Last week we shared some tips on how to choose the right artwork for your home, so this week we’re following up with some suggestions on where to get it.
From contemporary art purveyors in Paddington to artist-run initiatives in Woolloomooloo to Archibald exhibitors in Marrickville, here are some of Sydney’s best commercial galleries to begin or build up your art collection.
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Paddington
Set in the suburban streets of Paddington near Trumper Oval you’ll find
Roslyn Oxley9, one of Australia’s most renowned and revered galleries directed by art world celebrity Roslyn Oxley. Since opening in 1982, the gallery has exhibited works by iconic Australian artists including Bill Henson, Tracey Moffatt, and Imants Tillers, to name but a few. Usually, you have to be quick on your feet (and wallet) to snap up a work on the never-not-busy opening nights here, but at least you can always count on a free glass of good champagne.
Sarah Cottier Gallery, Paddington
A few strides down the street sits Sarah Cottier Gallery, which has championed contemporary Australian artists and their work for 25 years. Over those two and a half decades, SCG has nurtured many of Australia’s leading mid-career artists (currently representing the likes of Johnathan Zawada, Koji Ryui and Nicola Smith), and exhibits work across an array of mediums including painting, sculpture, and installation.
If you’re a little more budget conscious or simply want to start building your art collection with some young up-and-coming local artists, Firstdraft is your answer. The artist-run initiative usually shows three or four exhibitions a month, so there’s a constant rotating catalogue of artists to discover and collect from. Their highly anticipated annual auction is a packed house every August, featuring a host of donated artworks by past and present exhibitors all going under the hammer for an absolute bargain.
Harvey Galleries, Mosman
Over the bridge, Harvey Galleries in Mosman is a boutique gallery space exhibiting celebrated Australian artists including Janine Daddo, Bernard Ollis, and the legendary Ken Done. With names as revered and established as those on their roster (currently composed of 35 artists), you can expect to see works here go for anywhere between $5K to $90K.
The Commercial, Marrickville
Gallery director Amanda Rowell opened The Commercial back in 2012 after managing Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery for over a decade, so you know she’s armed with impeccable taste and impressive connections. Originally situated in Redfern, the gallery expanded into a much bigger industrial site in Marrickville as its popularity outgrew its home. Not only is the work always brilliant (Archibald prize winner Mitch Cairns and Sydney Biennale exhibitor Yasmin Smith have graced its walls), but the location itself is pretty striking. If the show on exhibit isn’t tickling your fancy, be sure to take a wander through the stockroom for a chance to strike gold.
Chalk Horse, Darlinghurst
Exhibiting a range of work by Australian and international artists, you can always count on Chalk Horse to introduce you to your new favourite artist (Jason Phu, Matt Bromhead, Madeleine Pfull, Emma Finneran, etc). The contemporary gallery has evolved greatly since its 2007 inception, gradually building its reputation as a hub for the emerging talent of the Australian art scene. Last year, it opened its sleek and modern new doors on William St in Darlinghurst, featuring a showstopping display window that feels like you’re catching an art show from the sidewalk.
Annandale Galleries, Annandale
This space has lived many lives—first operating as a Methodist Church in the 1800s, then a Masonic Hall in the early to mid 1900s, before morphing into its current incarnation in 1991. Over the years, Annandale Galleries has become a staple of the inner west art scene and has played a huge role in developing the Indigenous Australian art market by regularly exhibiting the work of incredible Aboriginal artists like Gunybi Ganambarr and John Mawurndjul.
Galerie Pompom, Chippendale
On a regular day, you’d likely walk straight past Galerie Pompom on Cleveland St without even knowing it. But on an opening night, you’d have to wade through crowds of cool kids and colourful collectors spilling onto the street just to sneak a look. Pompom is considered one of Sydney’s most reliable sources when it comes to fresh and interesting art—giving unknown and mid-career artists a platform (or plinth!) to show off their wares.