Back in August while staying in Sydney I visited Branch 3D.
This is a window space run by the artist Sarah Nolan. It is in the front room of her inner-city house – located in Forest Lodge, just down the road from Sydney University. The deep green house sits right on the street, and the front window takes up most of the front wall. It can’t be missed by any passer-by, either walking or driving. On first seeing the Window I was immediately intrigued by its ambiguous situation. I imagine people on buses sitting in traffic day-dreaming as they sit idly looking at this surprising Window. And wonder.
The day I visited Branch the artist in the window was Alex Wisser, with a work titled “The Forest for the Trees”. It was a very suggestive and provocative work and cleanly executed with a perfectly stacked series of cans all wrapped in photos of trees and forests. Some photos were close-ups of the trees, others were taken at a distance. The overall arrangement suggested a 1950s supermarket stack. Yet the multiple views of a forest from different angles, different perspectives undermined this happy shopping allusion. To wrap images of trees and forests around a stack of cans brought to mind a rich swirl of words and associations like markets and commodification, disposable, throwaway, supermarket sales, something we can eat, a beautiful world easily packaged… the list could go on. The title too evoked a sense of short-sightedness, a way of looking that misses the point. There is no artist statement to lead you to the right answer to this enigma. The Window is there, it is intriguing and you make of it what you will.
During my visit I spoke to Sarah about her Window and her own experiences of ARIs and the artworld in general, which I will write about later. During the course of our conversation Sarah mentioned an article from Art Monthly by John Cruthers, (Issue 246, 2011) who coined the term “home-based” galleries. This has been a really productive idea for me as it captures a particular series of ARIs that I’ve noticed that work in quite a different way to the traditional ARI which usually means “emerging” and newly minted from art school. The “home-based” galleries and spaces that I’m now finding are often older artists who are jack of the funding mazes and impatient to make and show their work, simply and easily. They are creating spaces in their own homes, like garages, living rooms and like Branch 3D windows are a significant place for showing work. On her website Sarah has listed some of these ‘other’ places of exhibition — see here.