Curatorial+Co. gets physical in Redfern

For the past five years Curatorial+Co. have been providing one-of-a-kind and limited-edition artworks by established and emerging artists and designers from Australia and abroad to audiences and art collectors alike via their online gallery platform, pop-up exhibitions and Art Consultancy service. In an exciting turn of events Curatorial+Co have expanded their business model to include a 300-square-metre warehouse-style gallery in Sydney’s Redfern precinct that intends to showcase contemporary artworks alongside contemporary design objects, and provide a creative meeting place for artists, designers and collectors.

Curatorial+Co. Founder and Director Sophie Vander says, “This new gallery both honours the artists with whom we have nurtured and developed strong relationships throughout our formative years, and powerfully symbolises a new era of what is possible in the future.”

‘Here With Me’ installation view. Photograph: Anne Graham. Courtesy the artists and Curatorial+Co, Sydney

The artful enterprise welcomed the public into the gallery on Friday 14 August with the opening of the inaugural exhibition ‘HERE WITH ME’, which is shining the spotlight on Curatorial+Co’s entire stable of 39 artists including five new names, across a showcase of paintings, drawings, photography and sculpture, until 28 August.

The global crisis has had an impact on us all in adverse, but also positive ways, and continues to influence the way we live and interact with each other. While dealing with their concerns for the ambiguities of the Covid-19 experience many artists have had the opportunity to spend more time in creative practice, to experiment with new ideas and visualise their observations. Here, a few of Curatorial+Co’s artists reflect on how their creativity, ideas and inspirations have been affected during this time.

Newcastle-based artist Ileigh Hellier shared, “The pursuit of being an artist is scary enough as it is let alone during a pandemic when it is deemed one of the least essential jobs. I was definitely anxious about how the future would unfold. In saying that, I’ve had a busy and successful year,”

Hellier paints beautiful serene abstract landscapes composed of simplified forms and shapes in calm shades of blue, grey, green and pink. During lockdown she worked from a makeshift studio in her garage drawing inspiration from the land and seascapes between her home and Glenrock. “The ocean and Glenrock Lagoon became motifs in my work. I also began using a lot more blue. I used to think of my work as quite colourful which it still is, but I have limited my palette, which has been helpful to create a more cohesive and refined body of work,” she shares.

Ileigh Hellier, Trees in the Rain, oil on board, 80 x 70cm, framed in white wood with glass. Courtesy the artist and Curatorial+Co, Sydney

Landscape painter Susie Dureau says “I have thought deeply about the world around me, but the pandemic environment that we are now living in has refocused my attention on the landscapes that exist within me. Thinking about a direct material link between our bodies and the landscape gives access to an ecological mind. I would like my work going forward to reflect the intersections between humanity and ecology.”

Lightly touching on the effects of Covid-19 on the Arts and his experience as a working sculptor Stuart McLachlan says, “Covid-19 has left everything open-ended it killed the timeline. Exhibitions, art fairs, projects all went into limbo and the priority became family, friends and the hope we all made it to the other end intact. During the shutdown creatively I went into a numb holding pattern, tired and uninspired. However, it gave me time to breathe and slow down.”

“I’m collaborating with a photographer on a new series. We need to work together, hire camera equipment, source materials, something we are aware could be shut off at any time. There is a renewed sense of urgency which drives and inspires me, it has returned a semblance of timeline to me. Creating brings stability into my life when so much is uncertain.”

McLachlan’s collaborator, visual art photographer Simon Cardwell’s imagery pinpoints notions of identity in the context of environmental concern, human freedoms and isolation. He says, “I always try to look at any situation with a positive and open mind. So, these recent times has provided me with the motivation to create artwork that is very close to my thoughts, our primary existence and the environment.”

Photomedia-based artists Jasmine Poole and Chris Sewell reveal “Our most recent series was directly inspired by living through this period of change in the world as we know it. Created during a period of Covid isolation, we utilised our home and close surroundings as a background to new narratives, an intimate diary of the everyday. Reimagining what was familiar to us in new contexts further sought to address the current reality of uncertainty and anxiety. Just the very idea that one small shift can alter the course of one’s very existence, there is definitely a darkness to the work that was not there in previous collaborations.”

Among the dynamic array of works in ‘HERE WITH ME’ is artwork by Barbara Kitallides. Kitallides says her work “is an investigation of life and place in the modern world. How my inner conscience interacts with my external surroundings. There is a constant push-pull effect of anarchy and control. My intention is to find balance within the chaos of these two spaces and discover what results.”

Barbara Katallides, Aperitivo Hour, acrylic on canvas, 181 x 121cm, framed in black woodgrain. Courtesy the artist and Curatorial+Co, Sydney

Kitallides unique paintings evoke notions of silent and unspoken language expressed by the artist with intentional and carefully planned projections of colour influenced by the chiaroscuro effect of light and dark, bringing symbolic representations of humanity and nature to dance on the surface of the canvas. “Within the depth of each colour I see symbolism. Candy pink representing the heart, oozing flesh and raw emotion. Green reminiscent of jungle and nature, black empowering positive force. The position of each colour vehicle works to liberate and repress all at once.”

“HERE WITH ME is an expression of our support in a time of uncertainty, celebrating the ways in which art can connect us, move us, inspire and protect us. From the whimsical to the warm, the challenging and the questioning, HERE WITH ME is a precious act of defiance in these times of great difference,” shares Vander.

Curatorial+Co’s gallery is located at Studio 1, 175 Cleveland Street, Redfern NSW 2016 and will be open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, Saturday by appointment. Visit the website to find out more about Curatorial+Co and their artists.