Previous Exhibition

Kate Barry —
From Side Gallery to NERAM (Expedition)

Jun 8 – Jun 11, 2022

About the Artist      

Side Gallery invited a small group of artists to visit Armidale across a weekend. The aim was to explore how the artist’s work/process may evolve when taken from the usual surroundings and studio environment. The artists were encouraged to make work, explore, mingle, reflect on working differently, and respond authentically to Armidale’s township and environment. Meeting with NERAM’s Director, Rachael Parsons, the group experienced a regional Museum tour, including an educational collection tour, and met some of the local artists of Armidale and Walcha. Of course, they took in the fantastic pastoral landscape of New England, too. Expedition: Artists of Side Gallery is the collection of works created by Side Gallery artists Kate Barry, Melanie Brady, Susan Lincoln & Adrienne Williams in response to Armidale’s landscape, township, people and environment and exhibited at NERAM 1 April – 8 May 2022

'From Side Gallery to NERAM' is a short pop-up iteration of the exhibition, with selected works shown specifically for the Side Gallery project.

Artwork Notes

KATE BARRY Kate Barry is a Christchurch-born expressionistic abstraction painter who lives and works in Brisbane, Meanjin. Kate’s painting is driven by instinctive and emotional responses to landscape and the energy of human interconnection. In this instance, the expedition with friends, a rush of movement from the car window; these paintings are about translating emotional responses from feelings into form. By exploring the expressive qualities of wind through trees, the chaotic beauty of changes in the passing landforms, and the diverse energies of smaller townships and their structures, Kate beautifully conveys changes of light and movement.

“To preserve the moments of the soft sage blues in drizzly, misty weather, to the strong, coloursaturated lush green on grassy verges, I was pulled between reality and the subconscious. My painted marks charter a rough course through lyrical brushstrokes, emotional responses to glimpses of quiet hillsides, stark burnt trees, desolate towns, others bustling with vitality. These works are the moments shared outward to the viewer.”

MELANIE BRADY Mel Brady is a painter and installation artist living on Gubbi Gubbi land, who paints her love of colour and pattern, and works with fabric and paint to create site-specific, immersive installations and paintings. Mel’s deep interest in vintage art and fashion has been integral to the foundation of this body of work, and is evident in the playful mix of pattern and colour.

“Soaking in the landscape as we drove, it was a strangely kaleidoscopic folding-in of memories, from growing up on a tiny orchard in Cottonvale to visiting my grandmother’s family in Armidale in the early 90s. My impressions of Armidale are coloured by family stories and linked together by my grandmother’s dress; a gown that was given to me, as a vintage clothing nut, to take care of. I brought the dress with me on this trip, as a tether to the remarkable women in my family and a reminder to try to stay in the present moment. Chasing the moon, then the sun, reflections on the car windows and the patterns I found along the way make up the matter of these works. I feel like a kid when I travel, and never more so than on this Expedition.”

SUSAN LINCOLN Susan Lincoln was born in Charleville, Queensland, and has lived in Windorah, Longreach, Roma, Toowoomba, and Collinsville. Susan’s artwork has evolved from very simple beginnings as a girl capturing and refracting light through a glass prism in the unique light of outback Queensland. Today, Susan’s practice predominantly explores light, space and nostalgia with a minimal aesthetic to create emotive experiences. Simple symbols, light studies, motifs and colour are married with Susan’s typical minimalist work as part of this collection of pieces for ‘Expedition’. The studies of the town’s architecture, glimpses of the colour palette of the incredible pastoral landscape and the reflective nature of an out-of-town road trip were the catalyst for these works.

“I had a particular image in my mind of how I would photograph the light in Armidale. It would be minimal, ethereal, and divine. Of course, true to the ‘nature’ of mother nature, the overcast weekend threw not even one spectral light beam my way. In its place, I saw light in my light/lifeline of the weekend. In the time spent with friends. In the neon green undersurface of the trees. In the passing elevations of thriving country towns. In the people who we met along the way. And, ultimately in the exquisite and glorious painted white light in the Hinton Collection, its beautiful and gilded portals enticing us to feel the ethereal and the divine.”

ADRIENNE WILLIAMS Adrienne Williams is a regional artist living and working in Bundaberg, Queensland. Travelling to join the other artists for the ‘Expedition’ weekend, Adrienne’s usual en-Plein air sketching process was impacted due to the heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding. The weather provided a devastating backdrop to Armidale and consumed the trip with water imagery. Adrienne’s contribution to the exhibition, Meeting Place, grew from a single pencil sketch made under a dripping umbrella in her signature Plein — air style, including selected landscape traditions and colourist techniques.

“A now — historic wet weather event provided a devastating backdrop to our expedition to Armidale. It was a weekend of water imagery around us, threatening our loved ones and our paths home. On a cautious trip out to Wollomombi Falls, I found closed walking tracks, access flooded. I stood at the Falls lookout platform, overwhelmed by what I saw. It seemed like the Falls had created its own weather. Giant water-laden clouds pushed upwards from the valley floor to meet sky clouds. An immense roar travelled toward me, and all of the gorge walls added rushing water to the creamy turmoil below. Meeting Place grew from a single pencil sketch made under a dripping umbrella among glorious wet forests that day. Site-specific stories were gathered during and following the expedition. Each piece speaks to the importance of conserving our wild islands of vegetation and their role in the changing power of nature.”

LELA Side Gallery’s Director and curator, Leesa Hickey and Laura Brinin have collaborated with digital artist Sai Karlen to produce a digital response to the project, Expedition: Artists of Side Gallery. The project intended to invite artists to remove themselves from the studio, explore new inspiration and connections in a regional town, and produce work in response to their experiences. Facilitating a project like ‘Expedition’ was interestingly not too heavily focused on the work which the artists might create. Still, instead, we needed to focus on the weekend and relational elements of our group’s dynamic. We curated a selection of words and phrases used across the weekend in an endeavour to remember and archive the interconnectedness of the group. The digital work comprises captured conversation or text snippets in the group chat. It loosely forms a visual map of the water lines of Armidale’s most immense local gorge, Wollomombi Falls. The weekend’s weather event created a considerable ripple effect on our plans and subsequently impacted the artists’ work for the exhibition. We aim to honour the impact the waterways have on the local community of Armidale and the indigenous communities of the Anaiwan and Kamilaroi people.

About the Artist

Kate Barry

Kate’s journey has been acknowledged with numerous finalist selections and esteemed awards, including winner of The Hawkesbury Art Prize, highly commended in the Lethbridge Landscape Prize and The Milburn Landscape Prize, finalist in The Lethbridge 20,000 prizes, NEAP, National Emerging Artist Prize online selection, Clayton Utz Prize, and Brisbane Contemporary Art Prize.

Her artistic footprint spans the globe, with solo and group exhibitions in Queensland, NSW, and Christchurch. Her works are held in Australia, the USA, Spain, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. Notably, her pieces find a cherished place in The Modern Furniture Stores’ collections across various cities. Furthermore, her work found prominence on the international stage through ABC television’s crime drama Harrow.

As Kate’s practice surges ahead, marked by a multitude of accomplishments—ranging from commissions to online and boutique sales, television features, and national prize finalist positions—she seamlessly integrates this progression into her exploration of new conceptual dimensions, challenging the boundaries of her successful painting career.

About the Curator

Rachael Parsons

Rachael Parsons is a curator and academic within the Creative industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Honours (Visual Arts) in 2006 as well as her Masters of Research in 2011 from QUT. Rachael’s masters research explored new curatorial methodologies for the exhibition of digital and new media art practices. She has exhibited her own work both in Brisbane and internationally and has worked as an independent freelance curator focusing on digital media and experimental art exhibitions running programs such as minute gallery and the Backdoor Gallery.

In 2011 Rachael joined the curatorial team at QUT’s Creative Industries Precinct as the Exhibitions Officer and curator, facilitating their new media exhibition program. In 2012 Rachael joined Brisbane-based artist-run initiative Vegas Spray as a Co-Director to facilitate a range of programs and platforms that support and promote cultural ecology of Brisbane including BNE Art and the Brisbane Emerging Arts Festival.

About the Curator

Laura Brinin

Laura Brinin is a curator of contemporary art, currently facilitating the vibrant program at Side Gallery in the heart of Red Hill, Brisbane. With an unwavering passion for nurturing connections with emerging and established creatives, Laura is dedicated to fostering artistic growth through avenues such as social media, branding, and identity development.

Laura has exhibited her own work both in Australia and overseas, as well as working as an independent freelance curator across Brisbane for over ten years. In her downtime, you can find her reading, travelling, or stalking dogs.