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2018 PATTERNS OF COLLECTING | FROM THE BOWER at The Johnston Collection

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Monday 4 June 2018 – Tuesday 18 September 2018

An installation led by guest curator and artist Carole Wilson, as part of our ongoing ‘house of ideas’ series with artists Loris Button, Deborah Klein, Louise Saxton & Carole Wilson.

PATTERNS OF COLLECTING | FROM THE BOWER at The Johnston Collection is a touring exhibition presenting artwork and items from the unique personal collections of four contemporary Victorian artists, Loris Button, Deborah Klein, Louise Saxton and Carole Wilson. Their work – including new works created in response to the Collection - will be displayed throughout the rooms of Fairhall exhibition-house against the backdrop of William Johnston’s own extraordinary collection.

The artists are linked by their studio practice, their regional locations and connections and their love of gleaning. Their studio collections range from curiosities, natural history specimens, memorabilia, discarded books and china, fabric, carpet and lino, and old tools of trade.

In PATTERNS OF COLLECTING a selection of each artist’s studio collection is installed alongside and responding to items from The Johnston Collection. The exhibition draws together the individual artists along with William Johnston’s collection, into one large ‘bower’ and creates a space in which the private becomes public. It enables the viewer to reflect upon the process of collecting, gathering and making, in the practice of these five artists.

There is a degree of commonality in the collected objects in each of the artist’s studios, there tends to be some inherited objects from family members, usually a parent or grandparent and occasionally objects from their childhood, in particular dolls or toys.

Australiana and kitchenalia in all its broadest forms is represented in each collection as well, from Martin Boyd ceramics to old biscuit tins. Haberdashery paraphernalia in the form of buttons, cottons, dress patterns and sewing tins is another common element. Additionally, all the artists have treasured objects which have been collected whilst on international artists residencies, ranging from a well-worn Parisian snow dome to a set of 1920s Italian tour guide books.
Each of the artists connects with or interrogates their collection in myriad ways, at both a subtle level and more literally. For some of them, the material and objects collected from the very fabric of their art, whilst for others it is a source of their inspiration and imagery. The artists source their objects from opportunity shops, junk shops, garage sales and markets, both at home and while travelling.

Louis Le Vaillant, Director and Curator of The Johnston Collection says “PATTERNS OF COLLECTING tells stories about the artists and their own personal collections reflecting on who they are and what they make”.

“This very personal exhibition invites the audience to see the created environments gathered from the artists’ workspace with their collections revealing as much about the artist as their own work” he says.

An outstanding collector himself, William Johnston bequeathed his collection along with his residence Fairhall to the people of Victoria after his death. Now comprising more than 1,400 objects mostly from the English Georgian and Regency period The Johnston Collection is now regarded as one of the best collections of its kind in Australasia.

It was Johnston’s intention that, Fairhall, be regularly rearranged. Past rearrangements and guest curations includes those by fashion designer, Akira Isogawa, architect, Pascale Gomes-McNabb, fashion-house, Romance Was Born, artist Rosslynd Piggott, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister AO, milliner and artist Richard Nylon and design studio Hecker Guthrie.

As part of the annual ‘house of ideas’ series of interventions of the permanent Collection, PATTERNS OF COLLECTING allows visitors to continuously see the Collection in a fresh way while exploring one of the themes underpinning The Johnston Collection, that ‘Old is New’.

Louise Saxton is represented by Gould Creative, Melbourne

For further information, images or interviews, please contact:
Felicity Cook or Fil Natarelli | T: 03 9416 2515
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