Despard Gallery launches new world-class commercial gallery this November featuring two of Australia’s most exciting artists:
‘Scale’ by Matthew Harding and ‘Small Worlds’ by Anne Morrison
Opening 14 November 15 Castray Esplanade, Hobart Tasmania
Launched in partnership with art critic Dr. Peter Hill
Despard Gallery has been an established commercial art space in Hobart, Tasmania for 27 years. Throughout this time the gallery has lead the way for contemporary arts practice through an extensive exhibition program, including large scale international exhibitions in New York and Chicago. With this extensive history and experience behind them, Despard is set to realize a fresh new vision in a new, purpose-built space in historic, central Hobart.
In collaboration with Field Labs architect, James Wilson, Despard Gallery has designed a world-class exhibition space to present the best of Tasmanian art. The brave new venue is located on the first floor of the colonial ordinance store on Castray Esplanade. Originally constructed in 1837 and sensitively restored using modern industrial fittings and finishes, the design has preserved many of the original markings from the convict nails to vintage graffiti.
To mark the significance of this new space, Despard is launching two large exhibitions: Anne Morrison’s ‘Small Worlds’ and Matthew Harding’s ‘Scale’. Both these artists have had long and distinguished careers both in Australia and internationally.
Anne Morrison is a unique and highly regarded painter who was previously named Young British Artist of the Year alongside greats like Sarah Lucas. Anne trained at the Royal Academy in London before relocating to Hobart to complete her PhD at the Tasmanian School of Art. Originally from Scotland, Anne has established herself as one of Tasmania’s finest painters.
Matthew Harding is a Melbourne-based sculptor; his large-scale works inhabit some of Australia’s most iconic landscapes. His most recent commission was a forty-meter long stainless steel illuminated façade for the Murray Art Museum. Many would be familiar with the mirrored steel façade at MONA commissioned in 2011. Matthew is a big thinker and a big maker, his projects are ambitions and command audience attention. This new body of work is an opportunity for patrons to experience the work of a great Australian sculptor in a more intimate way. As the title suggests Matthew’s new body of work aims to invite viewers into a ‘quieter’ experience of his sculpture.
Dr. Peter Hill is a prolific writer, curator and critic. Known for his ongoing project ‘The Museum of Doubt’, his voice can be heard throughout the Australian art world. Peter is an avid supporter of Tasmanian artists and will be writing the commentary on the opening show as well as officially opening the new space.
The new exhibition space represents a shift in vision. Through a monthly exhibition program of bold new contemporary art, Despard strives to create an art experience that is stimulating, relevant and reflective of Australian creative culture while not shying away from topical issues.
Matthew Harding is a multi-disciplinary Australian artist engaged in a diverse practice spanning sculpture, public art and design. From his workshop in the Central Highlands of Victoria Harding designs and fabricates large-scale works exploring structure, natural geometries and the presence of form in the landscape. His work is inspired by a keen interest in science, mathematics, engineering and a desire to learn through the process of making. Initially serving an apprenticeship in Carpentry and Joinery (1981), he subsequently studied painting and printmaking at the Hunter St. School of Art, Newcastle (1984-5). In 1995 he received his Bachelor of Visual Arts (honours) in Furniture Design from the School of Art, ANU, Canberra. In 2014 Harding was awarded the prestigious McClelland Award for Sculpture for his suspended work ‘Void’. He has been selected as a finalist in numerous national sculpture surveys including the McClelland National Sculpture Survey and Award (2007, 2010, Peoples Choice Award 2010, 2014, 2014 winner); the National Sculpture Prize (National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2003); the Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award (2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, Wyndham City Council Acquisitive Award and Popular Choice Award 2004) and Sculpture by the Sea (1999, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013 recipient: Helen Lempriere Scholarship 2010). He has lectured at the Australian National University and University of Launceston and participated in cross-cultural symposia and collaborations in Japan, Canada, Cambodia, New Zealand, Sweden and Easter Island. In 1998 he was the recipient of a Churchill fellowship.