Tracey Siddins will open the GALA gallery in Rockhampton next month
Tracey Siddins will open the GALA gallery in Rockhampton next month

GALA art gallery opens in Rockhampton next month

On the 22nd November 2019, Rockhampton will be home to the newest commercial gallery in regional Queensland - GALA Gallery. It will be one of the only commercial gallery spaces outside of Brisbane and Cairns in regional Queensland and with the new $31 million public art gallery currently being built in the region, Rockhampton is an emerging art market with a vibrant culture of untapped collectors and investors.

Owner of GALA Gallery, Tracey Siddins, is an advocate for the growth and support of arts in the regions and recognises that for Rockhampton to be considered as a major centre of arts creation, there needs to be more diversity in the sector. “I have seen the exceptional quality of artists that live and create in the regions and along with the growth in community attendance and support of the Rockhampton Art Gallery, we really are on the cusp of an art and cultural boom in Central Queensland,” said Tracey.

“Apart from the regional art institutions and community lead galleries, there is really no one working in that commercial space in regions around Queensland and I saw that as a major opportunity.”

Regional centres are healthier and more active when there is a diversity of places for art presentation. Artist run spaces, community spaces, pop-up galleries, regional galleries and commercial galleries all ensure that there is something for everyone. GALA Gallery will create a stable of artists, drawn from across Australia. In doing so it contributes to the creative fabric of regional Queensland and encourages a broader segment of the community to value the arts in their daily life.

“For a community to thrive, diversity is required. This is just as true in the arts as any other sector. If you are seeking - as Rockhampton is - for the arts to regenerate and be a basis for economic stimulus, then there needs to be diversity and this is where GALA Gallery comes into play,” said Tracey.

GALA Gallery will hold its first group exhibition on the 22nd November 2019 with a full program of solo shows anticipated for the first half for 2020. In addition to the planned exhibition program, GALA will also provide an art consultancy service for both individual and corporate clients for both art commissions and licensing.

“People have been asking me why I would take such a risk by opening a commercial gallery in Rockhampton, and my response is always because I believe that there is already a huge cohort of art lovers in our region - they just don’t know that they’re allowed to own it!”

“We are all so used to going to the gallery to ‘look’ instead of going with the mindset to ‘own’ and I think that is where commercial galleries can really start making a difference to a region’s art culture,” said Tracey.

Artists Featured in the Inaugural GALA Gallery Exhibition:

Bindi Waugh (Yarwun, QLD)

Bindi Waugh’s unique style is informed by her Indigenous heritage as an Iman and Bundjalung woman. Bindi’s creativity expands beyond the canvas across an array of disciplines from pottery to poetry and commercial illustration. With commissioned pieces and public works, Bindi’s work is also featured internationally in private collections in countries across Europe, the United States, South Africa, Israel as well as nationally. Bindi’s work explores contemporary Indigenous issues and has been the recipient of highly-acclaimed awards such as Max National Indigenous Art Awards and Rio Tinto Alcan Martin Hanson Memorial Art Award.

Erin Dunne (Rockhampton, QLD)

Erin Dunne’s work encapsulates the personal experiences and poetic resonances of living in regional Queensland, creating a contemporary outlook and perspective that aims to challenge the assumptions around the nature of regional areas. Graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2012, Dunne’s autobiographical style reflects a sense of place through her drawing and explores the medium’s flexibility and versatility. Dunne’s recent achievements include winning the 2019 Bayton Award for Central Queensland artists and the 2018 Queensland Regional Art Awards. Dunne’s work is also featured in public and private collections throughout Queensland and even reaching as far as a gallery in New York.

Karen Stephens (Winton, QLD)

Karen Stephens works predominately in the field of contemporary landscape painting. Karen is drawn to investigating her relationship to subjects within landscape and how these subjects are perceived. Since completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from Griffith University, QCA in 2017, Karen has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. In 2015 Karen was the winner of the 2016 Queensland Regional Art Award – Colours of Queensland and has been a finalist in prestigious art prizes such as the Elaine Bermingham National Prize for Watercolour Painting, Mosman Art Prize and John Leslie Art Prize.

Julie Poulsen (Cairns, QLD)

Influenced by free-form study with a Diploma of Creative Arts and a life of travel, Julie Poulsen’s work takes on a life of its own in vibrant energy and expression. Informed by everyday narratives Julie’s “literary honing establishes a pathway for concrete investigation”, and playful discovery. Julie has seen her work exhibited throughout the country as well as the recipient of various awards, such as the Rio Tinto Martin Hansen Award in 2017, and notably as the finalist for the Brisbane Portrait Prize most recently.

Jasmine Crisp (Adelaide, SA)

Informed by a fascination of the relationships between people, Jasmine Crisp’s work takes on a dream-like characteristic in which the viewer is drawn into Jasmine’s world. The interactions between people and their real and imaged spaces creates a story all its own. Graduating with a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) at Adelaide Central School of Art in 2017, Crisp’s work has expanded from beyond her usual medium of oil painting and drawing to include installations and murals. She has also since been awarded the YouthScape Art Prize, along with being named a finalist in various prestigious art prizes, and has completed three international artist residencies in Iceland and Finland.

Richard Janson (Albury, NSW)

Combining the techniques of manual and technical cameras using natural, studio and handheld lighting, Richard Janson aims to ’paint with light’. Janson’s observance of extreme attention to detail began with his career as a commercial chef and experience in patisserie. From chef to product photographer, Janson then undertook a Bachelor of Arts in Photography, highlighting society’s modern consumerism culture with his contemporary photographic take on early 17th century Baroque-style paintings. This unique blend of cinematographic and photographic practice has seen Janson’s work exhibited widely and as the recipient of the Albury Art Gallery’s Susan Moorhead Memorial Award.

Clinton Barker (Brisbane, QLD)

Working with oil on canvas and printmaking, Clinton Barker’s style is semi-abstract figurative representation. His work stems from an artistic passion as a young child and spurred on his self-taught practice. Influenced by abstract expressionism and primitive art, Barker’s practice takes on a “spontaneous freedom” driven by emotion and life experience that connects artist and viewer. Barker has been awarded the Impress Printmakers Inaugural Print Prize and the Easel Painting Award at the Art on Show Awards, as well as a finalist in the Martin Hansen Memorial Art Awards.

Monique Morter (Melbourne, VIC)

As a graduate from RMIT with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Drawing) in 2010, Monique Morter’s work focuses on landscape, through memory and personal experience, which takes her work beyond a description of the visible world. In this space the viewer is able to connect not only with the represented vista but also with the artist. Monique’s work has been exhibited prominently in Australia as well as globally in the United States, Indonesia and The Netherlands and has seen her as the recipient of the ROI Art Prize and the Brunswick Street Gallery Works on Paper Prize.