Arts: Art with an asian flavour

Newsagency Gallery was launched in 2011 by oil painter Bess O’Malley. The gallery will be showing its 26th show during Art Month and is inviting people to stop by to check it out as they travel along the Marrickville Open Studio Trail…

How will the Newsagency Gallery be getting involved in Art Month?
The gallery will be presenting an exhibition of works on paper called Art Prints Asia. It’s made up of contemporary silk screen and woodblock prints by four artist-run studios called Sticky Fingers Art Print from Cambodia, Idle Beats from Shanghai, Survive Garage and Krack Studio, from Indonesia.

Have you been involved in MOST before?
We had two exhibitions during Art Month 2013 and it was great fun! The casual ‘open event’ setting helped the visitors relax, they all had a purpose and we sold a lot of work. I think people know that the most interesting shows are up during Art Month; the artists and galleries make a huge effort, it’s a real celebration and a showcase.

What can people expect from the show?
It’s a show about the art scenes I’ve visited in Asia and the connections I’ve made with artists there through my gallery. Taking in art is a great way to travel and I’ll be there to talk to visitors about the artists and their work, which includes limited edition fine art prints by well known artists in Asia like Bayu Widodo, Nini Sum, Visal Heng, Restu Ratnaningtyas and Hendra (Hehe) Harsono. There are also fantastic posters by street artists like Anti Tank, Killjim and Guerillas produced for local bands, street events, political protests and even poetry nights.

Can you tell us about some of the artistic techniques that have been used throughout the exhibition?
Silkscreen and woodblock printing is a beautiful medium for high quality fine artwork. There are 15 artists in the show, from three different Asian cities. The works from Phnom Penh are very rock and roll, they use psychedelic colours and ‘60s ‘go go’ graphics. The works from China are wonderfully intelligent and dark humoured, the artists have used traditional images like the dragon, but also contemporary images of city life.  The works from Indonesian are diverse in style but all focus on the figure, bodies are seated, floating, working, they tell stories and are deeply psychological and raw.

How did you come to run the gallery?
I’m an oil painter and I’ve worked in cultural development managing artists for 15 years – the gallery was a natural progression for me. I also live upstairs with my family, so it’s a great lifestyle. I know a lot of talented people and I get to have them in my life for a while.

What do you think sets the Newsagency apart from other galleries?
It’s a relaxed, friendly environment, the work is always interesting and reasonably priced, so we sell a lot. Oh, and our launch events are legendary! They go a bit later than usual and we’ve had some amazing bands play over the years.

Newsagency Gallery: 332 Stanmore Rd, Petersham. For more information visit www.newsagencygallery.com.au.