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New acquisitions of art embody Tasmania

Pat Hall 'All Our Numbered Days' (2017)

Works of art by local artists and University alumni Dr Ruth Frost, Dr Lucia Usmiani and Patrick Hall are among 80 new acquisitions to the University of Tasmania Fine Art Collection on display at the Plimsoll Gallery.

The exhibition, Here and Elsewhere, presents artworks acquired by the University over the last three years.

“This exhibition provides an opportunity to view the newest works of art from the University’s Collection. Many of the artists have made major contributions to Tasmanian art education and research, or have a deep connection and resonance with Tasmania,” curator Dr Maria Kunda said.

Dr Frost studied at the previous Tasmanian School of Art before completing a Master of Fine Arts in 1987 and PhD in photography in 2003. She subsequently lectured in photography at the School of Creative Arts and Media until 2017.

“Frost’s photographic depiction of the interior of Launceston’s Princess Theatre is sumptuous. This work highlights her exploration of the dimensions of built spaces and hidden memories of place,” Dr Kunda said.

Artist Dr Usmiani said the patterns in her work Moondance were created from discarded beverage cans and biscuit tins.

“I have always found patterns appealing and my PhD [at the University of Tasmania] was about exploring that. I’ve discovered I can create beautiful patterns from masses of ordinary objects that are no longer interesting to most people. It’s really exciting to know that Moondance is included in the University Collection,” she said.

Dr Kunda said the University was very fortunate to acquire Patrick Hall’s idiosyncratic cabinet All Our Numbered Days (pictured above), which embodies local storytelling.  

“Because of the intricate detail and technical design, Hall’s piece took 18 months to create and, in this time, Mona had already placed a hold on it. Fortunately for the University, they purchased three other works by Hall instead.”

Currently home to over 3000 diverse art pieces, the University Fine Art Collection is one of four key public collections of contemporary art in lutruwita/Tasmania. It was established in the late 1960s at the request of students and staff.

Most of the artworks in Here and Elsewhere were purchased through a bequest from 1919 Bachelor of Arts graduate Marion E. Wharmby, which she donated in 1996.

“The University Fine Art Collection is a vital cultural asset used for object-based teaching, learning and research, not just for the creative arts and history but also increasingly across other disciplines such as health and business, social work and engineering,” University Associate Director, Collections Caine Chennatt said.

“The Collection has enormous potential as a curatorial resource for telling stories. Collections, and the ways in which they are arranged and re-arranged, can be instrumental for representing different histories and futures for communities.”

The exhibition will be officially opened by this evening at 5pm by University of Tasmania Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black at the Plimsoll Gallery, 37 Hunter Street, Hobart.

Here and Elsewhere is open Wednesdays to Sundays 12–5pm until Thursday 19 September 2019.

Images: Top - Patrick Hall 'All Our Numbered Days' (2017), Bottom left - Lucia Usmiani 'Moondance' (2018), Bottom right - Ruth Frost 'Princess Theatre, Stage to Stalls with Dome' (2015)

Published on: 04 Sep 2019 9:30am