The Company You Keep at Noosa Regional Gallery

Image source: Contributed

Noosa Regional Gallery Director Michael Brennan explores the power and richness of collaboration – in creating and appreciating art.

There’s a common conception that artists are solitary creatures. We’re all familiar with the idea of the tortured creative genius, working away in isolation at some remote studio location, or late into the night after everyone else has gone to bed (actually, that last one more accurately reflects my post-deadline writing habits for this ever-patient publication!).

This imagined endeavour is, of course, an exaggeration. There may be some instances of this kind of caricature of an artist, but on the whole it’s rubbish. It’s right up there with the – ‘you can’t make money / be famous / have a boutique hotel brandishing your name until after you die’ – fallacy.

Most artists I know crave connection with like-minded creatives. Some even go as far as teaming up with others to make work together.

Known Associates is an exhibition at Noosa Regional Gallery that celebrates a number of the creative collaborations that are taking place right here on the Sunshine Coast. The artists involved have practices in their own right, but at some point they’ve also found a partner in crime (or two) and decided to see what happens when they work together towards a shared outcome. The exhibition divides the gallery into six discrete spaces where shared ideas intertwine. No doubt there’s conflict and negotiations to be had, but this way of working kind of simmers creativity, allowing the liquid to evaporate (I hate the phrase, ‘creative juices’, but somehow, here, it seems fitting), and leaving behind what is irreducible in the minds of each of the people involved. And the give-and-take means each artist ends up somewhere they’d never have arrived on their own.

It’s funny, because this is kind of how I’ve come to think about looking at art too. The audience is part of the equation, and the meaning or experience or impression it leaves is as much a product of what the viewer brings to it as what the artist intends.

In fact, some of the installations in this exhibition ask you to actively be part of the work. This means the art is always evolving – always in flux.

Noosa Regional Gallery
14 October to 26 November

About the Author /

Director of Noosa Regional Gallery and described as an ‘accidental curator’ this prize-winning painter and sculptor has moved from creating works to curating them. It all began when he opened The Trocadero Art Space in Footscray in an effort to build an arts community in the area and 14 years later it is still standing we are lucky to have him taking the arts to a whole new level in our region.

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