Gallery news: Breenspace, Mossenson at Collingwood and Nellie Castan closing - Art Collector

Kate Murphy, Lift, 2013 (still). Single channel HD video with mono sound, 14 min 37 sec. Courtesy: the artist and Breenspace, Sydney

11 December 2013 | Three big names in the Australian art scene - Breenspace, Mossenson Galleries and Nellie Castan Gallery - have announced the closure of their galleries at the end of 2013.

Breenspace in Sydney will close its doors on 21 December. Mossenson Galleries will close its Collingwood premises but the Subiaco premises in Perth will continue to operate. Nellie Castan Galleries will close its South Yarra, Melbourne gallery and will maintain active involvement in the art world through Nellie Castan Projects.

Breenspace director Sally Breen released a press release detailing the reasons for the gallery's closure. It is quoted in full below.

After seven years of operations in Sydney the Breenspace gallery will close on 21 December, 2013.

It has been a tremendous seven years. Breenspace has held some extraordinary, thoughtful and often highly provocative exhibitions.

Breenspace has, and through its Director, Sally Breen will continue to be, a passionate advocate of young or fledgling artists and an equally impassioned proponent of more established artists.

Breenspace encouraged artists to be adventurous and take risks with their work so it was more fulfilling and challenging personally and would create new or renewed opportunities for engagement and dialogue with collectors and institutions. Breenspace succeeded admirably on both counts.

The decision to close is a difficult one for any gallery, particularly for its staff, and more especially for its artists and patrons. Such risk taking and innovation is not always well supported. It is particularly difficult to undertake in Australia. There are few government incentives for commercial galleries, which are among the smallest businesses in Australia, often only two or three person operations. This has a direct and deleterious effect upon artists who rely upon galleries to bring their work to the attention of collectors. The lack of depth and breadth of collecting practice and limited philanthropy compounds this difficulty, as does the expectation among a number of public and private collectors that art can be obtained at discounted prices and paid for over several months, or even years, putting tremendous commercial pressure on galleries and ultimately compromising artistic endeavour.

Despite this difficult environment Breenspace nevertheless was an artistic and cultural success that will live long in the memories of artists and collectors because it shifted perceptions of the role of commercial galleries and their interaction with artists, curators and collectors.

Breenspace wishes to thank its staff, Anthony Whelan and Clare Lewis, its artists and its collectors.

Breenspace's final exhibition is Lift, a single channel video installation by Kate Murphy.

Brian Robinson, …and meanwhile back on earth the blooms continue to flourish, 2013, wood, plastic, steel, synthetic polymer paint, feathers, plant fibre and shell. Courtesy: the artist and Mossenson Galleries, Melbourne

The director of Mossenson Galleries in Collingwood, Naomi Mossenson, announced that she will be returning to Western Australia to join her Perth based partner. The decision to close the gallery was made as a result of her move.

She will continue her role at the Mossenson Subiaco gallery alongside Diane Mossenson. Speaking exclusively to
Art Collector, she stated that "Mossenson Galleries will maintain its commitment to our complete body of represented artists and communities and will present a dynamic exhibition program that aims to achieve everything the two spaces did but operating from the one location."

Mossenson Galleries at Subiaco will also house a new non-profit artist run collective called Art Collective WA. The collective will facilitate an ongoing series of exhibitions, residencies, publications and education programs that will run alongside the Mossenson exhibition program. An exhibition already scheduled for 2014 will showcase the work of hard edged colour abstractionist Col Jordon alongside Art Collective WA artist Trevor Vickers. Other exhibitions in the new year will feature a body of work on canvas and bark cloth by north Queensland artist Napolean Oui and a group exhibition of Mary Punchi Clement with other artists from Kalumburu in the Kimberley.

The final exhibition at Mossenson Galleries Collingwood is a farewell and relocation sale which runs until 19 December 2013.

Annika Koops, Dirt Genius, 2013. Type C photograph face mounted to acrylic, 61 x 85cm. Courtesy: the artist and Nellie Castan Gallery, Melbourne

Nellie Castan Gallery in Melbourne will close at the end of the year after 15 years of exhibitions. Fortunately, gallery director Nellie Castan has zero intention of retiring from the art world. Instead she will launch Nellie Castan Projects.

Nellie Castan Projects will focus on a variety of independent art projects, one-off projects and special art based events in collaboration with artists, curators, writers and performers. It will aim to give Australian artists a platform to showcase their work nationally and internationally.

In the official press release, Castan stated that she "would like to thank the artists, curators, collectors and museum directors who have supported Nellie Castan Gallery throughout the last fifteen years and looks forward to the new venture."

While Castan is yet to reveal any concrete details of her 2014 projects, she indicated the possibility of a collaboratively curated show at an art fair.

The final exhibitions at Nellie Castan Gallery are
Scarecrows by Annika Koops in gallery I and Fleshold by Camille Hannah in gallery II, open until 13 December 2013.

Alexandra Djurichkovic

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