Hidden in amongst the brick veneers, the factories and the carefully-pruned fig and lemon-trees of Brunswick, artist Barbara Kitallides launched her new exhibition Decoding The Jungle on Thursday evening. A clean box of a temporary gallery located on Albert Street has been morphed into a pop-up gallery dedicated to the artist’s new works in a collaboration between Kitallides and zeitgeist of all things arts-commerce-digitial Lucy Feagins of The Design Files. Iolanthe from Ruby Assembly popped along to see what this new gallery model could offer to both the public and artists seeking flexibility in representation and access to new markets. (Inset, with artist Barbara Kitallides.)

Termed as TDF Collect – art events curated by Australia’s most popular design blog – Feagins places The Design Files as an intermediary gallerist, providing the ability for her readership to visit and purchase (online, or in-space) the works of an emerging artist (in this case, Kitallides). A further three TDF Collects are to be expected in 2014, showcasing original Australian artwork which is collectible and affordable.
I am really fascinated by this entirely logical step for Feagins – presenting works to a receptive audience in both a real-world and online space she has worked so hard to develop. This pop-up gallery space is supported in the longer term by an online portal which echoes into the future, benefiting the featured artist through association and introduction to a receptive audience (as with any reputable art dealer). As the old ‘art dealer/gallerist’ model is increasingly difficult for emerging artists to work within, a ‘pop-up’ relationship between artist and dealer offers the ability for both parties to come together, work together and assess whether a business relationship should continue. Relationships between dealer and artist can easily become fraught: perhaps a gallerist does not appreciate the artist’s change in creative direction, perhaps they have a newer, fresher offering to present to their marketplace, perhaps they don’t understand the artist’s vision or haven’t access to the right audience for their body of work. The TDF Collect concept offers both parties the flexibility to come together, and the independence to collaborate with others.
Kitallides’ work itself is a riot of color – dark, moody and optimistic at the once. A little bit Rorschach, a whole lotta stream-of-consciousness, her richly layered paintings are as a topographical map. For more details on Decoding The Jungle, read on.
At the launch event of Decoding The Jungle: Cool drinks above, quenching the thirst of hipsters (myself included), below. Plus, a Taco Truck (of course).
The bright yellow, muted green and dark petrol-blacks of Kitallides’ artworks was reflected back to me in the light and shade of the brilliant soft autumn evening in Brunswick I stepped out into.