WITH news that art gallery owner Nancy Sever is about to open a new space called the City Walk Gallery, you’d have to call her game.
After all, businesses everywhere have been contracting, not expanding during the COVID-19 crisis and after not one, not two, but three goes (the last one successful) at staging an exhibition by veteran expressionist painter Michael Taylor at her Gorman Arts Centre gallery, one might have expected her to draw her horns in.
Not a bit of it. With support from Canberra business owner and arts patron, Peter Barclay, she’s found a new space in Civic which will open on September 24.
“[Peter is] a great supporter of School of Art graduates and we’d been discussing how a gallery for collectors would work… I was thinking of a space for all the artists I exhibit and then everything came to a stop,” she says.
Then Barclay alerted her to a space on the first floor of an office block next door to King O’Malley‘s pub, of which he is managing director and after looking at it, Sever decided it was “a nice space”.
Although the new gallery is not visible from the street, you can access it from inside the pub if you want to, another interesting vibe, and there’s a simpatico landscape design service facing.
When we catch up, Nancy has been busy bringing across paintings by South Australian surrealist artist Andrew Baines. His striking exhibition had to close suddenly because of COVID-19, so pretty well nobody saw it. Now’s the chance to rectify that.
She also has four Michael Taylor paintings not showing in the exhibition now running at Gorman and a couple of paintings by in-demand Braidwood artist and ANU School of Art graduate, Kate Stevens.
In what she calls “a nice twist”, she’ll also bring in some of her Janet Dawson paintings. It was Dawson’s late husband Michael Boddy who, with Bob Ellis, co-wrote “The Legend of King O’Malley” about the politician after whom the pub was named.
Sever will also have changing exhibitions and things are getting exciting for October when Neil Hobbs’ free public art biennial ‘Contour 556’ takes place. The City Walk Gallery will exhibit sculptures by South Australian artist Greg Jones for that and there’ll be a bigger sculpture outside too.
Sever hopes that chief executive of the City Renewal Authority, Malcolm Snow will open the new space on September 24 and with that in mind she’s had photographer Andrew Sikorski snapping away to provide images.
So why is she doing it?
“Well I just feel I have to, we can’t just see businesses closing down,” she says.
“The artists haven’t stopped working but have had very little support and I think they need as many professional exhibitions as possible.”
Husband Adrian seems very philosophical about her new gallery venture and the Sorbonne-educated Nancy, well, she’s taking the Gallic view, saying “As long as I have the energy I want to keep doing it – it’s a very existentialist view”.
“Michael Taylor: Landscapes” is at the Nancy Sever Gallery, 1 Batman St, Braddon Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-5pm until October 4.
The City Walk Gallery will open on September 24 at Level 1, 131 City Walk, Civic.