Melbourne Art Fair, virtual Viewing Rooms

The favourable new trend for the presentation of art online during the Covid-19 pandemic has to some degree been a saving grace for the arts. The technologies of the virtual world have provided a timely and adaptable platform for the modification and delivery of a diverse range of exhibitions and other art-focused events both big and small, ensuring arts communities around the world could continue exploring the wonderful world of art during lockdown, and the postponed ‘Melbourne Art Fair’ in 2020 is no exception.

Destiny Deacon, Over the fence, 2000, from the series ‘Sad & Bad’, Lamda print from Polaroid original, 80 x 100cm, edition of 15 + 3 APs. Courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxlely9 Gallery, Sydney

From 1 to 7 June, Melbourne Art Foundation in partnership with are bringing the much awaited biennial festival of contemporary art into the digital realm via the recently designed ‘Melbourne Art Fair Viewing Rooms’, which will see creativity and new ideas in art, beam across a series of online experiences including artist studio visits, interviews with collectors and exhibitions showcasing a variety of artistic practices by national and international artists, all completely free to the public.

“Our goal with the Viewing Rooms is to keep the art community connected and provide a channel for art to continue to be a part of our lives until we can view and absorb it again via traditional methods at galleries and fairs,” says Melbourne Art Foundation CEO and Fair Director Maree Di Pasqual.

“The platform we have created also puts the region’s best artists and galleries on the world stage as it’s now easier than ever for people from across the globe to enjoy what we have on offer. We remain committed to supporting the industry during these difficult circumstances and are using this as an opportunity to unite contemporary galleries and living artists via our digital edition of the fair.”

Over 35 leading galleries from Australia and abroad will be shining the spotlight on their selected artists, including as described below Melbourne’s Finkelstein Gallery and Sydney’s Olsen Gallery, to name only two.

Coady, Youth Pill, 2020, acrylic and mixed media, 60 x 40 x 3cm. Courtesy the artist and Finkelstein Gallery, Melbourne

Finkelstein Gallery will bring a recent body of work by Pop artist Coady to the stage, which draws focus to the overuse of pills in contemporary society, pills that suggest a fix-it solution to the ailments of our physical and psychological wellbeing. “With playful humour and thinly veiled horror, Coady toys with the iconography of contemporary consumerist culture and its promises of gratification, control, and quick and easy fixes,” the gallery shares.

“In a culture where the answer to everything from minor aches to existential angst is “take two and call me in the morning”, she transforms the simple mass-produced form of the tablet into statements about the world that pushes and pops them.”

Louise Olsen, FLOATING, 2019, oil on linen, 180 x 200cm. Photograph: Ken Redpath. Courtesy the artist and Olsen Gallery, Sydney

Olsen Gallery is set to showcase a series of works by artists Stephen Ormandy and Louise Olsen, the co-founders of Dinosaur Designs, who both also create within their own artistic practices. Ormandy’s abstract paintings and sculptures evolve in vibrant fields of colour that define bold geometric shapes and voluptuous fluid forms, while Olsen’s compositions cast organic free-floating shapes in worlds of contrasting colour and depth, which portray ethereal evolutions of the natural world appearing momentarily suspended in time, before they might slowly drift off the edge of the canvas.

There is much to explore and the full list of participating galleries is available here where you can also register for your free entry to the ‘Melbourne Art Fair Viewing Rooms’. VIP access is open from 1 to 2 June and to the general public from 3 to 7 June.

And that’s not all… come Summer in 2021 ‘Melbourne Art Fair’ will once again be welcoming visitors to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre in Carlton Gardens for the re-scheduled presentation from 4 to 7 February. Here’s your chance to meet the gallerists and their artists face to face, and engage in a close-up experience with the art!