17 March 2023

Vacant shopfronts in mountain towns a canvas for local artists

| Edwina Mason
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Dr James Farley

Dr James Farley installing walking in isolation in Tumbarumba and a photograph from the collection. Image: Sculpture by the Sea.

Following the success of the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail’s inaugural Shop Art Projects in 2022, Sculpture by the Sea has revealed three new artworks by local artists have been selected for 2023.

The Shop Art Projects is an integral part of the Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail which opened last year and proving its worth as a cultural drawcard to the western Snowy Mountains foothills.

Four long-term unoccupied shops in Batlow and Tumbarumba have been leased for commissioned artists to install site-specific artworks, contributing to the activation of the streetscapes and creating another reason for people to visit the towns.

During the artist’s installation – which could be three to six months – they stay in the Snowy Valleys and engage with the local community, with free workshops and artist talks.

READ ALSO New Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail installations turn rock into art and art on its head

Shop Art Projects sees artworks displayed within two shopfronts on Selwyn Street, Batlow and The Parade, Tumbarumba.

Wagga Wagga artist Dr James Farley’s artwork walking in isolation has been installed in Tumbarumba and is open to the public, following an official opening on Friday 10 February.

Walking in isolation is a collaborative project between the award-winning Australian photographer and award-winning Australian poet Dr Lachlan Brown, also from Wagga Wagga.

It combines photography and poetry created in response to daily walks on the trails of Willans Hill Reserve.

Though their paths never crossed in person, James and Lachlan connected via email and began exchanging images and words in response to their daily walks.

Green pot

The work of Tumbarumba artist Merran Esson is also on show at Artists on Parade, 13 The Parade, Tumbarumba. Image: Sculpture by the Sea.

The installation uses images, poetry and light to engage visitors in a contemplative dialogue around ideas of place, connection, and environment.

Courabyra artist Jenny Blake has been selected to exhibit in Tumbarumba in April 2023.

Her work Threads was inspired by the 2019-2020 Dunn’s Road fire, with small sculptures representing the 100 homes that were lost.

Printmakers Elaine Camlin and Melissa Martin’s artwork Shifted Perspective will be on display in April in Batlow. Their collaborative work explores our ecological footprint with prints that incorporate natural materials.

Right now, there’s a Nordic touch to Tumbarumba’s Shop Art Projects with Elin&Keino from Finland recently completing their installation ‘Microcosm’ at 11 The Parade, Tumbarumba.

The collaboration – which focuses primarily on creating dialogue between contemporary art and the environment – dates back to 2009.

Microcosm creates a parallel universe to view and to step into, inviting the viewer to experience the wonders of a miniature world as a same size being simultaneously aiming to shed light on the richness and biodiversity of the incredible ecosystems that we are sharing our planet with.

Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail installations are chosen by a local community advisory committee who have been working on the project since July 2021.

READ ALSO An artistic inconvenience officially arrives in Batlow

There are three shopfront installations as part of the Shop Art Projects:

Tom Buckland – 10 Selwyn Street, Batlow, open Thursdays and Fridays 10 am – noon; Saturdays and Sundays 10 am – 2 pm until end of March 2023.

Elin&Keino – 11 The Parade, Tumbarumba, open Saturdays 10 am – noon until end of June 2023.

James Farley – 30a The Parade, Tumbarumba, until the end of March. This is a shopfront-viewed work only, located behind the Tumbarumba Hotel near 24 The Parade.

Plus: Merran Esson – ‘Tumba Tanks’, in Artists on Parade, 13 The Parade, Tumbarumba, opening hours vary with the season – currently Thursdays to Sundays 10 am – 1 pm (seasonal hours may vary – to check, please visit artistsonparade.com.au)

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