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Case study: Mish Meijers and Tricky Walsh - Arts Tasmania Artsbridge Grant

Monday, 10 August 2015

Tasmanian mid-career artists Tricky Walsh and Mish Meijers applied to the Artsbridge June 2014 round to take newly developed work The Collector 12: Paroxysm for exhibition at the Gertrude Contemporary Gallery in Melbourne.

Here are some insights from Mish and Tricky's experience.

What did this opportunity allow you to do?

Artists, Mish Meijers and Tricky Walsh, working in studioDuring August/September 2014 we had the opportunity to reside in the international studio at Gertrude Contemporary Gallery to make a new work to be exhibited in Gertrude's Main gallery.

The time allowed us to develop new work on site and in response to the gallery space. Having 24 hour access to the studio provided us an intensive immersion into the space and place for a month before the exhibition was invaluable.

Another benefit to us was being a part of the community of artists, having time to connect, network and engage a broader audience outside of Tasmania. Being able to create and present a large scale site-specific work in one of Australia's leading contemporary galleries and to a new national audience  was an extremely valuable experience for both of us as mid-career artists. It further allowed us to take an ongoing successful project to another level of presentation and exposure.

Why was this opportunity important to you as Tasmanian artists?

The project was an expansion of our ongoing collaborative project The Collector. The project was in its ninth year at the time and had enjoyed highlight exhibitions at Detached Cultural Organisation in Tasmania, MUMA gallery in Melbourne, and MOP galley in Sydney.

The Collector 12: Paroxysm was a point of departure by reinvestigating the established narrative with a new perspective in examining gender disparities. The ability to live a life of solitude, the ownership of one's own person, the differences and similarities of secrecy. The  intended works were to be abstract, modernist in their aesthetic, and draw heavily from turn of the century French theory, early medical research and symbolic visual language.

The project allowed us to live in situ as resident artists and undertake a large scale architectural reworking of the Gertrude Contemporary main gallery, configuring its dimensions into a series of interconnected passageways and spaces. It was an opportunity to challenge and push our practice  to new processes with the audience playing a fundamental role in the overall artwork.

What would you say were the key challenges to your project's success?

It is always a challenge trying to present large scale works – especially for artists from another state. We were critically aware that this was an important opportunity for us at this time in our career as installation artists. We focused on taking with us elements we had already created  and built and developing disposable work in situ. The Artsbridge grant allowed us a budget for freight and other with funds from the Australia Council put towards new materials on site.

Was there anything unique about your experience?

This project provided a great opportunity to spend a great deal of time building on site and being housed in the gallery – this was an incredible luxury.

* Mish Meijers and Tricky Walsh received an Artsbridge grant which supports individual artists, partnerships, collaborations and unincorporated groups working in any artform to undertake opportunities that emerge out of round. These opportunities may be interstate or overseas and should  be strategically important in terms of your professional and artistic development.

Image: Mish Meijers and Tricky Walsh, working in the studio. Image supplied by artists.