Amelia Winata at Spring1883
Sarah Scout Presents
On Wednesday morning, I begrudgingly took two trams (one of which, the 57, is dubbed Melbourne’s most dangerous) to Bridge Road, Richmond, where I began my slapdash tour of the Spring1883 “satellite” exhibitions. My first destination was LON, the quiet success story of Melbourne’s commercial-gallery community. Run by fresh-faced, professional-BMX-rider-slash-artist-turned-gallerist Adam Stone, LON has recently relocated from Collingwood (LON’s old Easey Street site is now occupied by FUTURES) to this slickly renovated space. An adorable set-up of Pellegrino and champagne greeted VIP guests upon arrival. Stone’s mother Meredith acted as host, offering up cute banter while Adam quickly ate down a snack. Despite it being only midday, ArtOpenings@Melbourne founder and consummate art enthusiast Charles Lai gleefully popped a bottle—this was Spring’s Wall Street Stock Exchange bell.
Amongst an even cross-section of LON stable artists—Simon Zoric, Dord Burrough, Grace Wood—weaver Tia Ansell’s dominance in the hang demonstrated LON’s strategic desire to push her as the star attraction of this year’s fair (not an uncommon tactic amongst gallerists). In addition to Ansell’s usual 33 cm works—priced at $1,800—were now larger versions of her tapestries, selling at $4,700 a pop. They were all beautiful. Despite the rumour that participants lost half of their $7,000 fee, while ending up staging their “booths” in their own galleries (the ultimate work from home insult), Stone nonetheless played the part of the cool and collected gallerist in his upgraded space. As I left, Charles Lai continued to sip on his champagne, charming anybody who would listen. I asked myself: so long as Charles Lai is having fun, does that mean the Melbourne art scene will be ok?