Gallerist Michael Reid has been influential in the art world for over 20 years as an art writer, educator, researcher and dealer. He has represented artists and sold their works since the early 2000’s, initially in Elizabeth Bay then in Berlin and Murrundi (regional NSW) and now in Surry Hills and increasingly, online.
The gallery’s recent move to Surry Hills offers a much larger space to present artworks, with the ubiquitous expansive white walls and high ceilings but more importantly to Reid, the opportunity to shift the dynamic of routine exhibition turnover and connect with a new community. Says fellow Director Will Sturrock “We are delighted to be sharing this beautiful building (Standard House) with other creatives who are receptive to art as an integral part of daily life and with whom we’re keen to find new ways to work.”
Step inside the ground floor Standard House space and you’ll find quality contemporary art which is diverse in concept, media and technique, and which is a good representation of what is happening currently in Australian art. There is no fixed Gallery look. It is a broad church in its approach, with an overarching commitment to quality and access.
On now, is the second solo exhibition by photographer Luke Shadboldt who seeks to capture a close –up image of grandiose gesture or moment. This show was launched at Photo London earlier this year, then exhibited in the Berlin gallery before coming to Australia. Not a standard practice for many Sydney commercial galleries, but typifies the international reach increasingly characteristic of Reid’s approach.
Sturrock says, “We’re open to new and different opportunities to present and promote our artists, beyond these walls.” For gallery artist Joan Ross, who has had a stellar year winning two major prizes, the opportunity was a collaboration between the Gallery and the Bank of America, which resulted in a solo exhibition and series of artist talks in its Sydney CBD offices.
Other artists of note represented by Michael Reid Contemporary Art include Dr Christian Thompson who works with performance, video and photography to explore his Indigenous culture and identity. His accolades and awards are many. Most recently he was awarded the inaugural Mordant Family Virtual Reality Commission, to complete a major work for the Australian Centre for Moving Image in Melbourne. Look for the intensely detailed and colour saturated photographs of Joseph McLennon, or the bold flat shapes of New Zealand artist Wayne Youle’s portraits. Visit the Gallery because there is no substitute for experiencing these artworks other than in the flesh.
And then – for something completely different: The Cocktail Hour from Trevor Smith, who crochets household items and exotic food platters into the most delightful soft sculptures. As the final show for what has been a big year for the Michael Reid enterprise, this could be read as a lovely acknowledgement to the history of the building and its owners – Standard Knit Fabrics. Definitely something for the Christmas stocking. It opens 6 December, but is online now.
Connect with the gallery on social media in all its versions and you’ll get a good sense of the scope and activities of the Michael Reid gallery and its foray into the Surry Hills Creative Precinct. Check out their new membership program “Art Signifikant” with bespoke events to inform and expand your knowledge of contemporary art.
Fiona McIntosh – Art advisor, consultant , commentator and advocate
This article was originally published in Urban Village