Eclectic miscellany art opens in Lismore’s ‘royal’ pub

Published 24 May 2012

Lismore’s landmark Gollan Hotel – where Queen Elizabeth II stayed as part of her 1954 Coronation tour of Australia – will make history of a creative kind when it is transformed into an exhibition space for visual artists from Southern Cross University.

Nine 3rd year Digital Art and Design students will be showcasing their work in a week-long ‘pop up’ exhibition entitled, MISC, which officially opens on the first floor of the Gollan Hotel this afternoon (Thursday, May 24) at 4.30pm.

MISC will be launched by Professor Mike Evans, the Head of the University’s School of Arts and Social Sciences, with special guest Lismore City Mayor Cr Jenny Dowell. The project continues the partnership forged last year between SCU and Lismore City Council’s Art in the Heart project.

“The 3rd year Digital Art and Design students are an eclectic bunch with an amazing range of art practices and interests,” said University lecturer Leonie Lane, who is coordinating the event.

“The exhibition’s title, MISC, is shorthand for a ‘miscellany’ or extremely mixed bag, which we decided was the only possible way to describe the wide range of works.”

The exhibition features:

• An artist’s book on the history of tattooing by Vietnamese-born tattoo artist ‘Paul’ (Thuyen Than);

• A toxic jellyfish artist’s book in a tank by Ben Avery who has a fascination with all things poisonous;

• A series of prints and t-shirts reflecting Coffs Harbour as tourist haven and imagined urbanscape by Martin Guthrie;

• Elegant sun parasols by Katie Gold;

• A range of striking fabric designs and upholstered furniture emulating a domestic space by Prudence Lawrence;

• An exploration of brass bears and other objects handed down from one generation to the next by Wendy Powitt; and

• US exchange student Nicole Robertson who is working with patterns and decorative traditions, combining her interests in propaganda, street art and positivity.

Nicole Robertson was studying at New York’s prestigious Pratt Institute before transferring to Southern Cross University to finish her Visual Arts degree.

“I like the style of street art and Soviet propaganda but I find they’re often aggressive and manipulative and I wanted to use that style to make something positive,” said the 22-year-old printmaking major.

“So I have a poster that says ‘You look nice today’ and a mirror that compliments you and says you look great.”

Nicole has also produced a bucket of tattoos for the exhibition.

“I have printed temporary tattoos with little intricate designs to adorn peoples’ bodies. The tattoos have positive, self-love expressions like ‘This is my favourite body part’”.

Ms Lane said the Art in the Heart program gave students the opportunity to engage with the local community through a temporary exhibition practice.

“It encourages students to extend their imaginations and installation skills, working with a range of differing sites and contexts.”

She said the exhibition was a ‘capstone’ study unit.

“The students have to come up with their own detailed proposal for the development of an extended digital art or design project that showcases an accumulation of skills and practices from earlier developmental units. The project’s creation and installation in an exhibition space forms a pivotal element in their final assessment,” Ms Lane said.

Stephen Nelson, coordinator of Lismore City Council’s Art in the Heart project, said he was impressed by the calibre of the students’ work.

“An early pioneer of the Art in the Heart project was SCU student printmaker and community arts advocate, Emma Burrows. Her lengthy residency, workshops and film nights in a vacant Magellan Street shopfront involved many artists from the University and it’s nice to be able to return the favour by offering temporary exhibition space to this impressive group.”
Event: MISC exhibition is at the Gollan Hotel, 73 Keen Street, Lismore, from May 24 to 31 and will be officially opened on Thursday, May 24 at 4.30pm. The exhibition is open each day from 10am to 4pm (except Sundays). Photo: Nicole Robertson prepares to screenprint a mirror.

Media contact: Sharlene King media officer, Southern Cross University Lismore, 02 6620 3508 or 0429 661 349.