Dear Friends of Despard Gallery,
As 2020 marks the beginning of a new decade, Despard Gallery celebrates its 33rd year of sharing Tasmanian contemporary art to a national audience. We have had an exciting year of solo and curated group exhibitions and would like to express our sincere thanks for your ongoing support throughout 2019. With many key milestones achieved, I would like to share a few highlights, as well as announce some exciting events to look out for in the year to come. As always, I am also delighted to introduce some new talent through our annual summer show.
Over the past year, Despard Gallery has hosted twelve successful solo and group exhibitions, including taking five Tasmanian artists to Australia’s largest art fair, Sydney Contemporary. Exhibitions of note included a powerful solo exhibition by one of our best-known contemporary painters, Geoff Dyer, our group show, Young Blood, which showcased three talented young women artists, Zoe Grey, Maggie Jeffries and Micheila Petersfield, as well as contemporary ceramic exhibition, Fusion, which featured Jeff Mincham, Jenny Orchard, Roger Webb and Patrick Collins. We also celebrated other key events including artist talks, a gallery publication, numerous art prize finalists, including Michael Vale’s critically acclaimed Archibald Prize entry of Kid Congo Powers, important state-wide satellite exhibitions, such as Patrick Hall’s stunning installation as part of Dark Mofo, as well as a major survey of portraits by Geoff Dyer at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. We also congratulate artists Julie Harris and Micheila Petersfield, with their significant art prize wins.
Finally, in association with the Creative School of Arts and Media, we launched the inaugural Despard Gallery NEXT award, established to officially recognise the talents of a recent graduate by providing an opportunity to exhibit new work in our Annual Summer Group Show. This year I am happy to announce our inaugural recipient as graduate Pamela Bristow, who creates fibre-based sculptures that reflect of the Tasmanian environment.
An annual tradition, our Summer Group Show functions as a showcase to share a range of new work, across multiple mediums and themes. This year is no exception as we celebrate the rich diversity and strength of our talented artist stable. Exhibiting artists include Geoff Dyer, Micheila Petersfield, Graham Lang, ZoeGrey, Maggie Jefferies, Sam Field, Anthea Boden, Josh Foley, Penny Burnett, Rodney Pople, Julienne Harris, Lorrain Biggs, JAMIN, Anne Morrison, Wayne Brookes, Jo Chew, Lisa Garland, Patrick Hall, Michael Valeand Bill Yaxley.
A great opportunity to grab a visual taste of the year to come, this year we are also excited to introduce two new painters to Despard Gallery, Leah Thiessen and Michael Nay. Thiessen responds to the landscape through painted abstraction, using chaotic lines and colour to capture the energy of the bush, beaches and mangroves that surround her home. Nay’s paintings translate collage-based compositions, positioning unremarkable objects into remembered spaces to explore ideas around childhood and the workings of memory.
Looking towards the New Year, we are excited about numerous upcoming events and exhibitions, including the highly anticipated inaugural solo exhibition by emerging artist Zoe Grey, as well as exhibitions by Sam Field, Glen Clarke, Althea Boden and Graham Lang. We are also excited to announce Despard Gallery’s return to the prestigious Melbourne Art Fair, taking the highly sought-after work of Patrick Hall.
From all of us at Despard Gallery, we wish you a safe and happy festive season and look forward to sharing many exceptional contemporary artworks from our artists in the coming year and decade to follow.