SA Life

Get CityMag in your inbox. Subscribe
February 20, 2017

Galleries for the emerging artist: a survey

A new era of small galleries are supporting Adelaide's emerging artists. These are them.

  • Words: Sharmonie Cockayne
  • Feature image: Julian Cebo

There was a time in Adelaide’s not too distant history when a network of galleries supported and nurtured emerging local artists.

That time was beautiful but brief. Galleries such as Tooth & Nail, Espionage, Magazine Gallery, Paper Horse, and Format’s Peel Street iteration celebrated a rich and thriving arts scene in the state, but one by one they folded under financial or real estate pressures.

Last year’s dramatic cuts to Australia Council arts funding looked ominous for the creative world, and have necessitated some lateral thinking, such as that shown by the Contemporary Art Centre of SA (CACSA) and the Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF), which are on the brink of merging into one entity.

But, despite all this, Adelaide is also experiencing a renaissance of small gallery spaces curated specifically for emerging artists, which means stalwarts like The Mill and FELTspace could once more be part of a thriving network of venues.

Adelaide Central Gallery

I think we have a tremendous pool of local artists to draw on, which is a credit to the fine institutions we have here in Adelaide – Fruzsi Kenez

This photo by Julian Cebo.

Located within Adelaide Central School of Art, Adelaide Central Gallery is a not-for-profit contemporary art gallery that features survey and solo exhibitions by emerging and established local artists, and renowned national and international contemporary artists.

The difference, though, lies in its establishment and purpose: it provides a learning resource for students of the school, who benefit from opportunities to engage with a professional gallery and make contact with artists, curators and writers.

Graduate of the school and showing artist in Adelaide Central Gallery’s new exhibition TRACK, Jenna Pippett, says the opportunities she’s been given through ACSA and other state support systems set Adelaide’s arts community apart.

“Adelaide has concrete visual arts tertiary providers, each with their own distinctive strengths,” she says. “We also have a network of established peers, many of whom make up the educators at these tertiary institutions. Having strong foundations in peers and educators creates an existing support network, which influences and inspires at emerging levels.”

Curated by Sasha Grbich and Andrew Purvis, TRACK is a group exhibition of local and interstate artists including Jacobus Capone (WA), Sasha Grbich (SA), Tanya Lee (WA), Jenna Pippett (SA), and Kate Power (SA). It will showcase a range of innovative performance-based art practices through video and photography, and will run from February 20 to March 18.

Jacobus Capone, Saudade, 2011, 13-hour durational performance – one of the works shown in Track

7 Mulberry Rd, Glenside SA 5065


This photo by Julian Cebo.

FELTspace is an artist run organisation that supports, develops and presents emerging, experimental and diverse exhibitions and public programs.

Co-director, Jenna Pippett (she’s everywhere!), says  the space is important not only for the opportunities it provides to South Australian artists to exhibit directly, but also in exhibiting interstate artists, “which allows South Australia to contextualise itself amongst a national identity of emerging contemporary art”.

Next year will be the 10th year of operation for FELTspace, which in itself demonstrates the gallery’s dedication to the arts.

12 Compton St, Adelaide SA 5000

The Mill

This photo by Joshua Fanning.

Celebrating its fourth anniversary this week, The Mill seeks to build pathways for recent graduates to take their first steps towards a career in the arts.

Co-Artistic director, Amber Cronin, says The Mill’s ideology and programming comes from a place where visual arts intersects with dance and other art forms.

“Our program offers development outcomes to artists, dancers, designers, theatre makers, writers and more… we are more than a gallery, and our curation reflects this,” she says.

“The reality of a sustainable arts practice (visual arts or otherwise) is that it depends on an ability to work and collaborate with a diversity of creative industries.

“We encourage artists who exhibit with us to perhaps think about their practice in this way. We are excited by new works of all discipline, makers, movers. Our program includes the gallery, and also development opportunities beyond the brick and mortar space.

“The Mill is focused on inclusion, inviting audiences who might otherwise sit outside the arts to engage with visual arts, and hopefully then go on to engage with other art forms, visit other galleries and follow new Adelaide artists through their careers.”

154 Angas Street, Adelaide SA 5000


This photo by Julian Cebo.

New contemporary art gallery, Sister, is so new that it only opened last week. The artist-run space, directed by local artists Ashleigh D’Antonio and Mia Van den Bos, and supported by Fontanelle Gallery and Studios, celebrated its existence last Saturday with an event that launched their first two exhibitions, Optimal Prime Time and In The Garden.

An almost entirely self-funded venture (they’re currently running a GoFundMe to help with set-up costs), Sister will showcase a range of contemporary artwork from South Australia, interstate and overseas in a variety of formats, including exhibition, online and a twice-yearly publication.

26 Sixth Street, Adelaide, SA 5000

Peanut Gallery

This photo courtesy of Peanut Gallery.

For Peanut Gallery directors, Caroline Gliddon and Fruszi Kenez, opening a small gallery that fosters local and international talent has been a long-time dream.

“Every day that I get to work at Peanut Gallery is a great one,” says Fruszi. “For our local artists I think it’s vital to have a variety of spaces that can showcase their work in a professional setting and be a stepping stone towards bigger and greater projects.”

Peanut Gallery gives emerging artists the opportunity to be seen in themed group shows alongside more established and well known artists.

“We draw on a wide network of artists from around the world, and interweave their stories and works in a unique way. Our themed exhibitions tap into something very special that I haven’t seen elsewhere, and celebrate the diverse and wonderful makers that we have here locally alongside international ones.”

Shop 115, Balcony Level, Adelaide Arcade, Adelaide, SA 5000

And of course, there are many more spaces doing great work on behalf of emerging artists. Venues like Floating Goose Studios IncFormat Systems Inc., and Fontanelle – who are due to launch their new space at Port Adelaide this week.

Share —