The Artist and the Patron - Art Collector

Uji (Hahan) Handoko Eko Saputro, The New Prophet (from the series: ‘TRINITY’) 2013. Polyester Resin & Air Brush 90 x 112 x 127. Image courtesy of Dr. Dick Quan Collection.

On Sunday, 6 May, Penrith Regional Gallery hosted a panel discussion to explore the dynamic and enduring relationship between artists and collectors. Chaired by Edmund Capon, art scholar and former director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the panel detailed the history of art patronage before considering questions of individual motivation and philanthropic responsibility in the contemporary art world. Featuring collectors Lisa Paulsen, Dick Quan, and artist Julian Meagher, the event ran from 2-4pm.

The panel complemented 5 x 5 - the Artist and the Patron, an ongoing exhibition at Penrith Regional Gallery. This group show opened in March and seeks to recognise the significance of modern-day patronage by delving deep into the private, often inaccessible world of art making, aesthetic impulse and idiosyncratic bonds. Curated by Michael Do and supported by a grant from the Copyright Agency and Museums & Galleries NSW, five Sydney-based collectors were invited to select newly commissioned works by an individual artist from their personal collections for public exhibition. Chosen artists include Uji (Hahan) Handoko Eko Saputro, Julian Meagher, Nigel Milsom, Tracey Emin and Patrick Hartigan.

Dr. Dick Quan, one of the five collectors participating in 5 x 5 and a panellist for the discussion in May, provides a rare insight into collecting in the international art world circuit. His interest in contemporary art blossomed through involvement with a group of Australian–Chinese diasporic contemporary artists, and he has since carved out a reputation as a man with an agenda: to shape the tastes of the Australian public by promoting artists, their collaborators and conspirators from across the world. His chosen artist is Uji (Hahan) Handoko Eko Saputro, who creates vivid artworks that marry the intensity of popular culture with the highly stylized Kabuki-mask faces of traditional Japanese mythology. Their partnership is a classic example of the collector’s thirst for the chase.

5 x 5 - the Artist and the Patron reveals how the desire to acquire, possess and collect cuts across socio-economic status, cultural upbringing or age. However, as art consultant and collector Amanda Love reminds us: “owning art is only a small part of the relationship […] the best thing about art is most of the relationship you can have with it is free, just by looking”. The exhibition is open to the public until Sunday, 20 May, 2018.

Alisha Brown

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