Sarah Cottier Gallery’s move to the Trumper Park trough at the bottom end of Paddington, goes some way to confirm a mini arts precinct inside the greater Paddington area, of which the space’s former incarnation was strategically perched on the periphery.
The gallery reopens for business with a particularly fitting hang of Gemma Smith’s vibrant, tangling, ribbon-like brush strokes, whose seeming simplicity belies what makes them truly special. Their multiplicity of over-painting brings a texture and the occasional misstep to these large canvases. It’s an involving and enchanting resolve that, like much great art, cannot be conveyed without physical proximity to the surface.
As if a metaphor for the gallery’s new life, Jamie North’s living sculptures – local native plants that grow inside textural concrete pylons – fill the second gallery space. They are raw, yet weep with the texture of the most graceful watercolour. They invoke a sense of renewal that is both natural and constructional.
In its fourth Sydney location (beginning in Newtown in 1993, then Redfern, Paddington/Rushcutter's Bay and now Paddington proper) Sarah Cottier Gallery brings directors Sarah Cottier and Ashley Barber’s scrupulous vision for contemporary art to new heights of detail in this spacious, refined building. The space incorporates beautiful high-gloss floors, minimal but colour-range specific lighting and versatile hanging options that include hidden corridors behind each wall for flawless installation options. This new building brings a welcomed vitality to Sydney's art scene.
Gemma Smith and Jamie North show at Sarah Cottier Gallery, 23 Roylston Street, Paddington, from March 1 to March 28, 2013.