Home sweet home: works
from the peter fay collection
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 11 October – 18 January 2004
Curators: Glenn Barkley and Dr Debra Heart
About the exhibition:
This exhibition of predominantly Australian and New Zealand contemporary art provided the opportunity for new ways of thinking about inventive displays and approaches to collecting art. The exhibition was, as the title suggests, about art that comes from a domestic context and examines the way the idea of ‘home’ and by extension, our hearts and minds, can be transformed by art.
The exhibition revealed the passions of a collector who has supported well known and emerging artists as well as numerous talented so-called ‘outsider’ artists (working outside the mainstream). Perhaps most of all Fay seeks to overcome distinctions between ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ and convey ways of entering into the passions of what it is to be human; our shared joys and struggles seen through the artists’ diverse points of view. Co-curated by Deborah Hart, Senior Curator of Australian Painting and Sculpture at the NGA, and Glenn Barkley, then Curator, University of Wollongong, the exhibition challenged conventions and opened up fresh ways of engaging with the vitality of the processes of art-making and collecting. It reminded us that you don’t need to be hugely wealthy to be a collector but rather than you can develop an interesting collection by taking risks and having an imaginative approach. Roger Cardinal’s words sum up aspects of the Peter Fay collection: ‘The art offers us the prospect of an alternative and potentially revolutionary way of seeing … It is work that may provoke a steady rapturous ache in the beholder’. (Roger Cardinal, Marginalia, perspectives on outsider art)
There were around 240 works in the show, in a wide range of media – painting, drawing, photography, video, domestic-scale sculpture and objects including dolls and shell bridges. The artists included, among many others: Laurence Aberhart, Slim Barrie, Leo Cussen, Mikala Dwyer, Rosalie Gascoigne, Shaun Gladwell, Robert MacPherson, John Northe, Neil Roberts, Lola Ryan, Gina Sinozich, Val Sutherland, Ricky Swallow, Ronnie van Hout and Ken Whisson.