What is your most recent acquisition?
The most recent purchase was from the trip I have just taken. I took a group for an Art Tour of Paris and London – both are wonderful cities and guiding people to the galleries was great.
On this trip I did purchase a Norbert Bisky work, which is a watercolour and pencil on paper. I had been following this artist for a number of years and finally decided to get a work for the collection.
Generally, the collection is mainly Australian and New Zealand artists as I feel our artists are world class even if they don’t get the deserved recognition for their work. I also like to meet the artists I collect if possible, so I can understand their work even better and get some idea into the processes they use to create their art.
How often do you re-hang your collection? What sparks the need to shake things up?
This is a difficult question in that the works move around the home quite often. The need for re-hanging comes about with the purchase of a new work. We have three different coloured walls in the house and some art works better on a different coloured background.
When a new work comes into the house I take it from room to room and see how it reacts with the colours in the room and the other works it will hang with. If all works then that is where it has decided to live.
If a large work is purchased then that normally means a major re-hang and that is a major job. The best thing I have ever done was to install the gallery hanging system with the tracks and wires into many of the rooms and hallways in the house. By using this system the re-hang becomes an easier option rather than drilling lots of holes in the walls.
Are there any themes or ideas that reoccur throughout your collection?
Yes… The collection loosely has “figure in a landscape” as the main concept. Most of the works we have are figurative, however the figure can be a small part of the work or dominate the work. The landscape can be also quite explicit or implied. There are no hard and fast rules about what I buy, as long as it captures my feelings when I see it.
You seem not to be afraid of challenging subject matter, what type of imagery do you enjoy living with?
This has not always been the case. When I first started collecting I, like most people, went for very safe works. In fact the first works I purchased were two small boats on the harbor. I still have them but they are not high profile works in my collection. With a keener eye and more research into art and artists I have developed the collection. The benefit of viewing more and more art is that you soon find that your are willing to take more risks and what you once thought you may not be able to have at home, now feels very welcoming and friendly. There are also a few works in the collection that are way out of left field and people think “What ???” but they have their own attraction to me for their own reasons.
We all have “the one that got away”, is there a particular artwork that you would snap up if you had the chance again?
How long do we have … there are many works that I would have loved to add to the collection but the budget would not allow. There is a specific work that is held in a regional gallery by James Gleeson that I love and would add it to the collection in a heartbeat but I feel it will never come on the market.
I do have a wish to add a William Dobell work to the collection at some time but I have not been in the position to buy the right one – either it has not come up or the price is out of my budget. There was a small work titled ‘Maitland’ that I would have loved but at the stage it was available I did not have the funds, but it would be one I would like to have if it became available.
Throughout your years of collecting, have you seen your “style” change, alter or evolve?
Definitely. When I first started collecting art I played it very safe with well-constructed but very conservative compositions. There were beautifully painted but were not challenging in many ways.
As I developed my eye for works they then became more interesting in lots of ways and wider in scope and appeal. The figure became a focal point for most of the artworks and then a dog started to appear in the collection. This was even highlighted when I commissioned a work by Euan Macleod and asked him if he could have a dog included in the scene. I knew he had painted dogs in works prior so felt that this was a way to bring these themes together in out work.
Another change in the collection is that sculptural works are taking on greater importance as well as a diversity of mediums. When I first started I was basically an “oil/acrylic on canvas” man but now there are quite a number of bronze, ceramic, glass, mixed media and also digital artworks in the collection.
I feel that the collection will always be evolving as new works are added and as I grow in my art journey and am exposed to new and exciting works by talented artists.