“How did it go in Sydney?”
“Different, but really well!”
“So why was it different?”
It is a mystery I can’t explain. Is it the difference between Adelaide and Sydney markets? Or patterns of life? Gallery locations?
The opening night was actually the 6th night of the exhibition. When we arrived there was a dazzling red spot on “A slice of ocean”. My co-exhibitor, Sfeffie Wallace had 10 red ones already! These were a fitting reward for her beautiful moody paintings (as well as her hard work and history with shows at breathing colours).
Sydney had suffered dreadful storms over the previous few weeks, storms that brought cold weather, wild winds, huge hailstones and flooding. The day I arrived in Sydney the weather was warm and sunny. A bit like this, created from one of my previous visits:
Mind the gap, 2009
The harbour was not its usual blue, but everything gleamed after being freshly washed. On the following afternoon the weather changed in a heartbeat. Black skies and stirring winds brought more hailstorms and heavy rain. Enough to keep the good burghers of Sydney at home.
So, when opening night was quiet it was not surprising. The gallery director, Robin was cheerful and unperturbed. My family and friends were there, bless ’em.
A few local couples dropped in for a chat and a browse. The atmosphere was low-key and friendly. It was ‘quiet’ on the sales front. The gallery director was unperturbed as she had had expressions of interest even while unpacking the artworks. In Adelaide I suspect that when people go away to consider a purchase, that’s it. They are ‘lost’. At least, that was my experience during my short career making and selling bow ties at markets. In retrospect, most of those losses were based on differences of opinion between male and female partners about the symbolism of a bow tie perhaps. Buying art is different. It feels exciting – such a bold statement and somehow daring! Perhaps that’s still like buying a bow tie?
Steffie Wallace’s large centre-piece work was sold on the opening night. Her atmospheric paintings from this exhibition are shown below but you can have a closer look at her work here.
Next week back in Adelaide was a sad one within my family circle, but that’s for another space. A cheering message came through soon after that. I had managed another 4 red spots on the last day of the show! In its earlier days Balmain was the birthplace of the Trade Union Movement and the Australian Labour Party. Once ‘blue-collar’ it now has a bit of bustle bohemian-style. The location of the gallery was in a strip of terrace housing, pubs, little restaurants and more housing. It felt like a comfortable village-y blend. The people happily strolling the area in the evening and casually browsing were testament to this, despite the cold winds.
And the sales? The whole process was Adelaide in reverse. And what a thrill. I have always had a soft spot for Sydney. But I wonder. Is this sales pattern is unusual?