Artspace: working in a new space

The historic Gunnery at Woolloomooloo has been home to Artspace since 1992. And so it remains. Recently though, the gallery and its functions underwent a facelift, reinvigorating  purpose and opening up exciting possibilities for artists to access vital studio space and networking opportunities.

To accompany the renewed space and fresh approach is a new motto: ‘Ever changing, ever challenging’. It’s descriptive, directional and says it all.

They’ve roped in two new curators, Sebastian Goldspink and Talia Linz to take the lead. During a recent visit and chat with Goldspink, I was given insight into Artspace’s changing and challenging ways.

With a passion for nurturing creative enterprise, and a background as an experienced performer, Goldspink specialises in assisting and advocating for emerging artists. Trained in acting, and working as an actor for over 10 years, Goldspink starred in the ABC’s Heartbreak High before deciding he wanted to pursue a more “grown up career” as a curator.

To accompany the renewed space and fresh approach is a new motto: ‘Ever changing, ever challenging’. It’s descriptive, directional and says it all.

He put in several years at the MCA, which he said was akin to an apprenticeship, before being invited to Hobart to assist with the creation of MONA. Goldspink’s experience and diverse creative interests – musical, performing and visual – give him an intimate understanding of the creative journey emerging artists undertake.

Walking into the beautiful Gunnery building past its exterior seductively adorned with vivid pink tree branches – an installation by artist Biljana Jancic called Pathogen in pink – provides a taste of the artworks I’ll see inside.

Goldspink leads me to the Ideas Platform. Small, with an open doorway at the front of the building, this room is dedicated to experimental, risky or open-ended work – workshops, performances or film screenings – and currently displays a series of fluorescent posters quoting Gertrude Stein. Created by Los Angeles based American artist Eve Fowler, the vibrant posters have a sense of immediacy which herald the work beyond. Goldspink explains that Artspace engages with international and Australian artists and hopes to merge their diversity of ideas and perspectives together. The current exhibition An Imprecise Science features artists from Australia, Ireland, Iceland and Japan.

Muffled music emanates from the gallery and I later discover the source is Ragnar Kjaartansson’s video work with sound track by The National. In the next room there’s a wall of colourful abstract works; porcelain stones delicately arranged in organic shapes on a low platform with what appears to be a hanging animal hide, and screens at the far end showing video works. I spy industrial looking sculptures and a large geometrical arrangement of tubes on the floor. Everywhere I look I see different styles and materials on display.

An integral part of the overall vision for Artspace is the studio space for artists. There are seven long term non-residential spaces and four residential studios for artists. Crucially, the seven non-residential spaces have been offered to artists for year-long occupation free of charge to provide the artists with access to professional development opportunities and advocacy for their work.

As we walk around the light and breezy studio spaces, some of which have a water view, I have the opportunity to meet one of the residential artists, Clare Milledge. Clare explains that the opportunity to connect with different artists is inspiring. “Artists can share ideas or even tools”, a benefit that she feels could not be found working from an independent studio.

If you’re looking to add some diverse and experimental art to your art diet, head to Artspace.


Exhibition dates for An Imprecise Science are 29 March – 24 May 2015.


Narelle grew up in the beautiful Hawkesbury region and now lives in Sydney where she works as a museum educator. Her passions include visiting museums, travelling with her husband, and singing.

She’ll be reporting on regional and Sydney based history and heritage and generally getting down and dirty in new exhibition spaces.

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