Introducing... Gertrude Glasshouse
Gertrude Glasshouse is the project space of Gertrude Contemporary – an independent and non-commercial organisation that offers artists freedom and space for risk-taking, innovation and ambition – and the home of the Gertrude Studio Artist exhibition program. We spoke with Artistic Director, Mark Feary about their plans for PHOTO 2020 and the pervasive influence of photography in contemporary art.
As an organisation, Gertrude Contemporary is committed to collaborating with artists and other organisations to create new contexts for art and expanding audiences across the city, nationally and internationally. PHOTO 2020 is a dynamic and ambitious new initiative, committed to connecting the work of artists and institutions with broad public audiences, echoing Gertrude’s focus. Gertrude Glasshouse’s location in Collingwood also makes it an ideal fit for PHOTO 2020 as it is located close to other festival sites across Melbourne’s Inner North.
Gertrude Contemporary works with and supports artists working in the broadest comprehension of contemporary practice and actively embraces new mediums and inter-disciplinary practices. Photography has remained a foundational cornerstone within many practices, be that as a research tool, preparatory device, or indeed, as an aesthetic output. Photography is no more important as a medium than any other that Gertrude supports, but its influence remains pervasive.
Melbourne is a city with a strong creative underpinning, with an enviable clustering of diverse cultural institutions within the heart of the city, and an expansive ecology of galleries, museums and organisations extending outwards from the centre. The significance of cultural initiatives such as PHOTO 2020 is that they inhabit and connect these existing infrastructures to form new creative constellations. Through such mass, PHOTO 2020 has the potential to engage broad public audiences and alert them to the wealth of cultural organisations that exist across the city. As one of the most ubiquitous and democratic mediums, photography has the capacity to speak directly and expansively to public audiences in a way that many art forms can’t, while importantly PHOTO 2020 remains focused on presenting excellence within photographic practices.
Truth is always going to be a collective and individual quest. Photography cannot always prove truth, but it can frequently reveal its absence. In spite of the widespread availability of photographic editing tools, photography remains a force which people believe and have a high degree of trust in.
As part of PHOTO 2020, Gertrude will be working with a current Gertrude Studio Artist to present a new solo exhibition. During their two-year residency at Gertrude Contemporary, every Studio Artist is invited to develop a new project that extends beyond their work in the studios. The project being developed for PHOTO 2020 will present empowered female figures, unpacking the roles of the artistic muse so dominant in the art historical canons, and instead, asserting a perspective that is of women and by women.
Mark Feary is the Artistic Director of Gertrude Contemporary. He has worked nationally and internationally across a range of contemporary art centres, universities, museums and artist-led initiatives including the Australian Centre for Photography, Artspace, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Centre for Contemporary Photography and West Space. Since 2013 he has also worked as a curator for the Michael Buxton Collection.