What’s in the Stockroom?

To celebrate 10 years since we started our ‘What’s in the Stockroom?’ newsletter, each week we wander through one of the region’s premiere stockrooms to find out what treasures lay inside.

Charles Nodrum Gallery

This week we visit Melbourne’s Charles Nodrum Gallery, with director Charles Nodrum and gallery manager Kate Nodrum.

James Gleeson, Moving Strategies, 1989. Oil on linen, 190 x 256cm.

Charles: “This is one of the largest works in our stockroom and is also amongst the largest works ever painted by the artist, only a handful of which remain in the estate.  Managed by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, proceeds of sales go towards acquiring new work for the Australian Art collection in consultation with the Gleeson O’Keefe Foundation.”

“James Gleeson was a man of habit with a dependable daily routine: after breakfast he began work in the studio, taking a break for coffee at 11, lunch at about 12:30, tea around 4:30, and finishing around 6.  I once had a couple of young (male) art students exclaim, ‘Wow! What’s this guy on?’ I was tempted to answer, ‘He always likes a whisky and soda (or two) after work.’”

Michael Shannon, Costerfield Landscape (On the way to Heathcote), 1988. Oil on canvas, 92 x 122cm.

Charles: “Michael Shannon came to prominence as a sharp observer of the urban environment. The buildings, shops, docks, and train lines of the city he painted in the 1950s and 60s were followed by vistas across the suburbs to a distant countryside.  In the 1980s his focus shifted to the landscape following the purchase of a weekend property near Heathcote in Central Victoria. In exercising his preference for the sweeping, undulating landscapes of the area, he produced a body of work that, whilst conservative in its endeavour, was memorable in its celebration of the land itself through a characteristically deft handling of paint.”

Sadie Chandler, Vanity Set, 1993. Oil on board, acrylic, human hair, nails, 62 x 43 x 7cm.

Kate: “I have certainly inherited Dad’s love for the weird and strange works of art out there, and I’m glad this has included Sadie Chandler’s work.  He bought a painting from Sadie’s graduation exhibition in the early 1990s – a seriously kinky and utterly fantastic large black painting covered in hundreds of tiny red high heel boots – and she’s been exhibiting with the gallery ever since. Vanity Set comes from a slightly later period, when the artist intensified her exploring of surrealism, feminism, fetish and the uncanny.”

“Here, human hair – that typical object of feminine fetish – confronts us instead of our own (appalled or intrigued) reflection in the mirror shaped construction on the left, while we imagine the blood flowing from the scalp of the woman using the hair-brush made of nails hanging on the right – reminding us there’s pleasure in pain, and vice versa. Sadie’s works are included in the forthcoming exhibition miffy & friends at QUT Art Museum.”

Justin Andrews, Structure (03.2020), 2020. Acrylic on canvas over plywood panel, 70 x 50cm.

Kate: “A considerable number of the artists we show are geometric abstractionists.  Some explore stasis and a sense of meditative calm; others – like Justin Andrews, with his rigorously precise and immaculately constructed paintings – explore energy and movement. In this work we see him play with shifts in direction at tautly calculated intervals; the action counterbalanced by the shimmering transparency of the silver and gold acrylics. We’re looking forward to visiting Justin in his Castlemaine studio and planning an exhibition for 2021.”

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