The Honeymoon Suite is open for inspection. The new exhibition and artist space run by Charlotte Cornish – the former gallery manager for Utopian Slumps – has taken up residency on the first floor of a long-vacant building at the tip of Sydney Road in Brunswick.
“It needed work but I saw potential in it immediately,” Cornish says. “Its size, the exposed roof and faux-timber panelling – it looked part old accountant's office and part log cabin from the 1970s.”
Now, with the carpet ripped up and the walls painted white, it’s a bright, airy space with an aptly sculptural ventilation duct that runs the length of the main gallery. Neighbours include Geoff Newton’s second Neon Parc outpost, Tinning Street Presents, and the Counihan Gallery.
Cornish wasn’t wed to a Brunswick locale but the property “had an uncanny charm that I couldn’t stop thinking about,” she says. “I don’t think The Honeymoon Suite could have been anywhere else.”
The name is not only a wry reference to an area increasingly dominated by shiny new apartment complexes but reflects Cornish’s own interest in themes of domesticity and temporality. Those ideas, coupled with its non-profit status, are essential to the gallery’s purpose and identity.
“I strongly believe that how we attribute value to art needs to go beyond what is bought and sold, good and bad, right and wrong – there needs to be space to reflect on art and its significance without these binaries,” she says, acknowledging that if she were, “thinking about exhibitions within a commercial framework [she] would do it differently”.
Twenty-seven-year-old Cornish worked as a gallery manager for Melissa Loughnan’s Utopian Slumps until it closed in December 2014. Loughnan, who now runs Slumps as an art consultancy, is on The Honeymoon Suite’s board.
The gallery’s fascinating inaugural show, Rose coloured glass, explores the dynamic of artist couples – how they collaborate conceptually, emotionally and physically. It’s a textured, vibrant exhibition that features eight artists – four women and four men – who represent a multitude of ages, disciplines and renown. Some have gallery representation, others don’t.
“Working with emerging artists or offering them an opportunity to exhibit is my main objective,” Cornish says. “I think showing them alongside artists who may have … exhibited for longer can be elevating.”
Plus, it introduces “audiences to artists they may otherwise have not seen”. Sign us up.
Rose coloured glass runs at The Honeymoon Suite until September 3.
The Honeymoon Suite
1/60 Sydney Road, Brunswick
Wed to Sat 12pm–5pm (or by appointment)
To support the gallery’s 2016 exhibition program visit its campaign at the Australian Cultural Fund.