simple. You apply online, choose the work  you’d like to buy, pay a 10% deposit, take your work home and pay the rest off with nine equal payments over 9 months. Easy!

Art Money has partnered with Sydney Contemporary to make buying art more affordable than ever before. During Sydney Contemporary, Art  Money will be available to visitors to the fair. You can sign up for a loan on the spot at the Fair, or apply for pre-approval online beforehand so  you’re ready to go when you find a work you can’t live without. View which exhibiting galleries currently offer Art Money and make sure you check back as new galleries are added each week.

Art Money at the Fair

For all questions and enquiries you’ll find Art Money next to the Sydney Contemporary Information Desk. We’ll also be leading a series of  exciting Buy Art tours, designed to introduce you to the best buys and rising stars of Australian art. Tours are free but places are strictly  limited. More info coming soon!

Art Money is the world’s first commercial art loans program and is supported by the City of Sydney and 10 Group. For  more information about Art Money visit the website or send us an enquiry.

AM_City Lights Hiromi Tango       AM_City Lights Louise Tuckwell       AM_City Lights Jess MacNeil



Sydney Film Festival x Sydney Contemporary Festival Hub

Sydney Contemporary is excited to partner with the Sydney Film Festival and launch an innovative video art exhibition at the Festival Hub on Thursday 4 June. The exhibition, curated by Fair Director, Barry Keldoulis features 12 cutting-edge Australian and international artists including Josh Azzarella (USA), David Capra (AUS), Heath Franco (AUS), Deborah Kelly (AUS), Christian J. Heinrich (AUS) Juan Pablo Langlois (Chile), Nicolás Superby (Chile), Jess MacNeil (AUS, UK), Baden Pailthorpe (AUS), Cameron Robbins (AUS), Joan Ross (AUS), Allison Schulnik (USA) and Grant Stevens (AUS) and will run for the duration of the Festival.

JOAN ROSS The naming of things from The claiming of things 2012
“We are thrilled to be collaborating with the Sydney Film Festival to showcase a variety of the most interesting moving image artworks,” said Barry Keldoulis, Director of Sydney Contemporary.  “The exhibition includes works that approach the medium from a cinematic world view and others that explore a completely different way of seeing.  The Festival Hub is a great space to explore video art by artists at the forefront of their field”.

“The Sydney Contemporary Video Exhibition features a range of styles and approaches,” said Sydney Film Festival Director Nashen Moodley.  “Artworks include performance art; elements from classic Hollywood films; and digital and stop-motion clay animation. Each artist’s work explores the possibilities of video art and comments on contemporary culture in radically different ways,” he said.

The Festival Hub is a central feature for film lovers to meet before and after screenings bringing together a program of art, talks, entertainment, parties and performances. For more information, click here.

1. Heath Franco, HOME TOWN, installation view

Images: Joan Ross, ‘The naming of things from The claiming of things’, 2012, courtesy the artist and Michael Reid Gallery; Heath Franco, ‘Home Town’, installation view, Galerie PomPom



Barry Keldoulis explores the South American Art scene

Fair Director Barry Keldoulis has been busy travelling the globe as he plans and develops the second edition of the Fair. Just back from a recent trip to Chile and Peru, Keldoulis gives us highlights of his travels including interesting art events and the cutting-edge art scene.

WHERE HAVE YOUR TRAVELS TAKEN YOU TO?  I’ve just come back from a trip to South America, visiting Santiago and the Atacama Desert in Chile and Lima in Peru.

AtacamaWHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO TRAVEL TO PERU AND CHILE? Sydney Contemporary last year was automatically very international with about 35% of the galleries from overseas. They cut a swathe from New Zealand, South-East-Asia and up to north Asia (with a smattering from India, South Africa and Europe.) For the next edition of the Fair I’d like to complete the circle of the Pacific Rim, acknowledging Sydney’s place at its centre.

Sydney has a direct flight to Santiago and the Chilean art scene is very interesting, as is that of Peru.

The week started with a welcoming event in the spectacular location on the helipad of the second tallest tower in the earthquake prone Santiago! (see video below)

Mornings were generally taken up with visits to museums, private collections and very interesting corporate collections who are exploring interesting ways to support the visual arts. For example, the CCU has a dedicated space for emerging artists’ installations and a broad education program.

Afternoons and evenings were generally spent at Ch.ACO, a fantastic boutique art fair presenting about 40 galleries. It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with the Santiago galleries I was familiar with and to meet galleries and collectors from across South America, North America and Europe. Many are excited about coming to Sydney Contemporary and the program that we’re developing for 2015! I saw lots of great work with interesting points of comparison to the Australian art scene.

One of the most interesting galleries was Galeria AFA, presenting the photo work of Paz Errazuriz, who will represent Chile at next year’s Venice Biennale, with a collection of images documenting transvestite prostitute brothers during the Pinochet dictatorship.

Galeria AFA

After the Fair, their philanthropic Foundation generously invited about 40 art world professionals including artists, curators, gallery directors and Collectors, up to the extraordinary Explora hotel in the Atacama desert. This was a fantastic opportunity to talk about future projects in detail outside of the hustle and bustle of the Fair.

WHAT’S THE ART SCENE LIKE THERE? In both Chile and Peru, and indeed in many centres across South America, the scene is very vibrant. Since my previous visit in May, about half a dozen new Artist-Run-Initiatives (ARIs) and commercial galleries have opened in Santiago for example. As an Australian, it’s interesting to see their contemporary visual cultures have many points of confluence with our own, as post-colonial countries with Indigenous populations and multi-cultural societies.

ARE THERE ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN AUSTRALIAN AND SOUTH AMERICAN ART? As successfully developing economies, some of the concerns emerging in their contemporary art mirror concerns here. As politics becomes less contentious and the economies develop, issues around commercialisation and globalisation and the resultant cultural positives and negatives that arise. Some attention is focused on the interesting peripheries of their societies that hither-to were barely or never acknowledged.

Also, interestingly the price point for art is similar to that of Australia and New Zealand, which I think is something that will work in favour of healthy cultural exchange across the Pacific.

WHERE ARE YOU OFF TO NEXT? Next trip is to Taipei and Hong Kong to re-engage with participants in the fair last year and to make contact with potential exhibitors and collectors.




SYDNEY CONTEMPORARY 2013 1st Night Highlights


Monday 16 September

Check out my interview below with Abigail Crompton, from Third Drawer Down in Fitzroy.Sydney ContemporaryThird Drawer Down and Concrete Playground are giving you the chance to win a hand-signed, original Perspective Scarf by renowned contemporary Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei. In addition to this cool item, they are also throwing in two VIP, all-access passes to the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair. Opening on the evening of the 19 September, the inaugural edition of Sydney’s international art fair will then run from 20 to 22 September at Carriageworks.To be in the running, make sure you’re subscribed to the Concrete Playground newsletter and then email with your name and address.
Third Drawer Down is an amazing space, part Museum part store filled with great pieces, how did it all come about?
Our philosophy is exactly the same in everything that we do since Third Drawer Down was established 10 years ago.  The changes in these 10 years have been a diversification of the company into 3 cross-pollinating areas.  Third Drawer Down retail store, Third Drawer Down wholesale collaborations and Third Drawer Down Studio.   
When I originally sat down and wrote my founding vision statement, I wanted to make art more accessible by taking ubiquitous objects and making them collectable yet affordable.  I wanted to collaborate with as many amazing people I could squeeze into my lifetime (self indulgent), and travel the world working with people that have the same mission of finding the perfect balance between art and business.
Third Drawer Down was built on the premise that it would become a part of tradition, rather than a trend.   I have always wanted to work with art museums.  I bought an airline ticket 12 years ago and went to all the major art galleries around the world in a quest to understand their individual market and commercial philosophy. 
When I returned from overseas, I established the Third Drawer Down project with Limited Edition tea towels.  My goal was always to open Third Drawer Down Studio to work with some of the most important artists in history (I like to work with living breathing artists rather than “departed” ones, so I admit contemporary art is my vice). 

Third Drawer Down Studio  encourages artistic innovation and provides a platform for collaboration for cultural institutions and established artists and designers to work together. We have produced hundreds of products for the world’s most prestigious institutions, corporations and charities including Tate Modern, MoMA, Financial Times, Design Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Whitney Museum, National Gallery of Victoria, New Museum and Whitechapel Gallery.

You guys have done some great collaborations, with the Louise Bourgeois estate and now this amazing collection with Ai Weiwei, how do these collaborations come about?
Both these collaborations started through existing projects with our clients overseas where Third Drawer Down Studio was invited to design, develop and manufacture objects with these Artists.  Due to the synergy and the desire for an extended partnership,   we decided to produce in collaboration our own collections with Louise Bourgeouis Estate and Ai Weiwei.  
A have told this story a few times but it remains vividly in my mind.  I have always had a major “art crush” on Louise Bourgeois.

Tate Modern invited me to meet with them working with them to discuss projects.  The day before the meeting, I walked around Tate with my notebook listing all the artists I have dreamed of working with.  Quite a list if I don’t say myself!

So there I was, sitting in the meeting the following day and the Tate opened the dialogue with the forthcoming Louise Bourgeois project, and I jumped in head first, telling them about my list of artists and my personal list headed by Louise Bourgeois. 
My clients looked at each other, and slid a folder across the table, saying ‘”Well Abi, it is Louise Bourgeois we want you to work with”!  How is that!  I was so buzzed out, she so rocks my world and dreams really do come true.

This was the first major project with a museum and the largest project for Third Drawer Down Studio.  During this fantastic project, I met Louise while in New York and she signed the prototype handkerchief we were developing as one of the editions – it reads “I HAVE BEEN TO HELL AND BACK.  AND LET ME TELL YOU IT WAS WONDERFUL” – see image 
Ai Weiwei collaboration came about via a random connection.  We were working on a client project and Ai Weiwei was a participating Artist.  
I was at the stage of making contact with his studio yet my contacts all explained that the best way was to send him a letter.  I was on the phone to my only friend in Beijing and he happened to ask me what were working on.  I sighed……and said  ‘Do you know of Ai Weiwei’s work?’, thinking more about whether my friend actually knew of this artists work…..
My friend replied ‘Abi, do I know of his work?  I go to his parties!… you want me to introduce Ai Weiwei to you?’
And then we started the collaboration of which you now have the ability to purchase through our website here.
Where do you turn for creative inspiration – nature, travel, books, magazines or the web etc?
I am a total art book and eccentric culture magazine addict!  I used to work at Metropolis books when it was in St Kilda, and found this ultimate love for art books with glossy pages, not much writing (no time to read) and a world of visual paradise for my mind.
And travel – my favourite place that is not very far away from here that offers me everything as a sensory overload is Tokyo.  I regularly visit once or twice a year for a global catch up.
 And the Internet is a given –
What are you working on at the moment?
We are currently working on an amazing project with National Gallery of Victoria for the Melbourne Now exhibition to be launched in November this year.   Our retail space is growing with a new room being built later this month so we are currently curating new products for this expansion.  The other super exciting project is two new micro collections we are launching in January 2014 with some amazing international artists —— but we cannot mention any names at this point, except to say they are incredible.  
We are currently working on an amazing project with National Gallery of Victoria for the Melbourne Now exhibition to be launched in November this year.   Our retail space is growing with a new room being built later this month so we are currently curating new products for this expansion.  The other super exciting project is two new micro collections we are launching in January 2014 with some amazing international artists —— but we cannot mention any names at this point, except to say they are incredible.  
Interview by Vanessa Lloyd
images courtesy of Third Drawer Down

Sydney Contemporary at Carriageworks

where, why and what makes Carraigeworks so amazing!


SYDNEY CONTEMPORARY IS ACCORDING TO… Hear from Ben Quilty, Sue Cato, Glenn McGrath AM, Lisa Havilah, Bianca Spender, Nick Tobias and Kylie Kwong!


Friday 13th September

Hear from Ben Quilty, Barry Keldoulis, Sue Cato, Glen McGrath AM, Lisa Havilah and Kylie Kwong!


Wednesday 11 September

Micheal Zavros is an amazing Australian painter showing with Sophie Gannon Gallery at Sydney Contemporary next week, Check out my interview with him below, including what he might (or might not) be wearing at Sydney Contemporary 1st night!

What has been happening for you in 2013? What big things are you working on? The start of this year was busy for me. My solo show The Prince opened in cowboy country Rockhampton as its first venue, followed byGriffithUniversityArtGallery. With the support of Arts Queensland and as a satellite project for second venue, we returned one of the iconic and multi appropriated Marlboro advertisements to a Billboard. It is currently still installed inBrisbane’sFortitudeValley. My curated exhibition ‘Private Collection’ opened at Queensland Art Michael Zavros is not only an amazing Australian painter (showing at Sydney Contemporary with Gallery of Modern Art as part of the gallery’s ‘artist choice’ series. I’m currently trying to finish work forSydney Contemporary (!!), a solo show with Philip Bacon this October/Nov and a show in theUK this December

Your painting and drawing practice is so detailed and beautiful, how do you stay focused through what must be a very long art making process? I’m very disciplined and its taken me many years to achieve this. But I love what I do. it tortures me and rewards me in equal measure. My work takes a long time to make and because i’m not satisfied with producing only a handful of works annually, it means I need to work long hours and at the moment this includes before breakfast and after the children are asleep at night. The only time I find it hard to focus is on those rare occasions when I don’t like what I’m making or if I’m hungover.

I loved your solo show Calling in the Fox inSydney at Grantpirrie a few years ago, such a great combination of wonderful paintings and objects, how involved are you in the interaction of space and your work when putting together a show? That was a tricky show because Grantpirrie wasn’t a massive space and much of the show was one very large painting which only just fit on our back wall. That show contained only about 7 works and it was the first time I didn’t have a ‘series’ approach to a solo show. It wasn’t by design but each of the works completely differed in scale, media and on the surface- subject matter.

You draw on so many aspects, both historical and contemporary (art, architecture, design and fashion to name but a few) in your investigations of beauty and desire, do you do a lot of research along the way? I guess i’m always doing a kind of research for my work. Sometimes I feel like a filter for the weight of history or contemporary popular culture. I most often feel like i’m truly ‘researching’ something when it comes to the technical nature of my work, finding a new or better way to make something. Ironically this most often leads me to traditional craftsmanship rather than modern technology.

And I cannot resist, I asked Lucy Feagins from the Design Files what accessories she would be wearing to Sydney Contemporary 1st Night, as one of the most stylish men around, I have to ask you, what accessories will you be wearing Micheal? As a departure from the artworld I’ll probably be wearing a smile. And nothing else.


Interview by Vanessa Lloyd

Image courtesy of the artist Bad dad 2013 oil on canvas 110 x 150cm



Monday 9th September

Hear from Ben Quilty, Sue Cato, Glenn McGrath AM, Lisa Havilah, Bianca Spender, Nick Tobias and Kylie Kwong!


Saturday 7th September

Our friends over at Version 1.0 are offering Sydney Contemporary followers a special ticket price to the premiere season of: The Vehicle Failed To Stop

version 1.0 is a Sydney based theatre company that informs, challenges and entertains audiences with theatre about issues that matter.

The Vehicle Failed To Stop explores an incident in 2007 where two women were shot dead on a Baghdad street by contractors from an Australian company when their car “failed to stop”. Their deaths sparked a furious debate on the increasing role of private contractors in the so-called War on Terror.

version 1.0 use this incident as a starting point for a performance investigation of war, commerce, and the price of privatisation.

Sydney Contemporary offers a special ticket price to the premiere season of: The Vehicle Failed To Stopa new work by innovative theatre company version 1.0.

Sydney Contemporary price $28 (normally $35)
Please click here, to redeem, and use the code ‘friends’


Wednesday 4 September

Check out this great video featuring New Zealand artist Francis Upritchard and her work ‘Save Yourself’ which was in the New Zealand Venice Pavilion in 2009.

Awesome work and Francis’ will be showing with Ivan Anthony Gallery at Sydney Contemporary!



Wednesday 28 August

Read below for great insight into how Chinese artist Qiu Jie gets inspired! Thanks to Art Plural gallery from Singapore for this interview, they will be showing his work among others with us next month at Carriageworks!

Why is drawing so important to you, as a medium? I have used pencil since I was a child when, in China, we did not have enough money to buy more material. I was forced to use what I had.

When I started to study art at Ecole des Beaux Arts in Geneva, I learnt how to paint, as everybody does. But I came back to pencil on paper by choice. It is a discipline that is often considered as a way to prepare a painting, pencil is very rarely the main tool. My drawings were immediately successful and since then, it became my main focus.  Drawing with the simplest material possible is part of my philosophy. I don’t like big art installations. My artworks are extremely light; this is part of the bare simplicity of the process. I am aiming to reach the essence of things with modest tools.

But above all, what is important is not the medium. I also create paintings, calligraphy and installations. Today, these different works are like several houses I own, they are not linked and each technique needs its own specific work. But my goal is that all of these form a unity. Today, when you talk to someone about my art, he will automatically think of my drawings. But I want to be independent from the medium, I do not like to be imprisoned and defined by the medium. My goal is to reach this freedom so that everything becomes spirit and is not submitted to a form or an idea.

What are your sources of inspiration? 
I have many sources of inspiration. For the last ten years, I have gone to China, my home country, many times. As my parents live in a small town, I can enjoy old scenes that no longer happen in big cities but which remind me of my youth. These scenes are quite important in my work and testify that China still have this traditional and authentic spirit that globalization and modernization swallowed. In the small shops selling everyday products, I can see the reflection of Chinese life that exactly corresponds to my philosophy: even though the shop is very small, one can find whatever he needs. And I like to echo this in my drawings in luxurious details.

The Cultural Revolution and the Maoist period is always something I have in mind because they are part of my reality. Not that my drawing are political but this imagery appeals to me in an aesthetic way. I like to integrate these elements in my drawings. This is also why I add the colour red to some of them.

Finally, I am inspired by a quantity of sources from popular culture such as magazines, ads, newspapers. I like to read them and find interesting images that will become characters of my story.

What is your creative process? Each drawing is like a novel I write. With the various sources of inspiration, I create a story. I progressively know which elements will be part of the story but then I have to think of the plot, the common thread that links them. It can take months! And sometimes there is a white space, as a white page in a novel and it is difficult to find a solution.

I work with small pieces of paper, so when I create big formats I have to glue the different sheets together. Again, at the beginning this was caused by a lack of space, I had a small desk that could not hold a big piece of paper. But I have chosen to keep it the same way. When I draw sheet after sheet, it allows me to be more precise because each sheet is isolated from the other. This way, there is no subject that is more important than the other. There is no part of the artwork that is more blurred or less precise than another. It is all extremely focused. This way of drawing conveys a certain naivety, innocence in the drawing which can relay to art brut.

When I don’t like the story, I have the flexibility to tear the sheet I disagree with and replace it by another. I can also add a sheet if I think the story is not finished. Limits do not exist; I am always able to add elements of narration. And you can notice that there is usually no space for the sky in my artworks … So many things to say!

Moreover, pencil allows me to be flexible. I am able to erase what I have done and draw on top. Of course, marks and hints of the previous drawing remain present but this is extremely important to me. I want to show that I am creating, constructing something, that I have strive to do so, that I have adjusted things. This adds a real depth to the artwork.

Is the story you are recounting based on reality? 
My drawings are between dream and reality. Realistic elements drift away from reality. For example, I am not a political artist. I am introducing political elements because of their aesthetics and how they relate to other elements in a humorous way.

Also, I am influenced by real scenes or photos but I romanticize them. For instance, the girls I take inspiration from are not necessarily models but I add sensuality which participates to the dream. The result is that each realistic element is tainted with imagination and the story itself is a dream with realistic elements. At the end, one is not able to tell what is real and what is not.


Interview courtesy of Art Plural  by Lara Sedbon. 

Image: Shanghai Bund 2012, Pencil on paper, 200 x 140 cm coutesy of the artist and Art Plural gallery


Thursday 22nd August

The Fair’s venue partner Carriageworks is generously offering 2 x double passes to This Fella My Memory on the 5th September.

Take a road trip across Aboriginal NSW where the boundaries, kinships and songlines are invisible to the eye, but felt deep within. This Fella, My Memory draws upon these rich and deep connections to people and place. This Fella My Memory is a brand new work celebrates the lives of three older women and their tenuous relationships with their friends, family and each other; ultimately leading to an enduring connection to people and country despite the odds.

Moogahlin Performing Arts and Carriageworks presents
This Fella My Memory
4 – 7 Sept 2013 at Carriageworks

Head over to our Facebook page to LIKE / COMMENT / SHARE to be in the chance to win!!!!!

Image: Gabriella Lo Presti


Wednesday 21st August

Here at Sydney Contemporary we love an insight into an artist’s practice! Keep reading for a short but oh so sweet interview with Reko Rennie….

What are you working on at the moment Reko? I’ve just completed my works for Sydney Contemporary, some new sculptures and several new paintings. I’m also working on a large 40 panel commission for the Melbourne Now exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria as well as creating work for my solo exhibition at Karen Woodbury Gallery in November this year.

You have done a number of public projects, like the one on Taylor Square, ‘Always was, Always will be’ which many Sydney siders will know, but also the Block project ‘Welcome to Redfern’ with Hetti Perkins, how do these come about? Are you ever daunted by the challenge of such a viable large public work? The ‘Always was, Always will be’ came about through another project I was working on with Sydney architectural firm Cracknell and Lonergan. Peter Lonergan told me about a City of Sydney tender to put in a design to repaint the T2 building in Taylor Square and so we submitted a design and we were really fortunate to win. The ‘Welcome to Redfern’ project was a similar project with amazing outcomes, where Aboriginal youth residing in and around Redfern created a mural about their contemporary identity.

I do love the large scale public work and sometimes it can be daunting, but it’s always exciting being able to change the way a site looks through design.

It is as big year for you, showing with Blackartprojects as part of Sydney Contemporary and also your inclusion in Melbourne now, are you excited about all these opportunities? It is a big year! It’s been great to work with Blackartprojects and I am looking forward to working together on future projects. I’m excited about Melbourne Now as well, I’ll have a neon work in the exhibition and a large-scale 40 panel work that should be interesting.

And what else is coming up, any big projects you can let us know about ? There’s more exhibitions for 2014, some international travel and I’m creating new work. In terms of big projects, there are a couple in the pipeline but I’m not at a stage where I can discuss this just yet.

I have music on whenever possible, whether I am writing, reading or just doing the dishes, it is essential! Do you like to have music on while you make work? And if so what is your favourite at the moment? I always have music on in the studio and while I’m making work. My music ranges from listening to Radiohead, to hip hop, dance or the Stones. It just depends, but I really like Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories at the moment.

Interview by Vanessa Lloyd.


Image: Reko Rennie, Black Diamond (Pink), acrylic and ink on canvas, 100 x 100cm, 2013, image courtesy the artist and Blackartprojects (PC109)


Tuesday 20 August

Read below for my interview with blogger hero Lucy Feagins from the Design Files as we chat about Australian art, design and cool accessories!

The Design Files has a really great synergy between contemporary art, design and craft. What do you think are the best points about the interconnection between art, craft and design? Well, to be honest, The Design Files really just incorporates all the things I love.  Luckily, other people seem to love them too!  In my mind, and in the way we cover art, craft and design, there really is no distinction between these various creative outlets.  They are all interconnected.  We cover art and design in a very similar way, by telling the story of each creative endeavor with the same attention to detail and the same approach – whether we’re interviewing a high profile artist like Bill Henson, or a young ceramicist just starting out.  I think that’s what really appeals to our readers – there is no snobbery in the way we cover art and design, we just cover beautiful things with a story to tell. 

What are your favourite things in your house? Do you go through phases of what you love the most? I live in a really small home, which I quite like, as living on a small scale really makes you disciplined – you don’t buy anything unless you really love it.  I am attached to a few favourite pieces.  Last year I bought a very special painting by Lucas Grogan which I love, and I also own a tiny work by Kirra Jamison.  Both these artists have become good friends so I love having their work at home.

I worked in clothing stores when I was younger, and am compelled to tidy the racks while I shop even now; some impulses are always with you I think. When you enter a room (in your down time) and there is desperate need for a design makeover, what is your first inclination? Not so much a desperate need to makeover, more a desperate need to photograph!  I have become obsessed with documenting creative spaces, so when I’m in an interesting home or workspace for the first time, I’m always looking for photographic angles, and thinking how I would capture the space.

Cities have such different visual and design feels to them. How would you describe Sydney’s design aesthetic? I love shooting Sydney homes – there’s something ‘international’ about Sydney homes, compared to the homes I often shoot elsewhere.  Sydney is full of transient people – people who make home for a year or two before moving on.  This creates some interesting environments –

Final thing; what awesome jewellery will you be wearing at the Sydney Contemporary’s opening evening? ‘Sesame’ encrusted gold hoop earrings by Melbourne jewellery Lucy Folk ! They are my uniform.

Interview with Lucy Feagins by Vanessa Lloyd


Thursday 15th August

Have you been admiring our website and thinking WOW! where did they get such creative imagery from? Of course you have! Our incredible photographer Heath from Jac & Heath Photography has provided us with a sneak peek behind the scenes…..

After the fun idea of ‘playing’ with colour explosions underwater was suggested to us from the team at Art Fairs Australia, we quickly got moving with experimenting how best to achieve it. Firstly we tried pressurized pump bottles (a bit like a super soaker) to spray beetroot juice into the water. The pumps died and didn’t get much out quickly enough, and the beetroot juice was expensive and slow to create with out juicer. Next we tried a sports plastic drinking bottle that above water could be squeezed easily to push out fluid. Underwater it was pathetic. We bumped into some spear-fishermen who helped us to try out a few of the earlier ideas, and they came up with the suggestion that milk shows up really well underwater. A little later we tried milk in balloons and they worked really well and looked like explosions underwater. To get the colour we used food dye. To pop the balloons we needed to use little corn skewers that you eat corn on the cob with! Earlier Jonny who is pictured in a few of the underwater shots popped balloons with a sharp meat carving fork and stabbed himself while swimming back up for air. It later got infected but we’re happy to report he made a full recovery. A lot of appreciation is due to several good friends who surf and have fantastic lung capacity for being the balloon poppers. They went out of their way to help. Technical specs for the shots: Nikon D800 with 24mm 1.4 plus red filter to reduce green cast, incased in an Aquatech housing.

P.S. You can see more images here…..


Wednesday 14th August 2013

Every week between now and the Fair we will be spotlighting an exhibiting artist in our weekly newsletter! Make sure you sign up to stay in the loop. Its full of exciting stuff…promise!!!!

Nandan Ghiya (b. 1980 in Jaipur, Rajisthan, India) is a young, emerging artist from India whose experimental art practice challenges viewer’s perception of the status-quo. The artist presents a new perspective of a young generation of Indians brought up in a country that balances long-standing histories and cultures with a fast globalizing world.

10 Chancery Lane Gallery proudly presented the artist’s first solo exhibition in 2012 wherein Ghiya invited participants to pose against a constructed space, created using pixelated vinyl-print cut-outs of photography studio objects like a chair, a flower bouquet on a stool, a backdrop or a carpet. The exhibition is an on-going interactive installation art project aiming to bring out the “Indroid”, a coined word merging “Indian” and “Android”. Photo documentation was taken, then manipulated on a computer and printed with an instant photo-printer. The interaction of the participants within the constructed space is an interpretation of the artist as he weaves the ever-expanding sensory world he experiences as an artist into reality. By manipulating these associations, Ghiya tries to surface the Indroid from within the modern-day Indian generation.
Presented by 10 Chancery Lane Gallery Nandan’s work will be exhibited during Sydney Contemporary, come along and see the works in person!

Image: Nandan Ghiya, The Dreamer 5, 2012, Acrylic on old photographs, 50.8 x 40.6 cm, image courtesy of the artist and 10 Chancery Lane Gallery (D114)



Monday 5th August 2013



Anna is a Gold Coast based artist whose practice overlaps both photography and sculpture. With memory and recall as the only reference of permanency, she interweaves model making, drawing and photography to create fictive architectural spaces from her immediate urban environment, the Gold Coast.  Anna is currently living and working in Los Angeles. 

Her work can be found in a number of collections, both corporate and private, including Artbank, the Queensland Centre for Photography and the Gold Coast Art Gallery.

Tell us about your process as a contemporary artist Anna . How do you create your works? I start with a memory of a space and usually focus on a certain architectural element. For example with Sunset Place I started with a memory of a stone wall. The work then evolves organically as my memory and imagination continues to expand and the work grows from there. I also leave the changes of my model making process visible and as a result the models are often quite fragmented.

The next stage of the process is photographing the model. In my recent body of work I photographed the model within the urban landscape. I wanted a wide-open space so that the models were baking in the sun and not covered by shadows. The sites ended up being empty blocks where some local houses had recently been demolished. Lying on my stomach with a 50mm lens, I focused on the model, which meant the landscape is out of focus. After I capture the photograph the models are then destroyed – which means that the photograph functions to capture a process within my practice.

 Your work concentrates primarily on the architecture and built environment of the Gold Coast, what is it about this environment that intrigues you? Initially I was drawn to the familiar urban landscape and houses that were disappearing around me. The houses that I grew up with, that hold many memories, were being demolished quicker than I could count. I have become fascinated by this process of rapid development and what it is that these new postmodern spaces (and spatial experiences) say about the culture of a place.

What are you working on at the moment? My fascination with the transient urban environment has opened up an interest in other postmodern cities similar to the Gold Coast such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas. These cities all share the same characteristics – they have been built on dreams, leisure and the notion escape and as a result they are constantly transforming. I am currently undertaking a PHD in which I aim to represent cities such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas and the Gold Coast through the lived experience of architectural space. I am currently living in Los Angeles and making work based on my experiences of the city. I feel I already have memories of the place because the city is so similar to the Gold Coast. It is interesting how memories reverberate to other memories…

What else do you have coming up in the near future? In September I’ll be represented by Artereal Gallery at Sydney Contemporary. It will be the first art fair in Australia that I have participated in. I am very excited to be part of it as there is a wide range of galleries involved that shows innovative and dynamic artists. In May 2014 I will also have a solo show at Artereal Gallery in which I will exhibit the work I am currently creating. I will also be involved in a group exhibition Fibro Coast in early 2014 at the Gold Coast City Art Gallery.

Guest Blogger Rhianna Walcott from Artereal Gallery. Which was founded in 2006  as a space for contemporary art with a focus on exhibitions with significant international content and heavy curatorial influence. The gallery encourages variety and experimentation in contemporary art practice and aims to promote a greater appreciation for the vital role that artists play in our local and broader community. Artereal Gallery represents Australian and international mid-career and established artists while providing exhibition opportunities for emerging artists.

 image of Anna Carey courtesy of Artereal Gallery



Friday 26 July 2013

It is Friday afternoon; my friends and I are meeting at a pub in Surry Hills (which is not unheard of really). We are heading to Chippendale for the joint opening of Janis II at two relative new comers to the Sydney gallery scene, The Commercial and MCLEMOI Gallery. I have heard good things and am keen to head along to this show which focuses on women artists and is curated by Kelly Doley (artist, member of Brown Council and former Firstdraft co-director) in collaboration with Amanda Rowell.

My first time to the The Commercial (opened by Rowell formerly at Roslyn Oxley) is long overdue, as we move fairly swiftly along Cleveland, there is some debate about which side of Abercrombie we should be on until we spot the enormous glut of people hanging on the street up ahead. ‘Reckon this might be it…’ my rather drole pal notes. I had been warned that this place is tiny, and tonight it is beyond packed! We split up, it is every art lover for themselves I am afraid. And we each weave a way through the crowd to the back and grab a drink. My fabulous Bowie-inspired coat is straight over my arm in this airless room as I notice my wine is served in a cute retro juice glass, reminiscent of my Nan’s kitchen.

We re-assemble and are joined by other friends near the large Bonita Bub work, and discussion turns to colour. Is the structure pale hot pink or an intense fluro salmon? Either way I liked it, and also liked the white bottle assembly of Sarah Goffman. But the crowd and the lack of air get to me, and I make a gesture to my boyfriend he has seen before and so we meet up outside. My other pal joins us and has grabbed a copy of the accompanying publication, a collection of 100 word entries from prominent women writers, quite a good read.

We then head to the co-host venue, MCLEMOI Gallery. Now I will admit this space is on my radar for slightly different reasons. Don’t be mistaken, I have heard good art reviews, but had also heard that the co-owner is former paceman Glen McGrath, so the cricket nerd in me is excited! This space is larger, slick but equally packed, I order drinks for us from the rather stressed young lady behind the drinks table as there is a frantic flurry to the backroom to grab more glasses (Glen McGrath was helping out, what a star!).

There are bespoke performances for sale from Sarah Rodigari in a built space which is interesting. And Goffman’s black painted drink bottles with gold Asian images are also quite lovely. Bub‘s work here interrupts passage through the space which is great, but is somewhat limiting on this busy opening night. This aside, the evening certainly confirmed the talk that these are two spaces to watch as Chippendale keeps getting hipper.

Exhibitions are open until August 17 2013

Image: Bonita Bub, Neon Yell, 2013, a series of 3 works, spray paint on fingerjoin pine with Tasmanian oak dowels, mesh, series of three, each: 290 (maximum height) x 230 (maximum width) adjustable, TCG13210
(photo credit: Jessica Maurer) image courtesy of The Commercial.


Wednesday 24th July 2013

Welcome to the first Sydney Contemporary blog, with less than 3 months until the Fair opens it is all getting very exciting. The Fair’s opening night is on Thursday 19 September at Carriageworks in Redfern, and is then open each day from Fri 20 September until Sunday 22.

The Fair will have a diverse selection of multimedia work from contemporary and modern artists from all over Australia, and some great international artists too. Check out the list of artists.

Carriageworks is a great spot for the Fair; the old railyards have fast become a destination for all things art and design. Mercedes Benz Fashion week was held there earlier this year, which was quite the show! It is also a great location, in Redfern and right near Newtown (granted I live right near by, so may be slightly biased!). It is super close to lots of cool places to eat, drink and hang out before and after the Fair!

Along with all the galleries and the great space, there will be curated exhibitions of video and installation work in and around the site. So even more work to see here! Aaron Seeto Director of Gallery 4A and Artspace curator Mark Feary are programming this section of the Fair.

And it is not all art to see either, as part of the program there is Talk Contemporary presented by the Australian Financial Review. See here a list of debates and speakers. There is also dedicated art walks with industry leaders to give you the lowdown about the Fair. Details of this will be announced soon, so stay tuned!

And, not sure how I left this bit until last, there will also be great spots to drink and eat. The recently opened Cornerstone Bar will be happening of course, with those delish arancini balls! But there will also be new specially built spaces, one fuelled by Petaluma wines, which will be fantastic.

How did I come to know all of this? I have the rather enviable job on working one day a week the great team here at Sydney Contemporary in Darlinghurst. I am the Special Projects Coordinator. I have a day job too, working for the Australia Council’s Visual Arts team, also here inSydney, but am on secondment working on the Fair helping out with all the fun extras that are going to make Sydney Contemporary unforgettable! And working on this blog is on the top of my to do list from now until the big weekend.

Barry Keldoulis is the director and CEO (super knowledgeable art guy around town, you may remember his gallery in Danks Street) and his team have welcomed me in and it is going to be quite a ride for the next few months. And this blog is your ticket for finding out all sorts of updates and news about Sydney Contemporary stay tuned and we will bring you interviews,info and all the details for the event in the lead up to the big opening in September.