Recent exhibition, Creativity & Correspondence: The George Paton Gallery Archive 1971-1990 and other images from the archive.
The appointment of Kiffy Rubbo in October 1971 as Director of the Ewing Gallery and Rowden White Library, marks the beginning of one of the most influential contemporary art spaces in Melbourne’s history.
The Ewing Gallery (as it was then known) was established in 1938 to house a permanent exhibition of The Ewing Collection of Australian painting. The collection was exhibited continuously from 1938 until October 1971. When Kiffy Rubbo was appointed the brief for the Ewing Gallery was expanded to begin a program of changing temporary exhibitions with funding provided by the student union.
The first Australia Council grant round was held in 1973 and the Ewing received $3,000 towards its 1974 program. Council funding was received every year until 1990, and this transformed the operations of the gallery and greatly improved the quality of exhibition documentation from 1974 onwards.
In a unique position at the beginning of the 1970’s as Australia’s only avant-garde gallery with institutional support, the Ewing and George Paton benefited from the investment of energy made by a large group of young experimental artists and associated students and academics. Amongst the diverse range of exhibitions and events held during the 1970’s and 1980’s can be found most of Australia’s acclaimed contemporary artists, curators and art writers of today.
Creativity & Correspondence: The George Paton Gallery Archive 1971-1990 explored key relationships and the creative process between artists and gallery directors during the first two decades of the gallery’s history. The exhibition featured original archival material including correspondence, photographs, slides, catalogues, early video art and posters.
Students in Art Curatorship and Cultural Heritage Charmaine Ching, Alice Mathieu and Jeremy McEachern had the opportunity to curate the exhibition through the University’s Cultural Collections Projects program. The exhibition drew inspiration from the beginnings of the blog created by archivist Georgina Ward.
The exhibition also launched the recently-completed catalogue of the archive, catalogued with support from the Russell and Mab Grimwade Miegunyah Fund.
The opening night was a great success, with many attending and fantastic speeches from Dr Heather Gaunt, Curator of Academic Programs, Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne; Dr Meredith Rogers, director, designer and dramaturg, Honorary Research Associate, Latrobe University and Dr Janine Burke, historian, writer, and curator, Monash University.
Thank you to all who attended the opening night and visited the exhibition.