Sydney Contemporary hits art fair sales record

Published in the Australian Financial Review, 17 September 2015

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Sydney Contemporary closed on Sunday with record sales for an Australian art fair, generating over $14 million across five days. It blitzed fair organiser Tim Etchells’ hopes of a $10 million turnover, and also passed the high point set in 2008, before the global financial downturn shook the local contemporary art market, when the Melbourne Art Fair delivered $12.1 million in sales.

Artist interview: Fiona Hall

Published in Art Collector’s special edition for Art Basel Hong Kong 2014

"Fiona Hall" by Jane O'Sullivan in Art Collector

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery is presenting a series of your tins at Art Basel Hong Kong. When and why did you first start working with the tins? Why have you returned to them now?

I began working with the tins back in 1989 and that first series is now in the National Gallery of Australia. It’s quite a nice metal and I’ve worked with it on and off since then.

The work that Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery is taking to Hong Kong, it’s called Fleet and it’s a set of 12 tins of various varieties of seafood, of slightly different sizes from different companies and so on. The work was made for an environmental project that was funded by an American philanthropic organisation called Pew to try and persuade the New Zealand government not to mine the Kermadec Trench which runs between Auckland and Tonga – it’s the fissure between the Australasian and Pacific tectonic plates … There’s a lot of volcanic activity down there and there are also a lot of sea creatures, many of which are unknown to science as they say … the area’s been assessed as being one of the three most pristine marine environments left on the planet.
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Artist interview: Jude Rae

Published in Art Collector’s special edition for Art Basel Hong Kong 2014

"Jude Rae" by Jane O'Sullivan in Art Collector

Jensen Gallery is taking your work to Art Basel Hong Kong this year. What will you be presenting?

We are presenting a selection of recent still life paintings which have a more pronounced physical presence than my previous work. The linen I am using lately is more textured than that I have used in the past and the preparation has involved a process that is much more demanding than using pre-primed commercial canvas … This is important because it changes the nature of the paintings, introducing a physicality that establishes the painting more as [an] object both for the viewer and for me as well … I have also found that during the process of painting my awareness moves more in the direction of the how rather than the what of description, a shift I have been working towards for some time.

In both your portraiture and still lifes it seems a very considered choice to avoid the sentimental. You seem very aware of the role you want your art to play within the context of art history and in front of the viewer’s gaze. I’m interested in how you got to this point. When and how did it crystallise for you what you wanted to achieve with your work?

I studied early Italian and northern renaissance art and architecture for my undergraduate degree and continue to read art history and theory fairly widely. I feel it is necessary to understand the history of the discipline and to engage the tradition as a contemporary painter. If I avoid the sentimental it is because it is predictable, some would say kitsch, and I have no interest in the currency of such easy recognition.
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The new realities

Published in Australian Art Collector, Issue 60, April – June 2012

Art HK director Magnus Renfrew believes the art world has changed. It’s a fact, he says, that all kinds of interesting work is now being produced outside of the ma in internat ional art centres of Europe and America. But has Renfrew ma naged to reta in the Hong Kong art fair’s focus on Asia since its change of ownership last year? He talks to Jane O’Sullivan.

There was a curious sense of both regional pride and disdain when the news came through in May last year that the Art HK Hong Kong International Art Fair had been bought by the owners of Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach.

On the one hand it was vindication of the fair’s success and the growing importance of Asian collectors in the international contemporary art landscape.

But it also raised eyebrows. Would Art HK become just another Art Basel outpost, showing the same galleries from the same countries? More to the point, did Asian galleries still have a future with the fair? After all, Art Basel and its American counterpart Art Basel Miami Beach are not exactly known for embracing Asian art (or, for that matter, Latin American art, or African art). And even before news of the change of ownership emerged, it was evident the 2011 edition of the fair had attracted ever greater numbers of galleries from Europe and the United States.

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