Image credit: Honor Freeman in the studio, photo by Angus Lee Forbes (commissioned by Australian Design Centre)
Meet Your Maker: Watch This Space
Adelaide Review Jan 2019 Edition.
By Emma Fey
Why do we as audiences so delight in going behind the scenes and exploring the inner workings of the creative process? Whilst we might admire or thrill at a work of art, most often it isn’t the formal properties - the form, composition, scale or material – it is the story behind the work that gets us hooked.
And this all stems from an artist having the time, the space (and yes, that means funds) to create. Not just create to sell, but to imagine, experiment and ideate. This is where powerful work comes from, and this the magic we, as audiences, want to inhabit.
Recently, I was reminded of a brilliant quote by acclaimed American painter Georgia O’Keeffe. “Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing - and keeping the unknown always beyond you.”
This is the quest we must champion for our artists and makers – to keep the pursuit of the ‘unknown’ alive, as this is surely where true innovation and creativity lies.
The role of the artist is often romanticised. However, for the vast majority, the reality is far more humble. Multiple roles, family life and business administration, all compete with studio time. This tenuous juggling act becomes pressing for many mid-career artists, often just at the time that their practice is on the cusp of becoming established.
Guildhouse is an organisation dedicated to supporting artists, craftspeople and designers to develop sustainable careers. We help create opportunities for artists to succeed, through funded mentorships, international residencies, professional development and forging connections with industry.
For the past five years, we’ve partnered with esteemed cultural institutions to present The Guildhouse Collections Project, a unique deep-dive into the extraordinary, and oft un-seen, collections of the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium and Flinders University Art Museum. The opportunity allows artists to undertake research with curatorial staff over several months, leading to the development of new work. This work is then displayed for audiences within the institutions, allowing our State collections to be experienced through a contemporary lens. In 2019, Guildhouse will present the work of three extraordinary contemporary artists with our cultural partners, the outcomes of which will be featured from July to October.
With the backing of the Ian Potter Foundation we will support more than thirty artists in 2019 to extend their creative and professional practice through funded mentorships. And very soon, we will announce a new initiative specifically for South Australian mid-career artists. Watch this space.
For the arts sector to be strong, ambitious and robust, we need to ensure it is possible for practitioners to stretch themselves, to take risks, and grow their careers into maturity. As a community that is passionate about the arts, and what it adds to our lives, we all play a role in ensuring artists are enabled to create. So, get out there, see their shows, buy their work, and tell your friends.
Honor Freeman is undertaking The Guildhouse Collections Project with The Art Gallery of South Australia in 2019.
Guildhouse is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting South Australian visual artists, craftspeople and designers to develop and maintain sustainable careers.
The Adelaide Review is a media partner of Guildhouse.