Words Edon Costello
Images Yasmin Donnelly
Project: ART HOUSE was an incredible student exhibition, featuring artwork from various college aged students over three nights in the secret tunnels of a historic gun magazine under Battery Point’s Princess Park. What really took the exhibition to the next level was that all artworks were inspired by and created in response to the space. The exhibition even included music the was produced by two local young musicians, Carl Renshaw and James Nutting which only worked to further elaborate on and capture the magazines eerie ambiance.
Sophie Ambler, the curator and coordinator or Project: ART HOUSE opened the gates to the convict-built gun-magazine underneath the park, allowing artists to be inspired by the creepy space. Sophie had been inspired ever since she was young to coordinate a site-specific exhibition and that dream was realised with the help of Dee Taylor-Graham, resulting in the success of this exhibition with over 150 people crowding the tunnels on opening night. Sophie also had one of her own art works featured in the exhibition, in the form of a video art piece that projected stairs onto a wall in the magazine where there was once a passage to the park aboveground, referencing the passing of both time and history.
The artists chosen for the exhibition were all current Southern College students, with the exception of young Tasmanian ceramicist, Calia Ratcliffe. Each artists work reflected different aspects of the environment provided, ranging from the history of the tunnels to the local flora. Elizabeth College’s, Lilly Rudd who specialises in taxidermy, squeezed her ethically-sourced sculptures into the nooks and crannies yielded by the sandstone brickwork of the magazine. Lilly’s work was inspired by the obsessive way that flora and fauna were categorised in the Victorian Era. Alexandra Paine, a year 11 Elizabeth College student, worked with collage and film photography that depicted Tasmanian landscapes and architecture that reflected the space within and surrounding the magazine. Rosny College’s Amy Castledine created etchings of native plants which were inspired by colonial botanical illustrations, and left prints of them raw, contrary to traditional printing methods. Dylan Collidge, Elizabeth College student, created scenes of colonial architecture placed in rugged Tasmanian bush, using very textural brush strokes to create moody paintings. Miriam Boulton of Rosny college dabbled with mixed mediums to create pieces that discussed the collision of Aboriginal and colonial cultures. Rosy College’s Stuart Jenkinson also used mixed mediums, exhibiting still life photography with props sentimental to the images. Stuart’s work centered on the period directly after the magazine was abandoned, when children would play in the halls by day, and men would drink by night. Calia Ratcliffe, ex-Launceston College student, used ceramics to express nature reclaiming the Earth, displaying a piece that depicted fungus growing over a person’s back.
Project: ART HOUSE was an entirely youth run exhibition that reached unsurpassable success. The art pieces displayed were perfectly representative of the space provided and the ambiance was unsettling without fault. I look forward to Sophie’s future ventures.