IN GALLERY with James Dorahy Project Space

1) How did you come up with the gallery name?
Was it your first choice?

James Dorahy Project Space was my first choice. It identified the gallery with my name and the notion of the project space in a commercial context.  6 years ago the Level 2 Project Space at the Art Gallery of NSW was well known, and now there are project spaces and project rooms included in all major art fairs. By definition a project space is an art forum that is an alternative to a conventional gallery, mine is defined by both the physicality of the gallery, as well as the work exhibited.

2) What kind of artists do you want showing in your Space?

Artists who are presenting innovative forms of contemporary art that is demonstrative of current contemporary practice.

3) What is the best way to approach James Dorahy Project Space to show work?

Expression of interests with support materials that are received are regularly reviewed. I favour artists who understand what the gallery is presenting and see their work in the context of the gallery. I select three project shows each year that are in line with the aims of the exhibition program. The project shows have allowed the gallery to foster new talent and to select artists to join the gallery. As an extension of this successful approach and to celebrate the past 6 years of projects, the gallery has introduced The Project Wall, located in the stock room, which currently has the second presentation for 2012 Thomas C. Chung ” Do You Know Where I Am ?”

4) What is the philosophy of the space/gallery?

The aim of the exhibition program is to nurture the careers of the artists whilst developing and fostering relationships with curators, collectors, and other artists. Critical acclaim is a further goal and is achieved by the placement of works in important public and private collections as well as inclusion in curated exhibitions in both national and regional galleries.

5) If you can, what advise can you give to an artist looking for representation, and what would it be?

Research a gallery. Understand what work is being presented and then pitch your work along the lines of the established exhibition criteria at the gallery you are interested in. Never cold call  or drop in on a director unannounced.

6) It is a hard market out there, how are you finding it?

I have spent the last six years building my business and there is a confidence in my reputation and therefore the market place. Last year I was nominated for a Sydney Business Award which reflects the work I have done to date. I am happy to report that my business has grown each year, as have the artist who I represent. I am also a niche market business presenting quality work at entry level prices from $ 1,000 – $ 5,000. If you are presenting quality work, nurture your artists, and have strong client services, I think you can adapt to the new economic climate.

7) What do you find hard when working with artists?

Some artists are difficult and do not understand the partnership between an artist and Director. There is always a fluidity to representation, I have had some artists leave, and I have let some go.
You find those who you enjoy working with, and then you have the mutually beneficial arrangement of commercial representation.

8) There are so many empty spaces out there that could be used for the arts, what are your thoughts?

These spaces should be activated and licensed for use for artists as studios or for presentation of projects. Chambers of Commerce and Local Government are embracing this. More work need to be done to get Landlords to understand the benefits.

9) There are plenty of ARI (Artist run initiatives) out there, What are you thoughts on these spaces vs Commercial galleries?

I think ARI”s are a very important and integral part of the system. FIRST DRAFT, Pelotin, ALASKA PROJECTS, and SNO are good examples of Committee runs ARI’s that afford artists platforms to present work and experiment with their practice. There have also been many successful ARI’s over the years. What I think is important to remember is that ARI’s, especially if funded through government grant money, should remain accountable and transparent, and not become fiefdoms for individual agendas. I also don’t think ARI’s should try and be both ARI and commercial gallery, as inevitably they are not successful at either. The lines become blurred as to what they really are. You don’t see commercial galleries trying to be ARI’s, and the same applies to ARI’s trying to be commercial galleries  yet reliant on government funding rather than commercial criteria.

10) Melbourne vs Sydney how do you see the arts and the major differences?

Both have excellent galleries, artists, and institutions in my opinion.

11) Social media is everywhere, do you use it and does it help?

I use social media to promote the gallery and artists and think it is an excellent platform for positive public relations, and the dissemination of information to a wide public platform.

12) What art do you have on your wall at home and your office?

I have works by the gallery artists that I have purchased for my private collection. I also buy works from other galleries, which is the same advice I give my clients. I have works by Jonathan Jones purchased for Gallery Barry Keldoulis, I have a Lionel Bawden work that came from a show at The Paper Mill (ARI) purchased through Grantpirrie, and I have a Sally Gabori purchased from Tim Melville Gallery in NZ. I also have a Ken Whisson that was purchased from the Estate of Ann Lewis A.O.

13) What shows are coming up over the next couple of months?

Two exciting shows coming up are SIX YEARS OF PROJECTS (Part 1) and (Part 2).  Over the last six years project shows have allowed the gallery to foster new talent and to select artists to join the gallery. Part 1 (Wed 20 June 2012 – 8 July 2012) will be artists who have joined the gallery, and Part 2 (Wed 15 August 2012 – 9 Sept 2012) will be artists who have had project shows who have gone on to successful representation at other galleries, like Chris Firmstone, who is represented by Yuill Crowley. The gallery is also presenting at the Melbourne Art Fair in August, which is a highlight of the program this year.

14) Where can we find you?

Suite 4, Level One, 111 Macleay Street Potts Point, NSW 2011. The gallery is located on the first floor of the Minerva Building – the landmark art deco building on the corner of Macleay and Orwell Streets, Potts Point. The entrance is the first green door in Orwell Street next to Booty, and come up to the first floor.
All details of hours etc are on the website.

All blog posts and images are copyrighted and all rights belong to – Sydney Art Galleries and Art Community and Mark Rowden

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