CONTEMPORARY ART SPACE
Address: The Emporium, 185 Hunter St Mall, Newcastle
Hours: By appointment
Property Donor: GPT/Urban Growth Group
Launched: 14 November 2013
Closed : 26 February 2016
Who are you? Madeleine Cruise and Jacqueline Larcombe are both local emerging artists and together have founded NANA, a contemporary art space in Newcastle.
Madeleine Cruise is an interdisciplinary artist whose experimental approach to art making is underpinned by a rigorous studio practice. An Honours graduate from the National Art School Sydney her background is in painting with an interest for material equivalents in sculpture and installation. Madeleine’s work is characteristically bright and playful, suggestive of time and place both real and imaginary. Her bold use of colour and gesture within her paintings are indicative of a lust for life and personal history. Whilst her soft sculptures revel in a state of uncertainty and inspire thoughts of alternative realities and desires.
Jacqueline Larcombe is a visual artist working across a number of different mediums. She completed a Fine Arts (Honours) degree at Sydney College of the Arts in 2009. Her work is concerned with popular culture and its human appropriations either subjective, gender based or in terms of its social outcomes. She explores how popular culture is at times in line with sinister capitalist functions and at times removed and transformed into the romantic and spectacular.
What inspired you to get involved in Renew Newcastle? We have both had personal projects with Renew Newcastle and were motivated to take our professional careers to the next level. This involved launching a gallery where we could regularly exhibit our own work and invite other artists to participate in a creative dialogue. We felt that the community orientated RN program would complement our intention to provide Newcastle with greater access to contemporary art.
What are you doing in your new space? NANA is a not for profit contemporary art space founded by artists for artists. It provides cost effective exhibition opportunities to emerging artists in an inclusive and stimulating environment. NANA is interested in ideas that possess a sensibility and appreciation for Newcastle’s budding creative potential juxtaposed with the city’s economic and spatial limitations. Together with artists, performers, writers and designers from across Australia and beyond, NANA is invigorating the creative art scene in Newcastle and launching itself as a location for experimentation, collaboration and critical dialogue.
Tell us about the space – what was its previous use?
NANA is located in the unique interior of the historic Scotts Department Store, built in the 1890s. The building was taken over by David Jones in 1958 and continued trading up until early 2011. Reinvented as a centre for local artisans and designers, the building currently operates as The Emporium.
NANA includes three fabulous styles of exhibition space: A white walled gallery with generous floor space, three street front windows which offer high visibility and a former DJ’s beauty counter now display cabinet for object and design. NANA encourages a playful interaction with the buildings commercial history and alternative shopping experience of today. The grand spatial ambitions of the buildings 19th century architecture complements NANA’S ambitions to be a wonderful iconic space for contemporary art in Newcastle.
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