If you’re feeling the cultural itch, here’s just a few of our favourite Perth galleries to soak up some art.
Art Gallery of WA
It almost goes without saying, but if you’re going to talk about art in Perth, you’ve got to start with AGWA. This Bauhaus and Brutalist behemoth is worth a trip just to enjoy the architecture, but it also houses the State’s art collection, which includes over 3000 First Nations artworks. The touring exhibitions are also mighty impressive – February sees the stunning Awavena; a virtual journey and collaboration between director Lynette Wallworth and the Amazonian Yawanawa people told through XR technology.
Perth Cultural Centre
Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts
A mere hop across the Cultural Centre is PICA – the home of contemporary art in Perth. With a year-round program that covers a variety of disciplines, as well as contemporary dance, theatre and performance works, PICA produces, incubates and presents groundbreaking artwork. Upcoming works include Chalkroom by Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang, an immersive virtual reality experience; and Thunderhead, a series of video installations and accompanying improvised scores by Sydney-based artist and musician Tina Havelock Stevens.
51 James Street, Northbridge
Cool Change Contemporary
This volunteer and artist-run initiative hosts emerging local and international artists in their space above Bon Marche Arcade. Founded after Moana Project Space disbanded, Cool Change provides infrastructure, development and support. Head there in February to see a number of exhibitions that explore the relationships between humans, animals, nature and the built world: Imogen Kotsoglo’s exhibition PHYTO- , which explores the biodiversity of Australia and Iceland and our relationship to it. Bernadette Klavins’ Melting Act is influenced by 60s minimalist sculpture and the failings of industrial materials, whereas Liam Kennedy’s Exaltation – Dogs is a colourful examining of canines as pets, and their impact on humanity’s prosperity.
1F Bon Marche Arcade Building, 74-84 Barrack Street, Perth
Championing home-grown local artists, STALA represents and exhibits a broad range of artists working across a variety of mediums. From Ellen Norrish’s quotidian studies of Milo, cat food and tea tins, to Chloe Tupper’s delicate floral still lifes, all the way to Ayad Alqaragholli’s dynamic sculptural forms or Anne Walmsley’s found object installations.
12 Cleaver Street, West Perth
Opening in 2019, Pig Melon aims to be an empowering creative hub to emerging and established artists. This independently-run, mixed-use space is used for exhibitions, intimate live music, performances and more. This can mean anything from Isabella Speed’s Souvenirs of Italianicity: recreations of reproductions of iconic sculptures found in her Nonno and Nonna’s home – or a 24-hour Karaoke Sing-in lead by the Queen of Karaoke herself, Consensual Connie.
181 Lord Street, Perth
The Goods Shed
FORM’s exhibition space, The Goods Shed has an ethos of creativity for change and for the common good. With a focus on curatorial excellence and community building, the program includes youth art workshops, speaking events from artists-in-residence, and exhibitions – with current exhibition The Alchemists showcasing Indigenous Australian fibre art.
4 Shenton Road, Claremont
Fremantle Arts Centre
Another behemoth in Perth arts, the Freo Arts Centre has been a cultural hub for WA since the 70s. Built by convicts in the 1860s, the building itself has a storied history, being used as a Lunatic Asylum, a Women’s Home, wartime accommodation for American servicemen in World War Two, and then a technical school before its transition to an arts centre. The program of exhibitions is always groundbreaking, whether it’s an examination of doomsday prepping subculture or bio-engineered kinetic sculptural forms.
1 Finnerty Street, Fremantle
PS Art Space
This heritage listed project space presents a highly curated program of exhibitions and events, ranging from intimate music performances, to object and lighting design group shows, to photographic work. Alexander Tandy and Emma Horvát’s February exhibition Thoughtful Cognition connects contemporary poetry and analogue film processes with a plein-air approach.
22-26 Pakenham Street, Fremantle
The Heathcote Gallery, part of the redeveloped Heathcote Cultural Precinct, has a curated program that is remarkable in its variety, quality and dedication to fostering local talent. Head to their website to check out what 2020 holds – the program is jam-packed already. Highlights include I thought it would be roses, a collection of love letters upturning patriarchal tradition, COUNTERPART, a multidisciplinary group exhibition by WA artists with intellectual disabilities, and Larrikins, a video artwork critiquing larrikin masculinity through drag performance.
Photo by Daniel Grant
58 Duncraig Road, Applecross
Cover photo of Pig Melon