We are very pleased to welcome Marian Simpson to the M&G NSW team! Marian will be working as Gallery Programs and Touring Exhibitions Coordinator whilst Olivia Welch is on maternity leave.
Marian has a background in exhibition management and arts administration, and has been working in the industry for over 10 years. Read more about her in this Q&A.
M&G NSW: Welcome to M&G NSW! Can you tell us what you’re looking forward to doing in your role as Gallery Programs & Touring Exhibitions Coordinator?
Marian Simpson (MS): Thank you – I’m really looking forward to this role and being involved with the installs for different venues and learning more about different artists and artworks. It’s an ideal opportunity for me because I enjoy working on exhibitions to get the logistics happening as much as I enjoy seeing new galleries and places and learning new things. I also enjoy using the experiences I’ve had to solve problems so (even though I never hope for problems) I like the nature of exhibitions because even on a tour each show is never exactly the same.
M&G NSW: You previously worked as Exhibition Manager at Penrith Regional Galley; can you tell us a few highlights from your time there?
MS: Oh wow – highlights from four and a half years is hard – there’s so many! A big personal and professional moment was curating the exhibition tactile which was an exhibition about touch and allowed visitors to touch artworks. It was very successful, personally enjoyable, and we received a Highly Commended in the IMAGinE Awards Engagement category which was fantastic.
Small moments also include that time just after install is finished: I would walk the space whilst the crew were packing up; the artists have left satisfied and the space is ready, waiting to open. I love that feeling of an exhibition just about to ‘begin’.
M&G NSW: Last year, you performed in Alicia Frankovich’s performance piece The Work. Can you share what it was like to be part of that experience?
MS: Being part of The Work was really quite surreal for me. I’ve performed in artworks before as a volunteer but this was also a commentary on work that I had been involved in as a Kaldor staff member. The opening part of the act, which started with a susurrating and increasing chorus of ‘Can I have your postcode?’, was partially derived from my own experience of asking for postcodes. I’m not sure if others felt the same but suddenly ‘performing’ something I had done as a professional made me self-conscious of what I was doing in a way I had never experienced before. At the same time, the fact that this could coalesce into a beautiful choreographed moment was really exciting and affirming, personally. While we were rehearsing we were also given a unique window into Alicia Frankovich’s artistic process and that was also an amazing chance to understand how performance and ideas come together to create The Work.
M&G NSW: When you’re not working with galleries, what do you get up to?
MS: At the moment, COVID is limiting my habits and I’m pretty eclectic but I read (from comics to philosophy); study Japanese; look at hedgehog videos; play outside with my husky; fuss over my Yuzu tree; possibly watch too much television; attempt making different Japanese foods (especially sweets) while occasionally renovating or organising the house. My last major project was installing a rangehood in the kitchen and installing new bookshelves. My non-COVID habits include visiting galleries and trying new food alongside saving for overseas trips to see more galleries, see and learn new things, and eat new food in other countries too. One day I’d like to see a hedgehog in person too.