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Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

MEETING JULIE BARRATT@Grafton Regional Art Gallery

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Julie Barrett on the Big Chair @ Grafton Regional Art Gallery with Victoria+Doug

As part of her role as Arts and Disability Manager for AccessibleARTS Julie was visiting GRAG to review proposals for an exhibition that is designed to cater for people with a disability. The exhibition, scheduled for later this year will feature works from the gallery’s collection that will be reinterpreted by local artists with the twist being that the new works need to be ‘viewable’ by visually impaired people—sounds like an interesting project.

We did lunch at the gallery and discussed a range of topics—it has been a while since we’d connected (SEE Wotwedid post JUNE 2011). We shared updates on our art projects; Julie spoke of another amazing project working with Aboriginal women from Central Queensland working with textiles and print techniques on silk that stretch for many metres. She is curating a show of this work at the Rockhampton Regional Art Gallery. Julie has a work in the upcoming Democracy exhibition @ Grahame Galleries in Brisbane and recently she was the recipient of the Alumni Award for the Arts and Social Sciences Faculty at Southern Cross University.

Julie was presented with a copy of our most recent Artists Survey book that deals with the encroachment of mining on farming lands in Queensland. She opened our booklet, read a few of the ‘signs’, appreciated the irony of the text and put it aside to review at length later. She then recounted the story of her childhood in North Queensland where the family owned the Blair Athol Station. Well, the property and the school that she attended were mined, disappeared—a huge open cut mine. At school the students were warned of blasting by a siren. They would then go and press against the library shelves to stop the books being vibrated out onto the floor. This and other memories of this mining encroachment are still strong for her and are being somewhat relived by CSG activities that are gaining ground in Northern NSW.

She needs to make art about it. Maybe we all need to whether or not it will change anything. We’ve recently come across a quote from Gerhard Richter that alludes to the circumstances of being an artist—the words may have resonance for any artist in any medium. He states,

“Painting is consequentially an almost blind, desperate effort, like that of a person abandoned, helpless, in totally incomprehensible surroundings—like that of a person who possesses a given set of tools, materials and abilities and has the urgent desire to build something useful which is not allowed to be a house a chair or anything else that has a name; who therefore hacks away in the vague hope that by working in a proper, professional way he will ultimately turn out something proper and meaningful.”

Gerhard Richter Notes1985 in The daily Practice of Painting edited by Han-Ulrich Obrist and translated by David Britt. London, 1985 p121 (note from 18.5.1985).

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Written by Cooper+Spowart

September 27, 2012 at 9:46 am

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