Umbrella Studio contemporary arts has evolved immensely since its incorporation in 1989, growing from a group of six core artists to a gallery visited by hundreds of people every week and with a membership base exceeding 250 local and international people. In it’s 32nd year, one thing is clear:
THIS IS NOT THE END.
This statement forms the theme of Umbrella’s 2018 members’ exhibition, in which all current gallery members are invited to enter a piece of their own work inspired by the stimulus. Gallery Coordinator Angela Little said the show was a favourite every year.
“Umbrella’s members’ exhibition has always been the final show of the year and almost acts as a Christmas show, which was how it started out,” Angela said.
“This year, we were lucky enough to be successful in attracting a touring Tracey Moffatt exhibition from New South Wales, which is a coveted exhibition we really wanted to have – and which we have had to move the members’ exhibition forward to accommodate – so the theme reflects that, it’s no longer the last show of the year, it’s not the end.
“Entries have already been quite diverse – each artist always has their own individual take on the theme and this year is no different. I’ve had one lady call me asking if she could enter a time bomb in the show! Entries and artwork submissions both always remain open until the same day because we know how our members operate. That also means though that we have no idea how many pieces will be in the exhibition until that final due date, because that’s when the mad rush of last minute entries arrives!”
Townsville’s Lindy Collins has been an Umbrella member since 1994.
“I won an art prize when I was eight years old, decided I was an artist, and have never changed my mind since,” said Lindy.
“I love popping into Umbrella and seeing good art. I remember doing so one year, back when the gallery was on Victoria Bridge, and saw some rather lovely collages in a cabinet. Then recognised them as my own! I’d forgotten them from a previous year’s exhibition and had to show my ID to retrieve them.”
Lindy has had a piece exhibited in the members’ exhibition every year since arriving in Townsville.
“I love the themes posed by the members’ exhibition and the challenge to address them, almost like a haiku.
“For this year’s theme, I thought about Winston Churchill’s quote and climate change; how quickly it’s coming upon us, and how people seem to have forgotten how to interact with the environment and engage with the very thing that sustains all life.”
Angela said the members’ exhibition was a chance to watch artists like Lindy evolve year after year.
“Lindy’s been a long-term artist, practicing both here and in Brisbane, so her work is always quite centred conceptually,” said Angela.
“She changes through things – as a painter, a ceramicist, a sculptor … She’s created all sorts of things over the years and I don’t know if she’s ever missed a members’ show since moving here. You do see artists evolve from year to year and the members’ show is often where that evolution shows up with how people approach different themes.”
While many join Umbrella to enter the exhibition, Angela said perks extend much further.
“People join as members for many reasons: one of course is the members’ exhibition, but also to exhibit here in general even if it is in another solo or group show. Another reason is to be part of a like-minded artistic community, where you will be able to stay involved in projects and be up-to-date on local and national conversations.
“We offer a lot of workshops and programs throughout the year too, which are all discounted to members, so if you enjoy those sorts of activities, the discount adds up to quite a significant amount very quickly! Lastly though, we’re also here for arts advocacy: we’re here as a collective for Townsville artists to seek professional advice.”
Whether it’s to showcase their work, attend workshops or keep up with local arts dialogue, Umbrella’s growing membership base proves that this is not even the beginning of the end.
Catch the launch of This Is Not The End at Umbrella Studio contemporary arts this Friday night, with more information available at umbrella.org.au