Spring1883 was established in 2014 by Geoff Newton (Director, Neon Parc), Vikki McInnes and Kate Barber (Directors, Sarah Scout Presents) and Vasili Kaliman (art advisor), and launched at The Hotel Windsor, Melbourne in August 2014. This year, the exhibition is being held in partnership with Artsy – the leading online marketplace for discovering and collecting art – making its resonance greater still. At a time when we are all in dire need of the visual beauty and thought provoking expression art evokes, Spring1883 is embracing perhaps its most engaging event to date.
Megan Dicks, Director of online gallery Otomys, which has an eminent collection of artists exhibiting in Spring1883, has navigated the ebbs and flows of the art landscape since COVID-19 entered the status quo and before. “This seismic shift has certainly increased our appreciation of the spaces where we spend our time,” she acknowledges, “art is always relevant because it adds meaning and emotion, and now, more than ever, people are valuing this.”
Of the stable of Otomys artists visible at Spring1883, Anna Dudek’s work is perhaps the most aesthetically gentle. Playing with geometric form, Anna’s pieces enhance the spontaneous dance of natural light. It’s unpredictable, diffused movement across surfaces devoid of texture or colour are still and calming like a balm to the soul.
‘It Seemed To Me Then’ by Anna Dudek. Birch plywood & acrylic paint. Photo by Trevor Mein
‘For At Any Moment’ by Anna Dudek. Birch plywood & acrylic paint.
On another aesthetic path, Helen Redmond’s works are reminiscent of modernist architecture, exploring the idea of “spaces” and “interiors.” With a deft use of perspective and shadow she generates a depth that feels aerial rather than frontal. You can look at these works as if opening a box, descending a stairwell or being drawn into a labyrinth.
‘Architeken #2’ by Helen Redmond Oil on canvas 70cm x 100cm
‘Yumebutai (Viridis)’ by Helen Redmond. Oil on canvas 81cm x 102cm
However, in a time when so many of us are contained within the walls of our homes, perhaps the most resonant works are those of landscapes. “Sophia Szilagyi’s imagery evokes the natural world and imbues it with an emotional resonance through the artist’s skilful manipulation of diametrically opposed elements” – Marguerite Brown.
‘The Brush of Remembering’ by Sophie Szilagyi. 45cm x 44cm Archival pigmnet print.
‘Distinct and Warm (Breathing Out)’ by Sophie Szilagyi. 45cm x 44cm Archival pigment print.
Sophia’s prints are instilled with a sensorial expression that is simultaneously immersive and ever so slightly alien. This subtle tension brings closer inquiry, intrigue and layers a transportive quality that makes them hard to forget.
Otomys has maintained a strong digital presence throughout the many COVID-19 disruptions which Megan attributes to a strength in communication. “What we love about the work we do is our connection with people who respond positively to art. We have always enjoyed ongoing conversations with our artists around the world, with a highly creative design industry and with collectors of all ages. Our conversations are equally about art techniques, sensibility to colour and the rationale behind the art – as it is about the architectural elements, the amount of light and the mood in a space. Ten years ago we established a strong online presence to assist this connection, so we have continued to invest in this platform and also make time to chat on the phone or zoom … a lot! We closed our [physical] galleries last year and will reopen in an exciting new space in early 2022.”