Greetings from the beautiful city of Gladstone! This is my third week working at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum. My first couple of weeks have been nothing but incredible. I have learned everything from hanging artworks to lighting exhibitions. I have also guided three educaiton programs learning so much about the State Heritage Listed Town Hall and Council Chambers. I still have to pinch myself when I walk through the doors of the Art Deco building. I am unbelievably grateful to have been given this opportunity and I cannot wait to see how the role evolves over time.
On the topic of regional museums, last weekend I went on a road trip to Rockhampton. Located approximately 108 km from Gladstone, Rocky (affectionate nickname) is the fourth largest regional city in Queensland. There are quite a few heritage sites and museums in and around the city so watch this space for more Rockhampton-themed blog posts.
For my first time in the city, I decided to visit the Art Gallery. It’s right in the city centre, near the Fitzroy River. I wasn’t visiting to see a specific exhibition, I was more interested in seeing the venue and how they curated their exhibition spaces. Currently on show is: Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast.
According to the website, the exhibition is to celebrate some of the most iconic fashion images ever snapped. These have come from archives in New York, Milan, and Paris. While I absolutely adore fashion, fashion photography isn’t something I’d go out of my way to see. Considering it was a $10 admission fee just to see the exhibition, I have to admit I did hesitate.
In the end, I went in. The first thing you see when you enter the space is the introductory panel that is white writing on a black background. It was a strain to read, however, it was well lit. Right at the end of the panel, the text states that the exhibition is divded across two galleries – the one in Rockhampton and the one in Mackay. I was slightly nervous at this stage wondering how much exactly I would see and what I was missing.
You then enter a large room that has photographs and text divided by decades. For example, there was Recognition and Renewal – the 1980s to 2000s. These thematic panels were incredibly in-depth going through the history of Condé Nast and highlighting specific significant developments along the way.
I spent more time admiring the textiles in the middle of the space. They were positioned well, allowing visitors to view each piece of clothing from all angles. I appreciated being able to see the reverse of the garment which is not always the case in textile exhibitions.
Then things got a little confusing. There were two ways to go, back out the door you came in (obviously not the way) or through a little door at the back of the room that wasn’t obviously a connection between exhibition spaces. On approaching the door, I saw a small sign indicating it was, in fact, the correct way. Through the door, you walk down a corridor, past the staff offices. I felt as though I had accidentally walked into a “staff only” area.
In saying this, it was nicely designed in that the wall opposite the offices displayed a chronology of cameras from some of the earliest to one’s used today. At the end of this space was a small cafe and a children’s play area which I thought was a real highlight. Having a play area and cafe away from the main exhibition, but, between the two rooms made the exhibition feel larger than it actually was. It is a pretty nifty way to extend an exhibition experience.
After walking through yet another door, I was in the final room of the exhibition. Considering it looked at ealier decades from the 1910s to the 1980s, it was definitely more enjoyable than the first room. The textiles in the middle were, again, the highlight. Especially this beautiful tartan dress!
After walking around this room, I walked out the door expecting more to the exhibition. As I soon discovered, however, it was the end. Although small, the exhibition was well curated and it was very interesting to see how they were displayed and fixed to the wall.
I will say that the Gallery had a gift shop filled with treasures. I purchased a Guerilla Girls car air freshner (“to eliminate the smell of patriarchy”) and a doll wearing a mondrian dress. The latter is a handmade art piece and so cute I couldn’t resist.
Overall, I am very glad that I visited the Art Gallery and I can’t wait to see what they offer in the future. I did see a Watercolours and Wine event that had my name all over it.
There is so much to see and do here I cannot wait to explore more! On my list is definitely a few trips to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, swim with turtles and rays at Heron Island, see fossils in the Capricorn Caves and watch koalas sleep in the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens. I am also unbelievably excited to see the new Museum of Brisbane exhibition – Tastes like Sunshine – when I visit Brisbane in late September.
For my next post, however, I am going to tkae you on a journey through the heritage buildings of central Gladstone. I hope to walk the route this weekend!