Garland Magazine
December 9 2019

For Maudie Palmer AO and Eugene Howard, a new exhibition of artists in Western Victoria acknowledges the important role of craft in the lives of female artists.

Having been appointed co-curators and strategic consultants of Hamilton Gallery in Victoria’s Western Districts in September 2019, Eugene Howard and Maudie Palmer AO were required to conceptualise a suite of exhibitions with very little lead time, due to the sudden departure of the former Director of Hamilton Gallery. A number of curatorial premises for exhibitions arose from conversations and ideas that had been simmering for some time, and from opportunities that have presented themselves along the way (stay tuned for our upcoming exhibitions at Hamilton Gallery in 2020).

This exhibition, A Stitch in Time (which runs from 30 November – 16 February 2020) emerged from a desire to bring together a range of contemporary artists working across an array of craft-related techniques. All of the artists included in A Stitch in Time are artists who Maudie Palmer had wished to curate into an exhibition for many years, however, had not had the opportunity to curate a major exhibition of to-date. These artists are unified by a shared passion for craft, deploying these practices in a rigorous contemporary framework. This was an opportunity to gather these artists in the same room and explore the material and conceptual conversations between their works.

For A Stitch in Time it was important that a number of these artists held a particular significance to the region of Western Victoria and the rich craft traditions the district has witnessed over time, hence the inclusion of artists local to the region and representation of Gunditjmara arts and culture in the work of the prominent Gunditjmara Keerray Woorroong artist, Vicki Couzens.

Maudie was particularly interested when growing up in the craft practices of women in the 50’s and 60’s, witnessing her mother doing stitch work as a means of escape, solace and artistic expression. Stemming from these early observations as a child, Maudie has carried with her a reverence for craft practices and a closely held belief that they should be firmly implanted into “high art” and contemporary practice.

During an esteemed career working in the arts in Australia, Maudie witnessed the rise of craft and the changing perceptions towards craft practices. She began to recognise the ways in which women, in particular, deployed these techniques and processes, observing the profound social and political force behind the use of these forms of making, coupled often with deeply held personal and cultural connections.

Maudie’s own experiences at art school around the denigration of craft as being inferior and the sexism associated with this helped to stoke a desire to mount this exhibition and underscore the elevation and relevance and of this work today.

For further information and the online catalogue for A Stitch in Time, please see here.

A Stitch in Time is curated by Maudie Palmer AO & Eugene Howard. It includes works from Fiona Abicare, Vicki Couzens, Marion Manifold, Sanné Mestrom, Sally Smart, Kylie Stillman and Louise Weaver. Maudie Palmer AO and Eugene Howard are currently co-curating exhibitions at Hamilton Galley from September 2019 to February 2020.

Assembly, (Performance) 2019 by Sally Smart, Digital print on satin with collage elements (textile and hair) 275cm x300cm

Fiona Abicare, Serpentine moon lounge for Roberto (2019), Seaspray Cavalli, timber frame, upholstery foam/dacron 3000 x 1500 x 910 mm

Warrandyte Diary
March 2020

ABC Radio
4 December 2019

Interview on ABC Radio Ballarat and South West Victoria with artists and cartoonist Michael Leunig, exploring his contribution to the exhibition A Dog's Life at Hamilton Gallery.

Curated by Eugene Howard and Maudie Palmer AO

Hamilton Gallery
November  2019

Committee for Melbourne
Res Artis

September 4 2019

Hosting International Artist Residencies in Greater Melbourne

An Initiative of the Committee for Melbourne, Asialink Arts and Res Artis.

Ambitious investment is driving cross-sectoral collaboration on a raft of new hard and soft infrastructure projects that are strengthening Victoria’s branding as a Creative State, and Melbourne’s reputation as an international creative capital. However, there remains a surprising lack of dedicated residency space for visiting international artists. On 4 September 2019, a cross-sectoral group gathered at Grimshaw Architects to discuss opportunities to reposition Melbourne as a globally competitive destination for international residencies, grounded in thoughtful hosting.  Invited panellists offered provocations around concepts of welcoming and hosting, how exchanges can better support the building of relationships and embed visiting artists within Melbourne’s creative ecology, and how residencies can provide conduits for cross-cultural dialogue and public debate.

Deepening a Culture of Hosting

As a first principle, hosting in the City of Melbourne must be founded in respectful acknowledgment of the Traditional Owners of the land. In the opening panel, singer and songwriter Kutcha Edwards called in Mutti Mutti language to ask permission of the ancestors of the Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin Nation to speak and enter sacred ground. Hosting and welcoming visitors to this land requires learning and heeding protocols and customs that meaningfully pay respect to Elders, past and present. Residency Projects co-founder Eugene Howard, who works closely with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Corporation and the Nillumbik Shire Council in the development of the Garambi Baan (Laughing waters) Residency Centre, affirmed the need for the arts and culture sectors to ensure that residency opportunities are meaningful and responsible when welcoming artists to unceded land. As several commentators noted, with the strong tendency for international artists to seek connection with Indigenous communities and histories, questions of how exchange can be meaningful for First Nations communities and artists need to be prioritised. It is also important to consider appropriate orientation for visiting artists, including challenging assumptions around traditional and contemporary First Nations’ artmaking practices.

While questioning the framing of residencies as magic puddings for cultural production, urban transformation and soft diplomacy, Eugene Howard also promoted nurturing the potency of residency opportunities by cultivating strong connections to place through revisitation and long-term engagement: “We’re interested in a symbiotic relationship between the artist, place and communities, particularly through nurturing philosophies of return, enabling a more complex and nuanced engagement if, say, an artist knows they will return in one, two or even eight years’ time.”

Creating Spaces

Howard called on Creative Victoria to play a greater role in supporting arts organisations and projects to rejuvenate dis-used assets outside of metropolitan centres. He advocated for new forms of non-permanent residency spaces, for example, attached to major infrastructure projects might create opportunities for embedding artistic practice into projects from their inception.

Marcus Westbury, who has driven the development of the Collingwood Arts Precinct, presented the CAP approach to the reclamation of city spaces for artists’ use, which he conceives as a transferrable model. CAP will function as a multi-use space for diverse arts tenants, with paying tenants subsidising not-for-profit entities. Westbury noted the challenge of finding and making creative spaces when policy makers actively remove and ignore the need for cultural spaces in the pursuit of profit-driven development. He advocated for systemic change at the state government level.

Adriano Nunes brought attention to the Creative Spaces website, which operates as a clearing house for local artists looking for places to lease for studios or performance venues. The website lists over 160 spaces of varying availability and cost. He also pointed to the Arts Infrastructure Framework as setting out the future development of infrastructure for the creative sector in the city. Although Arts Melbourne does not incorporate in residencies within the current program, Sophie Travers underscored the role they played in hosting international artists for AsiaTOPA and working to connect those artists locally.

A summary of this seminar can be found here.

Moderated by Dr. Pippa Dickson (Director Asialink Arts) and Eliza Roberts, Chaired by Martine Letts (CEO Committee for Melbourne)

Adriano Nunes
Sophie Traverse
Marcus Westbury, CEO Contemporary Arts Precincts
Mat Spisbah
Tilla Buden
Priya Srinivasan
Mella Jaarsma,
Kent Wilson, Latrobe AI
Phillip Adams, BalletLab
Eugene Howard, Residency Projects Inc.
Miriam La Rosa
Clive Scott, General Manager Sofitel

Architecture Victoria
Summer 2019

An article written for Architecture Victoria by Piers Morgan looking at the work of Maudie Palmer AO, encompassing the  proposal for the Birrarung Cultural Precinct, collaboratively designed by Maudie Palmer AO and Eugene Howard.

ABC Radio National
11 October 2017

What are the similarities between gardening and being an artist?

They can both involve getting your hands dirty, planning an idea, creating something new.

An exhibition at Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne celebrates this connection.

Gardening is Not a Rational Act is on at the C3 gallery until 15 October.

Tai Snaith is the curator and the exhibition also features the work of Eugene Howard and Eleanor Butt.

11 October 2017

I would like to extend a virtual hand out to this thought experiment in order to elongate its function and to hold space for the relationship between poetics and hospitality. Like poetry, hospitality is an art made possible by a proclivity for encounter. It is in the generosity of information, the cooking of a meal, the gifting of an object and all the other material and immaterial acts of care that hospitality is afforded an elevated and an everyday cachet. It is in these small accumulative gestures that poetry comes to us as a verb, able to carry bodies into foreign surroundings. Whether supple of language or embodied form, poetry as a state of doing (and in many instances of un-doing) is by its very nature open, malleable and parasitic. In the case of artist residencies, a limber approach to reciprocity defines how and why these modes of making operate. Hospitality comes down to a series of exchanges between people, places and processes that is grounded in a given location—however physically or experientially defined—and in many cases pries open a post-colonial unsettling of the complexities of occupation.

An extended essay written by Abbra Kotlarczyk exploring the Boorhaman Residnecy Program, published in Art+Australia.

The full essay can be read here

Garland Magazine
29 November  2017

Artist Kate Hill grew up on a farm in Boorhaman and Eugene Howard spent time every year on a farm in Boorhaman a stone’s throw form the Torryong (Ovens River), in north-east Victoria, on Pbangerang Country. Established by settlers in 1836, Boorhaman sits near the Torryong (Ovens River), just north of Wangaratta, with a population of 126 (2016 Census).

Kate Hill attended the Boorhaman Primary School, which has been the subject of community discussion since its closure in 2008. Kate and Eugene decided to return to Boorhama and created the Boorhaman Residency Program.

This residency model has been trialled through a pilot program in Spring of 2017, with participating artists Dylan Martorell and Chaco Kato.

Garland spoke with Chaco Kato about her installation of knots and the discovery of a local rope workshop.

The full interview can be read here

© Eugene Howard

I acknowledge and pay respect to Victorian Traditional Custodians, and Traditional Custodians across Australia, as the original custodians of land and waters, their unique ability to care for Country and deep spiritual connection to it. I honour Elders past, present and becomming whose knowledge and wisdom has ensured the continuation of culture and traditional practice