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VCA · 9 X 5 NOW

Art

9 X 5 NOW’ is a unique art exhibition bringing together a diverse cross-section of artists at different points of their careers, all of whom who have either studied or taught at the National Gallery School or Victorian College of the Arts (VCA).

Inspired by the famous ‘9 by 5 Impression Exhibition’ held in Melbourne in 1889, ‘9 X 5 NOW’ is comprised entirely of 9 x 5 inch (23 x 13 cm) plywood boards, mailed to each contributing artist, and returned to curator Elizabeth Gower via padded-post envelope!

15th June, 2017

Exhibit
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‘The spirit of generosity and excitement in doing the project has been uplifting,’ says Elizabeth. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

works
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The works include photography, drawing, painting and mixed media. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Dr Elizabeth Gower
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The showcase is curated by long-serving VCA art lecturer Dr Elizabeth Gower. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

artists
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9 X 5 NOW’ participating artists (left to right) Nicholas Pearce, Darren Munce, Curator Dr Elizabeth Gower, Director of Margaret Lawrence Gallery David Sequeira, and Tim Edwards. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Dr Elizabeth Gower and David Sequeira
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Dr Elizabeth Gower, Curator 9 X 5 NOW and David Sequeira, Director, Margaret Lawrence Gallery. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

David Sequeira
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David Sequeira, the Director of Margaret Lawrence Gallery, puts some final touches on the exhibition. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Darren Munce
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Participating artist Darren Munce assisting with the install. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

exhibit
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The unique exhibition showcases 9 x 5 inch paintings by over 300 artists. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Sculptural
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Sculptural artworks on display. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Paul Dalgarno and Sue Thornton
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Paul Dalgarno, VCA’s Media and Communications Manager, and Sue Thornton, Project Coordinator at VCA,  preview the exhibit. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Lucy Feagins
Thursday 15th June 2017

Curated by long-serving VCA art lecturer Dr Elizabeth Gower, ‘9 X 5 NOW’ is a unique exhibition spanning multiple generations of Australian artists – from Helen Maudsley and Murray Walker, who studied at the National Gallery School in the 1940s, to emerging artists who completed studies at the VCA just one year ago.

The ‘9 X 5’ exhibition title and concept references the famous ‘9 by 5 Impression Exhibition’ held in Melbourne in 1889. All seven artists in that exhibition (Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin, Charles Conder, C Douglas Richardson, R.E. Falls and Herbert Daly) had studied at the National Gallery School, and it was one of the first ‘artist run’ exhibition initiatives in Melbourne. The show comprised a collection of paintings on 9 x 5 inch cedar cigar box lids.

For ‘9 X 5 NOW’, each contributing artist was supplied with a 9 x 5 inch (23 x 13 cm) plywood board, resulting in a show diverse in style and media, but consistent in its format. The works included have been received from across Australia and overseas, and include photography, drawing, painting and mixed media. Over 300 artists are involved (!!), including Emily Floyd, Emily Ferretti, Fred Fowler, Jon Campbell, Patricia Piccinini, Minna Gilligan, Kate Tucker, Esther Stewart, Tai Snaith and many more!

‘The criteria was to showcase a sampling of staff and alumni,’ explains curator, Elizabeth Gower. ‘It is not a precise catalogue of graduates and staff, but merely a sampling, and there are many artists who are not in the show. I could have included 3000 if there was space.’

This immense undertaking has not been without its challenges, Elizabeth recounts endless emails, conversations with almost 350 artists, and mountains of paper work. On the flipside, it’s been one of her most rewarding projects to date. ‘The artists have told me fantastic stories and memories of their time at VCA,’ she says. ‘The spirit of generosity and excitement in doing the project has been uplifting, they have said how they still think fondly of their time at VCA as a life changing and affirming experience.’

9 X 5 NOW exhibition artworks are available to purchase, starting at $500, with funds raised going towards the establishment of an ART150 scholarship.

9 X 5 NOW
Friday 16th to Sunday 25th (12 -5pm)
Curator talks: Saturday June 17th (2-3pm), and Wednesday June 21st (6.30-7:30pm)
Margaret Lawrence Gallery
40 Dodds Street
, Southbank, Melbourne

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net