In the eyes of the beholder
For Alison Brown, a UOW curatorial intern at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, curating provides an incredible sense of accomplishment and joy.
Alison Brown stands in the middle of the Hazelhurst gallery floor eyeing the art works, then shoos a young boy from touching an installation.
“It’s all in a day’s work as a curator. One minute you’re organising artists, artworks and working out logistics, the next minute you’re the security guard looking out for the art pieces,” she said.
A recent University of Wollongong Visual Arts graduate, Alison is the second curatorial intern at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre as part of a five-year initiative between the gallery, Sutherland Shire Council and the UOW’s Visual Arts program.
The partnership was established by Hazelhurst curator Carrie Kibbler and UOW Visual Arts lecturer Dr Madeleine Kelly and provides real life work experience in an exhibition space. In addition to the internship, the Sutherland Shire gallery also offers a UOW student the opportunity to become an artist-in-residence and holds the annual UOW Vital Signs art exhibition, which supports UOW emerging artists in southern Sydney and the Illawarra.
“The internship provides an opportunity to practise diverse skills – from planning the annual UOW exhibition to researching other exhibitions at the gallery,” Dr Kelly said.
As the intern curator, Alison Brown works alongside Hazelhurst curator Carrie Kibbler. The two have the primary responsibility for displaying, setting up, cataloging and interpretation of the works of art for the Vital Signs show.
“Being involved with the art curating for Vital Signs was incredibly rewarding. Seeing the results of your work on the walls around you provides an incredible sense of accomplishment and joy,” Alison said.
Intern curator Alison Brown says every day is different at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery.
The array of art works on display represents three years of developed studio practice by UOW Visual Arts students. There are a range of styles and themes, and it includes mediums like traditional oil painting, sculpture, photography, and textiles such as crochet and braided cloth.
But for Alison the biggest challenge was catering for Bernadette Banasik’s sculpture depicting a selection of Pokemons, made from ice, food dye, steel and concrete.
“On the opening night we set up the art work outside, it was pretty heavy and awkward to move around. It didn’t take long for the piece to start melting. And by the end of opening night it was a shame to see the artist throw what was left of the art into the bin.”
For Alison every day at the Hazelhurst Gallery is different.
“Some days I’ll chat with gallery art lovers, run errands, solve tech problems and once an exhibition is up the next task is disassembling it. But the best thing about working as an intern here at Hazelhurst Gallery is the people. The staff are friendly, nice and really helpful. Although I’m only here one day a week, it’s always a pleasure to come to work,” she said.
The Vital Signs exhibition runs until Tuesday 18 April at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre, 782 Kingsway, Gymea.