WEST SPACE 20th ANNIVERSARY FUNDRAISER

Words - Jessica Knight Photos - Karla O'Connor

West Space 20th Anniversary Fundraiser. June 11 -  14, 2013

If you cut me I will bleed pictures. When I close my eyes, I see red dots, so many red dots. The kind of red circle stickers that get stuck on alabaster gallery walls to indicate that a picture, a creation by human hands connected to a beautiful brain, has been sold to another person; to a person with a beautiful brain and hands that may or may not be able to create beautiful or thought provoking and conversation inspiring works of art.  I am talking about the Annual Fundraiser to keep a wonderful art space functioning so we so can continue to frequent the large well lit interior that has been witness to many a night of creative celebration  - I’m talking here, of West Space.

Every year very generous and altruistic artists donate a work of art to be sold. The money that these works attain goes to help a very important cog in the Melbourne art scene to keep turning.  This year, I was lucky enough (or mad enough) to volunteer my services for the evening. Having left my glasses at a friend’s house, I poured every glass of wine with intense focus, holding the glass inches from my face. Though this looked comical to the very well dressed crowd, I can say proudly that not a drop was spilled.

By 6:30pm, two hundred people had already braved the dripping wet sky to come and peruse the wonderful array of works on display for purchase.  Jon Campbell’s awesome work using cotton, printed-paper and collage to form the words Up Shit Creek (30 by 21cm) sold for $950. It resembles a ransom note and gives you the exact feeling opposite to what the statement implies. A wondrously ironic and clever piece, I would have proudly displayed it on my bedroom wall. It would have stood as a tongue in cheek affirmation of my life choices.

The three sculptures by Nick Waddell created using white marble were homages to retro icons of technological progress. A cassette tape entitled Mixed Tape sold for $320, an original 80’s style mobile phone entitled Roaming Roming, sold for $450. The third sculpture entitled Solid Rock is still available until Saturday 15th of June.

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Ever pretended you were sitting on the moon? Ever wanted to do that every day while having a cup of tea? The auspicious person who purchased Dell Stewart’s work Moon Stool, can at their whim. Dell took a humble IKEA stool and with enamel paint, decoupage and resin created the surface of the moon on which a person could rest their weary derriere.  It is a beautiful idea and concept, to give people the opportunity to see up close, a visual representation of something so far away and beautiful. Moon Stool is not just a pretty painted stool; it allows us to contemplate the complexity of where we stand in relation to the grand scheme of things. We are infinite and insignificant.

Renee Cosgrove’s oil paint on board (22cm by 29.2 cm) is a joyous ode to the process of painting. The work entitled Cleaning Brushes seems to be random beautiful brush strokes in a rainbow of colours and squiggles, but is so much more than that. It pays tribute to the desire and need to create that drives artists and inspires art lovers.  This beautiful and poignant work sold for $150, which I think is a total bargain for something that will no doubt provide a lifetime of smiles and warm fuzzies for the soul.

Brian Spier’s larger than life ink jet print edition of ten, with seven still available for purchase, is a glossy and beautiful collection of collaged shapes put together in a form befitting all lovers of bold clean lines and block colours that are so big it seems like the pattern is standing in judgment of you.

The psychedelic beach boys sound tracked dream that is the work of Minna Gilligan is provided for our pleasure in the form of her large scale work entitled Shell Ladies. The work is a digital print of collage on fabric. There were three for sale at $750, but only one remains.  The work shows the black and white photographed faces of two young girls immersed in an under water universe, where bubbles surround them and shells sit beneath their chins, there is beautiful coral behind them and the whole image is full of warmth and wonder. You are taken to a faraway place where you were young and the beach was vast and yellow. It is not simply a picture, it is a world encompassed in a perfectly created visual dreamscape.

It would take far too many words to adequately describe every work that was donated unselfishly to the West Space fundraiser. It was overwhelming to see the extent to which the artists of Melbourne were willing to give their talent for free.  The night glimmered with the guts and glory of good will that can accumulate when people rally together to save something precious. It is the spark and the sparkle of what a love of art can inspire.

And there was cake; you know a beautiful and resplendent looking affair of deliciousness that I did not get to taste, as I was busy serving alcohol to a cheerful and bright-eyed crowd.  I got hugged a lot by friendly out of focus people who knew my name. Note: If you are short sighted it cannot be enforced enough, do not leave your glasses anywhere but on your nose.  Also, do not be the last person to know about the cheese board in the secret back room for staff and volunteers only. Only a broken cracker and a handful of Edam chunks were left by the time I was finally informed.  Don’t worry, I totally ate the broken cracker and a handful of Edam chunks, they were delicious.

Unfortunately, the art could only be displayed for four days, and so, the pieces are hanging no longer. However, don’t let that deter you from taking your creative loving self to West Space, POST HASTE.

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