The 2009 University of Sydney Union Art Collection Interns, Shannon Connellan and Hannah Kothe, are unearthing previously unseen works and transporting the store room to the gallery space in their forthcoming exhibition Unwrapped: Works from the USU art store.
The exhibition will be held at the Union’s newly opened Verge Gallery and will run from 0ctober 6 to 30, opening on October 8th at 6-8pm. With over sixty per cent of its artworks in storage, the University of Sydney Union’s (USU’s) art collection, a ‘Cinderella’ of the art world, remains largely unseen by the vast majority of University students and the wider public.
Unwrapped: Works from the USU art store will reveal treasures from an expansive collection that features works by celebrated Australian and international artists such as Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale, Tony Tuckson, Elioth Grüner and Maurice de Vlaminck as well as artists whose names are less recognised but whose work is nonetheless intriguing.
The selection of works for this exhibition will echo the eclectic nature of the collection, and the display will replicate the cluttered but democratic nature of the art store: an elaborately framed oil-on-board landscape by a renowned Dutch master will hang beside a quirky and simply drawn topical cartoon on butchers paper; nearby will be a cheeky, kitsch and illustrative painting of an arctic fox.
The USU’s Art Collection is the largest of any student organisation in the country and includes a diverse array of paintings, sculpture, photography, mixed media, works on paper and even murals. The collection has grown over the last century through generous donations and prudent acquisitions and now totals nearly 700 works.
Shannon Connellan and Hannah Kothe are two Sydney University undergraduate Art History students who have been given the opportunity, as part of their internship, to co-curate an exhibition at the exciting new Verge Gallery, which was opened in July this year. The annual Art Collection Internships present a unique opportunity for the professional development of two outstanding students, giving them a ‘foot in the door’ into the highly competitive world of professional art curatorship. Both 2009 Interns plan to further pursue their art historical and curatorial studies, with postgraduate work on the horizon.
“Not many 21 year old undergraduate students are presented with the opportunity to curate an exhibition in a professional gallery, so we are hugely grateful to USU for allowing us to do this,” Connellan says.
“We’ve spent the year delving into this amazing collection,” Kothe adds. “You’ve got Nolans and Drysdales side by side with works by former university students and lesser known artists, and we wanted to express this diversity.”